READER QUESTIONS: Take the tribe on rough stuff
Re the Kia Carnival road test. I just picked up my eighth Carnival in 11 years and can safely say they handle the Outback with ease. I've done the trips to prove it. Managed over 1500km on dirt the last couple of trips. All I've had over 400,000km and counting are some flat tyres and two broken screens. Love them!
John G Skene, email
Great work, John. Just don't go attempting the Canning Stock Route in the Carnival or I fear you'll be an NT News front cover story.
STICK OR TWIST?
Could I have your view on changing cars before the major warranty period runs out?
Ken Gillard, email
Your car will be easier to sell used with some balance of its warranty remaining. Has it proved a good, reliable car? If so, show some faith and keep it. That said, if you have the funds and enjoy the assurance of a new car warranty, then upgrade. You could also consider an extended warranty from a third-party company but these get mixed reviews.
I bought an old Nissan Dualis with 134,000km on the clock that had a loud whistle on deceleration. Nissan took it back and said they replaced the CVT gearbox. I've since bought a newer one with 50,000km on the clock and it now has the same whistle, not as bad but still there. I bought and shipped it from interstate. What should I do?
Alan Williamson, email
I've spoken with my mechanic mate - who isn't a CVT fan by the way - and he says whistles from these gearboxes aren't unusual and are typically nothing to worry about. If you bought your Dualis sight unseen, though, it'd be prudent to take it to a trusted specialist to double check.
SINS OF THE SUVS
I drive a 2011 Hyundai Elantra and at shopping centres there are huge and not-so-huge SUVs parked close by or next to me. When leaving, it's difficult and even dangerous to edge out as I can't see round/over/under SUVs. It's a bit scary to be honest. Could there be a campaign for shopping centre car parks to have rows for SUVs and others for normal cars? I'd love to know other drivers' experiences and thoughts.
Sue Winkworth, email
Can. Worms. Opened. This could be a tougher campaign than North Korean nuclear disarmament. As a non-SUV driver I totally get you, Sue, but I can't see it being workable. We class the Suzuki Ignis an SUV, yet it's shorter than a Mini hatchback. Not having hulking Ford Rangers or Toyota LandCruisers clogging up parking spaces would be great but I can imagine militant mums-of-five turning very "equal rights" if they can't park their large SUVs as close to the shops as Mazda3 drivers. Do readers have any sensible suggestions?
What's the future of 95 octane fuel that's required by the likes of VWs and Audis? It seems to be hard to get now. Are they wanting us to buy 98 ULP instead?
Stuart Mattingley, email
My car needs 95 octane and I too have been stuck at servos only selling regular ULP or premium 98. Some E10 fuels are 95 octane (check if your car can handle it - view e10ok.initiatives.qld.gov.au). My 2017 VW Golf 110TSI apparently can't. If you need premium fuel and there's no 95 available, you'll have to buy the 98.
Re your comment that Australia is a bit tardy with electric charging infrastructure. It appears you are anti-Queensland. You can drive from Tweed to Cairns via Toowoomba in your 100 per cent electric vehicle.
Scott Goodrick, email
Queensland's Electric Super Highway is certainly a positive step being rolled out to allow all-electric travel nearly the length of the state. But research by Park Indigo shows the number of new EV charging points installed in Australia in 2017 was fewer than 200. France managed almost 12,000, Germany 7937 and even little Finland had 364. And I'm not anti-Queensland. I've even had a beer with Billy Moore.