The Road Ahead : February March 2014
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 55 USED CAR REVIEW | MOTORING KNOW YOUR CAR WITH JOHN EWING RACQ TECHNICAL RESEARCHER LED HEADLIGHT CONVERSIONS TAKE A LOOK about a hardware or lighting store and there are plenty of LED (light emitting diode) bulbs suited to replacing the variety of power-hungry incandescent globes in your home. LEDs are more energy- efficient and, for that reason, they are also starting to show up in original equipment vehicle headlamps specifically designed for such a light source. These headlamp assemblies are approved under ADR46. No surprise then that LED 'conversions' for headlights are starting to appear in the aftermarket. These conversions supply LED bulbs for use in the original (non-LED) headlamp unit. But are they legal? Without ADR46 certification in the particular application, they wouldn't be permitted for on-road use. The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) advises it isn't a case of a 'blanket approval' for the LED bulbs. We aren't aware of any conversions that have been ADR certified. Compliance issues are associated with light colour, the ability of these LED bulbs in lamps not designed for them to correctly focus the light, possible alteration to light output and resulting glare to other road users. We believe some drivers have already been fined for using these unapproved conversions. CAR QUESTIONS Q. How far can you travel on a spacesaver spare wheel and tyre? A. They are intended only for emergency use to get the vehicle to the nearest place of repair and with a maximum speed of 80km/h. A few makers specify a maximum distance; some are around 80km. We recommend you check your owner's handbook for any advice specific to the car. Given the limited tread on these tyres, their useful life will be quite limited and influenced by variables such as vehicle weight and operating conditions. Q. Is it worth using nitrogen to inflate tyres on a 4WD? A. We have real doubts about the claimed benefits and practical value of using nitrogen for tyre inflation in normal vehicles, including 4WDs. If you are planning to drop 4WD tyre pressures for beach use, then re-inflation with compressed air is satisfactory, but potentially negates any supposed benefits of using nitrogen (or you would need to carry nitrogen for re-inflation purposes, which is impractical). See our 'nitrogen' fact sheet at racq.com. VE SPORTWAGON, INTRODUCED in April 2008, has a more dynamic and Euro-styled look than most of its ilk. However, it's still very practical, though load space is reduced significantly over the previous VZ wagon. The VE series wagons are built on the standard sedan wheelbase, rather than that of the longer Statesman used for previous models. There's an equivalent specification V6 Sportwagon to most all of the sedan variants, through from the entry level Omega to the high-end Calais. That means a model to suit most tastes and budgets. All achieve a five-star ANCAP crash rating. Like the sedan, the SV6 has proved popular with private buyers. Engine and transmission holden ve commodore sportwagon v6, 2008-13 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). FEB/MAR 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD combinations vary depending on year and spec level. Initially, there were 180kW and 195kW 3.6-litre engines with a four or five-speed auto respectively. Models from late 2009 featured the more fuel-efficient SIDI direct injection engines (190kW 3.0-litre or 210kW 3.6-litre) with standard six-speed auto. Six-litre V8 versions are available, as is an LPG-only V6 (released in 2012). Sharing the basic sedan platform, interiors and powertrains, means Sportwagon offers a very similar driving experience to VE sedan. Used examples with higher than average kilometres may have been fleet vehicles where quality of maintenance could be variable. This should be reflected in a lower price, though it's probably better to seek good condition, lower kilometre cars. Check for worn or loose interior trims. Watch for oil or cooling system leaks, and brake pad or disc wear. Oil leakage at the engine sump plug could indicate a crack in the aluminium sump. Autos should change smoothly without flare or clunking and, if not, further checks would be wise. Older four-speed boxes are more likely to have issues. UNDER THE PUMP: Sportwagon will use between 6.9 and 15.7 litres of petrol every 100km, or 10.0 and 16.2 litres of LPG every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE: From $11,500 to $40,300, depending on year and model. COMPETITORS: Ford Territory, Chrysler 300C Wagon, Ford Mondeo.