The Road Ahead : December 2013
DEC 2013/JAN 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD USED CAR REVIEW | MOTORING KNOW YOUR CAR WITH JOHN EWING RACQ TECHNICAL RESEARCHER ROPES AND TIE-DOWNS THE LAW REQUIRES you to effectively secure any load in your ute, trailer or truck and on-the-spot fines apply if you don't. Your safety and that of other road users, plus your cargo not suffering damage, all depend on it. Rope and ratchet cargo straps are popular methods for securing loads. A rope can feel tight, but still have relatively low tension in it. Ropes can lose tension as loads 'settle' and their effectiveness is highly dependent on the user's ability to correctly tie a range of knots suited to load restraint, e.g. truckie's hitch. Not all rope types are suitable for load restraint and a rope's load capacity may be hard to determine with certainty. Rope complying with AS/NZS 4345 is intended for transport use and acceptable for securing relatively light loads. In practical terms, webbing ratchet cargo straps marked with a load rating appropriate for the particular application, are much preferred to rope. They are readily available, low cost and require minimal skill to use correctly. The National Transport Commission estimates these straps can easily offer five to 10 times the tension provided by a rope. For further information, go to ntc.gov.au. CAR QUESTIONS Q. Are supermarket 'home-brand' engine oils satisfactory to use in my car, or should I use a major brand product? A. These 'generic' oils are often budget- priced and only meet significantly older and lower service ratings than latest generation premium oils and so won't suit late model vehicles. But if it's the correct viscosity and meets or exceeds the service rating required by your vehicle, it should be acceptable. Don't exceed specified drain intervals for operating conditions. Oil with a higher specification service rating would provide better engine protection, though. Q. Am I permitted to fit seatbelts to a bench seat installed as part of my campervan conversion? A. As the seat and seatbelt system isn't an original vehicle installation that would have met ADRs 3 and 5, you will need to consult a company that certifies seat and seatbelt installations to determine what's permissible. They will need to inspect the vehicle. WHETHER IT'S AS a second car for commuter duties, a first car for a new driver or even primary transport, light cars are steadily growing in popularity. Buyers looking for a light car in the used market might well find a Hyundai i20 a sound choice. The i20 was released in mid-2010, selling alongside the budget-friendly Getz, which was discontinued just over a year later. Where Getz was cheap and cheerful, the i20 went more upmarket in terms of style, equipment, price, and improved driving experience. The entry-level Active in either three or five-door hatch configuration, mid-field Elite and better equipped Premium (discontinued mid-2012), both in five-door body types, make up the range. Engine choices are a 1.4 or 1.6-litre petrol, model and year dependent. Buyers could choose a four-speed auto or five-speed manual. Manual boxes from mid-2012 had six ratios, benefitting fuel economy. The 1.6-litre engine offers a little extra torque and would be the better choice, especially if the auto is chosen. Versions with dual front/front side and head airbags score a five star ANCAP crash rating and are worth looking for. Electronic stability control is standard on all variants. On the road, i20 offers a solid and above average all-round driving experience, but trails the class leaders. The i20 is built in India and reasonably well finished, but again falls short of the class front-runners. Owners by and large seem to be a happy bunch, with few complaints reported. A professional pre-purchase inspection is still advisable, though. Ex-rental cars may have had a hard life and are probably best avoided. Look for a record of proper scheduled servicing. i20s generally prove economical for running and repair costs. With a five-year warranty, most used examples should have factory cover remaining. UNDER THE PUMP: i20 will use between 4.2 litres and 8.2 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE: From $9,800 to $19,100, depending on year and model. COMPETITIORS: Ford Fiesta, 2010-13; Mazda2, 2010-13; Toyota Yaris, 2010-13. hyundai i20, 2010-13 QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 57 ILLUSTRATION BY RON MONNIER. REVIEW BY JOHN EWING. (SEE RACQ WEBSITE FOR LONGER VERSION OF THIS USED CAR REVIEW). NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR LOANS (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905).
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