The Road Ahead : August 2014
KNOW YOUR CAR | MOTORING QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 57 NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR LOANS (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905). AUG/SEP 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD CLIO WARM AS WELL AS HOT Renault's new, four-door warm hatch, the Clio GT, sits nicely between the standard Clio Dynamique and the stove-hot Clio RS 200. Pricing starts at $25,290 for the base-model GT and rises to $28,790 for the GT Premium. Both are powered by a surprisingly-spirited, 1.2-litre direct-injection turbo-four engine that delivers peak power of 88kW at 4900rpm and maximum torque of 190Nm at 2000rpm. The sole transmission is a six-speed, dual-clutch unit with steering-column-mounted paddles. Renault claims a sprint time to 100km/h of 9.4 seconds and a combined fuel consumption figure of a pretty miserly 5.2 litres/100km. Safety is five-star EuroNCAP. The base model gets Renault's RS Drive system, 17-inch alloys, automatic climate-control, keyless entry and start, and rear-parking sensors. IC MAKING RAPID PROGRESS The new Skoda Rapid Spaceback is a small hatch that comes in three guises -- the 1.2-litre, 77TSI six-speed manual at $18,990 -- and two versions armed with a 1.4-litre 90TSI -- the $21.890 Ambition and the top-spec $23,750 Elegance, that both run a seven-speed, dual-clutch DSG transmission. In terms of the Skoda family, Rapid slots in between the Fabia and Octavia model ranges. Preliminary driving impressions from the Australian launch program showed Rapid to have a beautifully-sorted chassis and precise, well-weighted steering from its electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion system. There is an impressive suite of active and passive safety features and Rapid earns a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating. IC in the arrivals hall ALFA ROMEO 4C -- One of the year's most-anticipated arrivals, the mid-engined 4C sports coupe is due to land about October with a sticker price of around $80,000. An uprated 1.75-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is said to power the swoopy two-seater to a 0-100km/h time of just 4.5 seconds. HYUNDAI GENESIS -- Powered by a 3.8-litre V6 producing 248kW of power and 394Nm of torque, Genesis will launch Hyundai into the luxury car segment. Originally mooted for July, Genesis should touch down before year end with a price TBA. Look out for the launch and drive reviews of these and other exciting new models in the coming issues of The Road Ahead and online at roadahead.com.au KNOW YOUR CAR RACQ TECHNICAL EXPERT JOHN EWING ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CAR. STOP START SOMETIMES Q. Would you explain why there are times when the auto stop-start system on my car doesn't appear to operate? A. The system monitors a number of parameters, such as engine and cabin temperature, charging system operation, battery voltage, cabin heating and airconditioning settings to decide if implementing auto stop-start operation during periods of idling is appropriate. Your owner's manual should have more information. It's likely to be normal, but we suggest you may want to have your dealer check for correct operation. LEGAL AGE FOR TYRES Q. Having heard about the possible dangers associated with 'aged' tyres, can you tell me if there are any laws governing their maximum usable age? A. Tyres can 'age' and develop problems such as cracking that can lead to failure. How quickly tyres deteriorate to an unsafe state varies according to a range of factors. Some experts suggest five or six years is the maximum useful life of a tyre, though the industry doesn't have a common or definitive view. We aren't aware of any laws that specify an age limit. Tyres usually carry a production date code on the sidewall. SPEEDOS AND GPS Q. Is the vehicle speed shown on my GPS more accurate than the vehicle speedo? A. We haven't tested the accuracy of speed readings on GPS navigation units. However, given the technology used they should be reasonably accurate, although the refresh rate (the rate at which they update the information) is often relatively slow. This would mean that the vehicle's speed could alter without it being immediately apparent on the GPS readout. In other words it's not necessarily inaccurate, but possibly lagging in its response and, if you depended on it, your vehicle may exceed the posted speed before it shows this. Speedos in vehicles, from mid-2007, are required to be accurate within specified limits and to only read 'safe' if there is an error. That is, the vehicle must not travel faster than the indicated speed. The tolerances allowed for earlier vehicles were +/- 10 percent. From our experience, even these speedos typically read 'safe'. For further information on speedo accuracy, it's worth checking RACQ's fact sheet at racq.com/motoring.
June July 2014