The Road Ahead : August 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 56 MOTORING | USED CAR REVIEW THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEP 2013 ILLUSTRATION BY RON MONNIER KNOW YOUR CAR WITH JOHN EWING RACQ TECHNICAL RESEARCHER WHAT'S HEADLAMP WATTAGE? "WHAT'S THE HIGHEST wattage bulb I can legally use in my car's headlamps?" It seems a simple enough question to those wanting better headlights, but it's more complex than it might first appear. Even before getting to the legalities, higher wattage means higher current draw and the vehicle's electrical system and wiring may not have been designed to cope with this. Secondly, the applicable regulations don't specify a maximum wattage for headlamps. The relevant Australian Design Rule, ADR13, refers to total light outputs for high and low beam lamps only in measurements of light intensity, specifically, either Lumens or Candela. The ADR, a complex document, specifies how these measurements are applied. Acceptable light colour is also specified in 'chromaticity co-ordinates' in the ADR, not in 'degrees Kelvin' as often found on lamp packaging. Watts are commonly used as a bulb specification, but it's an electrical specification only, rather than a reliable indicator of light output, and there isn't any direct correlation. We suggest sticking with the vehicle maker's original specification or bulbs marked as ADR-compliant/legal for road use. (Further information - see RACQ's fact sheet on headlights). CAR QUESTIONS Q. When I visit Victoria in my Queensland registered hybrid car do I have to have 'hybrid' decals installed on the number plates? A. Victorian legislation requires these decals (similar to those on LPG vehicles) on Victorian-registered hybrids. Victoria Police advised that as this isn't a requirement in your home state of registration, you won't be required to fit decals when you visit. Q. I have heard that use of ISOFIX child restraints will be legal in Australia. Is that true? A. The mandatory Australian Standard for child restraints was amended as of June 2013 to include ISOFIX. Our Standard requires some different safety features to European ISOFIX though. Like conventional restraints, only A.S. compliant (and marked accordingly) ISOFIX restraints are legal. These restraints may take some time to enter the marketplace. None are currently available. They can only be used in vehicles with suitable ISOFIX mounts. PRADOS ARE POPULAR in the new and used market and equally at home performing urban family duties, tackling tough off-road terrain or towing up to their 2500kg limit. The 120 series was released in 2004, with engine, transmission and equipment upgrades in November 2006. The new 1KD-FTV 3.0-litre turbo, four-cylinder diesel delivered substantially more power and torque than its predecessor. The quad-cam 4.0-litre petrol V6 was a carry-over. Both engines were offered in the four grades -- GX, GXL, VX and Grande, and were mated, model dependent, to either a six-speed manual or five- speed auto. The V6 is a respectable performer, but can be thirsty. The diesel's flexibility, torque and fuel economy toyota prado 120 series, 2006 to 2009 makes it an excellent choice, especially combined with the auto. A notable exception to standard features on entry-level GX models was ABS brakes; they were part of an option pack. Eight seats are standard, though third row seats fold up to the sides when not in use, impinging on cargo space. It's comfortable ride and 180-litre fuel tanks make it excellent for extended touring. Off-road, Prado is highly capable but arguably out- classed by bigger sibling LandCruiser. Prado upholds Toyota's reputation for reliability, but avoid vehicles that haven't been serviced as scheduled. Don't neglect scheduled diesel timing belt renewal either. Check for body or mechanical damage under the vehicle from off-road use. Also look for rust below decks from beach or other corrosive environment use; check inside chassis members too. Diesel injector sealing washers can leak on models built between June 2004 and October 2007, causing carbon sludge that blocks the oil strainer, with consequent engine failure. Check for blistering of the dash pad as it's expensive to fix. Listen for noisy diesel injectors too. UNDER THE PUMP: Prado will use between 12.0 litres and 18.5 litres of petrol, or 8.5 litres and 11.5 litres of diesel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE: From $22,100 to $55,500, depending on year and model. COMPETITIORS: Mitsubishi Pajero, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder. See the full review at roadahead.com.au.