Re your well-written review of the new Toyota Corolla. The front-on picture shows the ugly, oversized grille common on Lexuses. The result: the appearance is dreadful. Given the frequent service intervals and its continuously variable transmission, many new car buyers like me have taken Corolla off our shortlist.
John Hourigan, email
Toyota has certainly jazzed up its designs of late (see its C-HR small SUV) but it won't work for everyone. The new Corolla's face looks something like a Cylon Raider from Battlestar Galactica - but at least it's not boring. Your CVT grumble is justified. Expect the coming Corolla to move to 12-month service intervals to align with the Camry and C-HR, maintaining the industry's cheapest service costs.
Many cars these days, such as my Mazda3, come with space-saver spare wheels with speed and travel restrictions. They save very little space, are annoying and dangerous if they can only go 80km/h on the highway. Why do manufacturers persist with them?
Graeme Tosh, email
Great points, Graeme, but every little bit helps for the manufacturer. Space-saver spares conserve boot space and cut weight and cost. Positively, less weight means less petrol, plus they compel you to get your tyre fixed pronto.
HAPPY WITH HONDA
Re the airbag recall. I must commend Honda on their persistence to replace the Takata airbag on my 200,000km 2005 Accord. I reckon I received six letters but ignored them as the car wasn't being used much. When I did get round to it the dealer was great, the airbag was done in half a day and I got a free car wash. Lucky me.
Steven Croft, email
Take heed, people. Get those airbags replaced as soon as you can.
I'd love to know the mental process of buyers spending up to $75,000 on a 4WD ute. Their tiny trays make them useless at the building site, they don't do off-road well with their road tyres and suspension and a $20K hatch will hose them on the twisty bits. Is it compensation for something?
Daryl Saal, email
The world has changed, Daryl, whether we like it or not. Spec-heavy tough utes are the new heroes, especially to younger buyers. A generation ago they'd have bought sports cars and V8s but congestion, speeding fines and insurance kill the fun there. Most 4WD utes perform well off-road but, yes, they still handle like the trucks they are.
Re total replacement of Mercedes brakes after 40,000km. My 2012 Toyota LandCruiser has done over 112,000km and at the last service I was told the brakes were just about half worn. Does this say something about driving style or manufacturing quality?
Anthony Taylor, email
Bit of both. LandCruiser owners on the whole are impressed with brake longevity. It's also got a huge amount to do with use. Congested highways, city life and braking from high speeds eat through brakes more than uninterrupted cruising.
BOOST AND BRAG
What is overboost? The term seems to be used frequently when discussing power outputs on diesel utes.
Chris Hanlon, email
Overboost is when your engine management chip cranks up the power and/or torque by temporarily sending more boost pressure to the turbocharger, normally for a few seconds. You'll also find it on turbo sports cars and hot hatches. It helps with overtaking. And pub bragging.
I owned a 2000 Ford Courier and the speedo and my GPS read exactly the same at all speeds. My 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe, my wife's 2016 Hyundai i30 and a 2017 Toyota RAV4 all over-read by up to 7km/h. The auto club says it's an Australian design rule and the manufacturers err on the side of caution.
Tony French, email
With less tolerance on radar readings by police, the scope for being more than a few km/h over the limit is reduced. Your final point makes a lot of sense.
BROUGHT UP TO DATE
You've helped with my Kia Optima satnav update. The dealer has so far been helpful and recognised the fact my car should have been updated free during regular servicing. Thanks!
Brian Huxley, email
I'm selling my Toyota 86. I injured my knee and the low ride height makes access hard. How do you rate a new Mazda3 SP25 manual?
Richard Shanahan, email
Hang on a minute - are you sure we can't fix your knee before you make this decision? Are there any knee surgeons out there who are able to save Richard's sports car life? The 86 is a little firecracker and you'll miss it. The SP25's not half bad but don't rule out a Holden Astra RS or Hyundai Elantra SR. Maybe even a little hot hatch, a Peugeot 208 GTi or VW Polo GTI?