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Archive for December, 2019

What Important Equipment Should I Keep in my Car?

Summer can be a prolific time for maintenance related breakdowns, what with the extreme temperatures around the country. Although we pray we’ll never find ourselves in a situation where we require roadside assistance, it’s wise to make sure that you are prepared for anything that could go wrong. Today we’ll cover some of the most important equipment you should keep in your car.

 

Dash cam: An increasingly common sight in vehicles across the board, dash cams are an invaluable item to record events on the road. In the event you find yourself in an accident, dash cam footage will prove crucial evidence as part of your insurance claim.

GPS: Although many cars these days will feature a built-in GPS, if yours doesn’t, then it is wise to invest in a standalone one to make your life a whole lot easier

First aid kit: Keep an up-to-date first aid kit in your car at all times. That might not be enough, however, as it also pays to be trained in administering first aid

Fire extinguisher: If you encounter a fire, even though your first actions should be to call emergency services, you may also want to have a fire extinguisher at hand as a precaution

Safety triangle: If you break down, safety triangles should be set up behind your vehicle to serve as a caution to other motorists, which also goes some way towards protecting yourself as well

Tyre kit: Flat tyres and punctures can be a major frustration, however, this is actually an easy job to tackle yourself. All you need is a spare tyre, and a tyre kit, which includes a car jack, wheel brace, tyre sealant and inflation pump.

Charging cables: Given everyone now depends on their mobile phone, you will want to ensure that you have charging cables at hand so that you don’t find your battery suddenly run flat

Spare tools: It is beneficial to have a basic took kit at hand, as well as water and coolant, spare petrol tank and pump, duct tape, jumper cables and more

Comfort items: Some of the most useful items you should keep are actually comfort items, including a blanket, umbrella, raincoat, sunglasses and the like. These are not only useful from one day to another, but in the event of a breakdown.

Peace On Earth – And The Roads, Specifically

Temperatures are soaring as we prepare for the Christmas and New Year holiday season. A lot of us are looking at the cliched images of snow and holly berries, and listening to so-called Christmas music that should really be called “winter music” with a certain level of cynicism and irony. Driving home for Christmas – whether it’s interstate or across town – can be a bit stressful as we get all hot and bothered. There’s a lot to do and a heap of places to go, and we’ve got to haul the kids around with us now that the schools are out for summer.

Before we blow a gasket (metaphorically and emotionally – not inside your car engine), maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and remember the reason for the season. Time for a bit of peace on the roads and goodwill towards our fellow motorists (and our passengers and ourselves). One way that you can do this is being a little bit kinder to everybody – and your car as well.

Be kind to your car, yourself and your passengers by making sure that you’ve topped up all the fluids that you’re supposed to (water, oil, etc.). If you can, book your car in for a service if it’s time or if you’ve noticed things getting a bit wonky. There are few things worse than having the car die on you during the holiday season when you’re miles from your planned destination and the mechanic’s garage is closed (been there, done that – at least it happened in a sizeable town and we found a nice place to stay the night and discovered a neat little café). However, bear in mind that your mechanic is probably worked off his or her feet at the moment because everybody’s trying to get their vehicle ready and the mechanic wants to go on holiday too. Book early and don’t leave it until the last minute!

Be kind to your passengers, especially if they’re children. It’s not realistic to expect kids to sit for hours on end doing nothing, especially when it’s hot. Make sure that your air con is working properly so people don’t get too hot during the journey. Staying well hydrated also helps prevent headaches, and cold water goes down a treat. Freeze a drink bottle overnight before your trip and it will slowly melt as the day goes by, staying deliciously cold. Keeping hydrated has the inevitable results, so make sure that you make frequent stops for the loo.  Stick to water – it’s healthier, doesn’t make the seats sticky if they’re spilt and doesn’t leave you with sugar-amped kids getting fractious in the car seats.

If you’re going on a longer trip with children, then it can be a good idea to have a few special treats and toys that can be produced for the first time at the start of the trip. Make sure that you have a playlist (or CD or…) for everybody so the adults don’t go mad listening to twitty children’s tunes and the children don’t get bored with your Bruce Springsteen. As long periods in the car make for great bonding time, I don’t recommend kitting kids up with headphones and electronic devices; take the time to interact while you’ve got it. Don’t forget a few old-fashioned car games!

No matter what age of passenger you’ve got with you or even if you’re travelling alone, make sure you stop frequently to stretch your legs and get a bit of fresh air. This helps you stay alert, which is kinder to everybody else on the road, as you’ll be a better driver for it. It’s also kinder to your back and your overall health – go for a little walk as well as using the loo and/or filling up with fuel.  Allow time for this and take your time. Enjoy the trip rather than merely focussing on getting to your destination.

While on the topic of health, it’ a good idea to pre-plan travel snacks and food. The sort of thing you pick up in most places tends to be stuffed with all the things you’re not supposed to eat (trans fat, sugar, additives). You can generate a lot of plastic waste as well, and spend a truckload while you’re at it. The good news is that fruit is in season, so it’s healthy and cheap. Maybe make a few sandwiches or take the doings for them in the esky.

Remember to be kind to your fellow motorists. Everybody is in a hurry, everybody is hot and everybody is a bit stressed with all the things they need to do. This means that you don’t need to always rush and cut in. Let people into the stream of traffic at intersections and on the way out of the car park. If we all did this, the roads would really be a more peaceful place. I’ve written on being a polite driver elsewhere – bear these tips in mind and don’t be that rude driver everybody hates.

Last but definitely not least, although it’s the season when we all indulge a little bit more, the rules about not drinking and driving still apply. Don’t ruin someone’s holiday by causing accidents, injuries or deaths. It’s just not worth the risk and if you’ve already spent a bit on pressies and food, then you don’t want to add a fine from the cops into it as well. There are loads of nice non-alcoholic cocktails and drinks out there, and it’s a lot more socially acceptable not to drink alcohol at parties.  Given the season, a Virgin Mary (like a Bloody Mary but minus the hard stuff) is rather appropriate… Appoint a sober driver or plan to stay overnight if you want a tipple.

Whatever you’re doing over this Christmas, wherever and however you’re celebrating, we hope that you have a great one and that you stay safe on the roads. See you in 2020!

The Commodore To Be No More.

December 10th, 2019, will be the day that Australia was told of the passing of an icon. This is the complete PR release from Holden.

Holden is today announcing a modified portfolio dedicated exclusively to SUVs and light commercial vehicles.

Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director, Kristian Aquilina, said the focus of the portfolio was consistent with customer preferences, with the Acadia, Trailblazer, Equinox and Trax rounding out a comprehensive SUV portfolio; and the Colorado tackling rivals in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment.

“Holden is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments. So far this year SUVs and Utes have increased to 76 percent of Holden sales, a trend we only see continuing,” he said.

The company has elected to retire the ZB Commodore and the BK Astra in 2020.

At its peak, the large car segment in Australia accounted for 217,882 sales in 1998. This year it is projected to come in at about 8,700 units.

“The SUV segment is approaching half a million units, and LCVs over 200,000 units. That’s where the action is and that’s where we are going to play,” Mr Aquilina said.

The new Holden boss also paid tribute to the Commodore nameplate and its place in the Australian automotive industry over time.

“The decision to retire the Commodore nameplate has not been taken lightly by those who understand and acknowledge its proud heritage,” he said.

“The large sedan was the cornerstone of Australian and New Zealand roads for decades. But now with more choice than ever before, customers are displaying a strong preference for the high driving position, functionality and versatility of SUVs and Utes.”

Sales and deliveries of Commodore and Astra will continue through 2020, albeit with diminishing model availability as part of an orderly runout.

Existing Commodore and Astra customers can be assured that Holden will continue to back warranty and roadside assistance commitments, with spare parts supply guaranteed well into the future.

In addition, all MY19 ZB Commodores and MY19 BK Astras ordered or delivered from today onwards will be subject to Holden’s market leading seven-year free scheduled servicing offer.

All arrangements for accessing warranty, servicing and spare parts for Holden’s entire model line-up via the Holden’s national dealer network remain the same.

Holden will be launching the MY20 Equinox in the first quarter of 2020 followed by a significant MY21 upgrade to the highly regarded Colorado to launch in Spring. Holden will also lodge production orders to GM’s Bowling Green factory for the highly anticipated mid-engine right-hand-drive Corvette next year.

These sentences have sparked furious debate between supporters and detractors, with one common theme being “why didn’t they call the Commodore something else” after local manufacturing ceased in 2017. Then there are comments about a lack of relevant marketing for the ZB, indifferent dealership service, lack of support for just-out-of-warranty issues, balanced against “it’s not a real Commodore” due to the lack of V8, ute and wagon, and the shift to front wheel drive. Toss in a mix of “football, meat pies, kangaroos, and Holden cars” as Australian made before the inexorable slide to very little of the VF actually being manufactured in Australia, and the anger and frustration levels of people becomes ever more evident.

What will remain is also divisive. The ZB Commodore was a bloody good car. But it was also never given a real chance at survival for a number of reasons. Ignorance and bias are two, and more’s the pity as it’s fair to presume detractors that decried its front wheel drive layout would not have taken the time to test drive it, and find out it actually drove like a Commodore.

Holden Commodore. Born 1978. Died painfully in 2020.

2019 Hyundai i30 N Fastback: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Hyundai’s foray into the hot hatch arena. It’s not quite a hatch though, with its five door liftback/coupe styling, a body shared with Kia’s Cerato range. It’s the N badge that sets it apart from its lesser brethren.How Much Does It Cost?: Hyundai’s list price is $41500 plus on roads. The website lists it as $46,133 to $49,781 drive-away, depending on seeing the Luxury Pack (as tested) inside or not.

Under The Bonnet Is: A potent 2.0L petrol fed and turbocharged four cylinder, mated to a super slick six speed manual. In N spec it’s good for 202kW and a hefty 353 torques. There is an overboost facility that provides 378Nm. “Normal” torque is available from 1,450rpm to 4,700rpm. Overboost is 1,750rpm to 4,200rpm. They’re delivered in a very linear fashion, rather than a lightning bolt kapow. It makes for an extremely flexible drivetrain.Economy around town reflects the performance aspect though, with urban assaults seeing numbers north of 10.6/100km. That’s pretty much on the money for our drive. Hyundai quotes 8.0L/100km for the combined cycle. Our lowest figure was on the highway, not unsurprisingly, and clocked 7.5L/100km. That’s still above the 6.4L/100km from Hyundai’s official figures. Final overall was 9.4L/100km. Tank size is 50L and recommended fuel is 95RON.

On The Outside It’s: A somewhat subdued look. There are red painted brake calipers with the N logo clearly visible. A small rear spoiler sits above a curvaceous rump and lights that evoke Mercedes-Benz coupe and fastbacks. The front has a discreet N in the gloss black grille which sits between a pair of swept back headlights. Underneath is a chin spoiler that is perhaps too low. Every care was taken entering and reversing from the drive and it still scraped.Wheels are 19 inches in diameter and have a distinctive spoke design. Rubber is from Pirelli, they’re P-Zero and 235/35 are in size.

Paint is metallic red and highlights the longer than the i30 hatch body. The hatch is 4,335mm with the fastback getting 4,455mm. Maximum height is 1,419mm and that’s lower than the hatch. This means a slipperier, more aerodynamic profile.On The Inside It’s: An opportunity missed to stamp the N as a sports oriented vehicle. The air vents have red piping to the surrounds and that’s largely it in comparison to the largely otherwise unremarkable interior. The steering wheel has red stitching, and there is subtle red stitching in the seats. The look is subdued and dare we say, generic with unremarkable plastics, the standard looking touchscreen interface bar the N tab, and analogue dials where a full width LCD screen would have been better optioned.

The Luxury Pack is comprehensive. Push button Start/Stop, synthetic suede and leather seats (which are bloody comfortable and supportive) that feature a subtly embossed N logo, with both the front pews and steering wheel getting heating. There is a two position memory function for the driver’s seat plus 12 way power adjustment. Both front seats have extendable squabs for extra support available as an option. A wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones is also standard. Front sensors for parking and puddle lamps are part of the package too, as is privacy glass for the rear seats. The wing mirrors are powered and auto-dip for reversing.There is no tab for the central locking. This precludes anyone outside opening the door whilst the engine is running, meaning it has to be powered off to allow someone to get in. It’s a small but noticeable niggle. However Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is DAB audio. Curiously, the audio lacked bass, even with the equaliser moved up to full for that part of the sound stage. Mid-range and treble are clear and overtake the bass in in presence.The tiller has the drive mode switches; one for Sport/Normal/Eco, and one for the N performance package. The Sport engages the throaty rumble mode for the exhaust whereas the N selection firms up the steering and suspension, and offers a preset or customisable set of settings for exhaust, steering, engine and more via the touchscreen. Standard look is showing power, torque, turbo boost, and g-force readings, plus lap timings for track days.Inside the 436L cargo area is a brace bar to provide extra torsional rigidity. The cargo section itself opens up to 1,337L with the rear seats folded. A cargo net is standard, as is a space saver spare. A glass roof is an optionable extra. Shoulder and leg room, is fine and even rear seat leg room is good enough.On The Road It’s: A sleeper. Left in Eco and Normal mode it’s…normal. There’s a typical feel to the whole package in acceleration, noise, handling. The clutch is curiously heavier than expected and resulted in more than a few stalls. Hit the Sport mode and there’s a change of attitude. The exhaust suddenly gets more snarl, there’s an extra sense of weight to the steering, and sharper handling.

N mode lights the candle. There’s an extra depth to the anger of the exhaust and especially on up and downshifts. There’s a crackle, a sharp and hard edged note that’s evident on even light throttle. Go hard and the length and volume of the growl becomes longer thanks to some electronic assistance. Launch Control is standard and that’s activated via the disabling of the traction control system. Hold that button down, wait until a couple of lights flash to say things are happening, and then push down the clutch. Floor the throttle and somewhere around six seconds later it’s freeways speeds.There is torque steer but the electronic or “e-diff” makes a great fist of smoothing that out. Although hydralic in nature, the electron brains behind the scenes distrubute torque as per where the sensors say it should. It makes for a pretty much arrow straight line on a hard launch, and keeps both front wheels in contact with the ground. Steering is super precise and is just two turns lock to lock. This means input results in instant response. Rev-matching works on getting the engine to be in a rev range suitable for the cog selected on downshifts.

It’s slick and smooth, and gets the rumble and snarl from the rear happening. The selector itself is light, with Hyundai saying the actual feel was built in for “enthusiastic drivers”. For us, it felt accurate in throw, perhaps a little long, but also disconnected and remote from the driving experience. Braking is the complete opposite, with one of the best sensory experiences available. Think about where the pedal needed to be and it was, with instant response from the lightest of touches.

The N mode makes, as mentioned, for harder suspension. It’s noticeably different in quality and brings forth a benefit. That’s every corner, as firm as they become, being able to provide to the driver a picture of every ripple, every dent and ridge on a 20c coin without a feeling of being overly tight and taut. It’s a superbly tuned package and one honed by 500 laps of The Nurburgring. The torque spread makes for easy freeway driving, and overtaking is as simple as either squeeze and go, or drop a cog or two. There are shift lights and a shift indicator notification in the LCD screen in the driver’s binnacle.What About Safety?: There is no stinting here. The full Hyundai SafetySense package is available, with Forward Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Warning, and Lane Keep Assist. The DAW in the liftback was overly enthusiastic, saying a break should be taken after just a few minutes worth of travel time. Quad sensors front and rear provide accurate parking measurements as does the clear view from the reverse camera which includes guideline assist. On the passive safety front there are seven airbags including the driver’s kneebag. Hill Start Assist was welcomed due to the vagaries of the clutch point.What About Warranty And Service?: Hyundai have done track day drivers a huge service here. Under most warranty guidelines, issues found to be as a result of track days aren’t covered. Hyundai disagree with that and do offer that coverage. Also, cars delivered by December 31, 2019, will have seven years warranty, instead of five. Service costs are capped (check with your Hyundai dealer) and items such as satnav updates can be done when a car is booked in for a service.

At The End Of The Drive. We must thank Hyundai Australia for the opportunity to drive the liftback version of the i30 N. It timed out well in one respect, one not made mention of This is your link for more information.until now. the car had well over twelve thousand kilometres on the clock when picked up, and there’s no doubt many of those would have been hard driven ones. No rattles, no squeaks, no unnecessary noises at all, indicating a very high level of build quality in the tolerances.

It’s an excellent all-rounder, family and enthusiast friendly, and bar the downmarket look and surprising lack of low end in the sound system, provides a wonderful environment in which to spend time in. Outside the liftback looked resplendent in red but didn’t visually yell it was an N spec. A matter of personal taste, one would suggest. This is your source for more info.

 

AC and Keeping Cool in the Car this Summer

Crikey, we’re having a hot summer, for sure.  The heat outside can be unbearable some days.  Thanks to Willis Carrier, a 25-year-old engineer from New York, who in 1902 invented the first modern air-conditioning system we now have an invention developed further into what we now have for cooling our buildings and automobiles.  Willis’s system sent air through water-cooled coils, and was designed to control humidity in the printing plant where he worked.  People in Iran, Australia, Egypt and the Middle East know all about the benefits of having water held around dwellings so that any breeze passing over the water will be cooled thus providing a very pleasant space for people on the downwind side of the water source.  This cooled space is delightful on a very hot day.

The concept of pushing hot air over cool water and cooled refrigerant has also been developed in cars, and thus we have what is known as the air-conditioning unit, used in many of the cars that we drive.  More fancy cars use a climate control system which can automatically adjust the system to keep the cabin at a pre-set temperature.

It makes sense to keep your vehicle’s air-conditioning unit in good shape, so make it a habit to get it checked over every couple of years prior to summer kicking in – particularly when you sense that the air-conditioning system is running a little below par.  In Australia, where it is common for the temperatures to soar well into the high 30’s, and beyond, having a car with a properly functioning air-conditioning system is a must.  It becomes a safety issue, really!

The main reasons your air-con won’t be working are: a blocked condenser, the compressor no longer works properly, there is no more gas in the air-conditioning system, there could be a refrigerant leak, a relay problem or any other electrical issue.  Automotive air conditioning professionals can diagnose why your car’s A/C system isn’t working and fix or replace the required components.  Using the system more frequently helps it to keep ticking over for longer.

It’s also good to travel with plenty of water handy for hydration, and there are also some other simple and practical ways that will help you to stay cool in your car this summer.  Did you know that tinting your car’s windows makes travelling on hot sunny days more comfortable?  Window film cuts UV by 98% to protect your car and its occupants.

Sunshades are also very effective at keeping the sun and heat out of your car.  They can be placed on the front and/or rear inside windows and keep the direct sunlight out of your car.  Sunshades that attach to your side windows are also available from car accessory stores, nationwide.

Buying a car with reasonable engine performance and torque also ensures that the air-conditioning will run freely without taking too much away from the car’s overall performance and responsiveness.  Every time you activate the air-conditioning it draws power from the engine.

The performance impact may only be small, but it is there – and over time it adds up.  There are quite a few smaller, compact cars on the roads these days, and it’s worthwhile knowing that the effect of AC on engine performance is greater in these smaller vehicles than in those with larger engines – V6’s, diesels and V8s, for example.

Just so you know…

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A lightly refreshed for 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed. There are no external changes although one would suspect a front end revamp to bring it even more into line with the edgier looks now seen on the rest of the family will come deep in 2020.Under The Bonnet Is: The familiar petrol and CVT combination. The CVT is programmed but with only six “steps” as opposed to the more common seven or eight. The diesel engine is largely unavailable save for being inside the Exceed and LS AWD. Only the entry level ES has a manual option and it seems that the PHEV is due for an upgrade in early 2020.

At 2.4L in capacity it’s right in the ballpark for petrol engine’s in this type of vehicle. Peak power of 124kW and peak torque of 220Nm arrive at 6,000rpm and 4,200rpm respectively. Maximum towing is 1,600kg (braked).Economy figures in a driving sense vary thanks to Mitsubishi’s on-the-fly measurements. Our final figure was a very good 6.3L/100km, with Mitsubishi saying 7.2L/100km for the combined. Our figure was on a highway run, with 8.5L/100km seeming the norm in suburbia. Tank size is 60L.

How Much Does It Cost?: At the time of writing, Mitsubishi are offering the petrol version at $45,790 drive-away. That includes 7 years warranty and 2 years free scheduled servicing. It’s also a substantial discount from the $43,290 plus government and dealer charges.

On The Outside It’s: Unchanged. The Outlander is the only vehicle left in the Mitsubishi fleet that doesn’t sport the jut-jawed and squared off at each end design, instead retaining the rounded and ovoid look of the past near decade, even with the shield grille look.Rubber comes from Toyo’s A24 range and were 225/55/18 in configuration. The spare is a space saver. These sit on a 2,670mm wheelbase and allow for a balanced look in the front and rear overhang for the 4,695mm total length. Our test car came clad in metallic red and contrasts nicely with the black urethane wheel arches and side mouldings. Headlights are LED for high and low beam. Rear lights are full LED also except for the fog lights.

On The Inside It’s: Largely unchanged. The highlight here is the revamped interface for the 8.0 inch touchscreen. It’s not as un-user-friendly as the Eclipse Cross but still less so than that found in the Triton. DAB audio is standard but the speaker system let’s it down. There is a bass/midrange/treble equaliser in the settings, but finding the right balance was tricky. The bass was either too boomy or at a level that lacked punch. Vocals, the midrange, lacked cut-through. Android Auto, Apple CarPLay, and Bluetooth connectivity with voice activation are standard as is satnav.Minor quibbles continued with the seats. Powered and leather they may be, but the material was flat in surface texture and lacked eyeball drawing appeal. And again the Australian need for venting in leather seats was overlooked, with heating but not cooling fitted. There was, though, a powered, not manual, lumbar adjustment, and this is great for longer driving stints.

The second row seats are 60/40 foldable, and third row the usual 50/50 split and accessed via the brilliantly simple pullstrap, providing a 1,608 litre cargo section when the powered tailgate was opened. Another minor quibble here; the rear door would self raise from either the key fob or from a driver’s located tab, but not when the exterior button itself was pressed. With the third row down, there’s a more than handy 478L available.The Outlander Exceed supplied didn’t come with a HUD, a Head Up Display. It’s worth pointing out as the Eclipse Cross Exceed does. The S-AWC or Super All Wheel Control is standard here and has Active Yaw Control included.Cabin ergonomics are largely ok however some tabs are well below the driver’s eyeline and down near the right knee. It’s worth considering relocating these purely on a safety basis. Rear seat passengers have two USB ports. All windows are one touch up and down, a seeming rarity in some cars and brands. What was noted is the update to the controls for the dual zone climate control. The Outlander has moved to a classier chromed and almost piano black look for the dials, and they’re now relocated and knurled in look.

Otherwise, the look and feel of the cabin is standard Mitsubishi. Visually it’s a mix of pleasing lines and a bone over black colour palette, with a sunroof providing the extra airiness and spaciousness for the passengers. There is also plenty of space thanks to 1,437mm shoulder room up front. the squarish front profile means 1,425mm is available for the second row. Head room is1,014mm for the front, and 944mm for the second row. Leg room front and second row is 1,039mm and 948mm.On The Road It’s: Surprisingly sluggish from a standing start, even allowing for how a CVT drains performance from a normally zippy and peppy petrol engine. And at 1,525kg is no heavyweight and just starting to fringe on a light-heavyweight compared to its competition. Acceleration, what there is of it, is less than adequate with normal foot pressure and requires a solid shove to get anything resembling velocity. It’s truly unusual and one of the worst we’ve experienced in that respect. But flip the drive selector to Sport mode and there’s an instant change in character. It’s more of the zippier and peppier car expected, with far better acceleration and dynamics.It also was very light in the steering with a lot of assistance. The ratio is variable with more front wheel movement becoming obvious as the tiller went left and right. It’s also easily affected by crosswinds and that came as a surprise too. The winds that plagued Sydney during the review period also showed how susceptible to cross-winds the Outlander was, with the broad and upright sides catching the wind and moving the SUV around. The suspension is the typical MacPherson strut, coil spring front and multi-link rear. Irrespective of the wind affected drive, it’s very easy to drive, it’s quiet, and the supple suspension is well sorted for varying road conditions. The brakes are good with just the right amount of bite per feeling of travel.

What About Safety?: It’s the supreme pizza here. Forward Collision Mitigation is standard, as is Adaptive Cruise Control. Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also here. Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) is standard and more on the safety package can be found here.What About Warranty And Servicing?: As mentioned, there is a seven year warranty and two year free scheduled servicing offer available. For specific details as they’re subject to change, please contact your Mitsubishi dealer.

At The End Of The Drive. The Outlander nameplate is coming up to two decades old in Australia. It started with a Lancer based small SUV about the size of the ASX. It morphed into a larger SUV with Lancer hints before changing again into the rounded body shape we see now.

It’s served as a capable addition to the Mitsubishi family and as their largest passenger oriented car, as in not also offering dedicated off-road capability such as the Triton based Pajero Sport, it holds its own. In this case the power delivery really lacked urgency, leaving us somewhat bemused as to the disappearance of what normally seems a decent driveline. The fact that Sport mode had to be selected to engender any sense of get up and go has left us pondering why.

On the upside is decent dynamics in the ride and handling, a superb safety package, and still attractive looks. Oh, and the drive-away price is enticing too. The Mitsubishi website can tell you more.

What to do After an Accident

A traffic accident might be every driver’s worst nightmare, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you can always avoid it. Even if through no fault of your own, many drivers will find themselves in a bingle of some sort across their driving years.

Given how unexpected such an event can be, often we’re not entirely prepared for how to respond. For some, panic and anxiety starts to set in after a car accident. Emotions will be running high, which means that sometimes we are not always thinking in a rational and coherent manner.

Here’s what you need to do after an accident on the road.

 

 

Remain calm and preserve safety

Assuming that you are uninjured, the first thing is to focus on the here and now. While it is easy for the mind to begin wondering and thinking about potential difficulties that might lie ahead, it is important that you manage to retain a sense of calmness and avoid fear or panic kicking in.

You will need to activate your hazard lights in order to bring awareness to other road users. If the car is obstructing traffic, and there is no immediate danger, move it off to the side so that it does not endanger yourself and other motorists. If there is an immediate danger, you should call emergency services straight away and take primary care. Once you’ve moved the car, remove the keys from the ignition.

As you prepare to exit the car, double check for any injuries that could have been masked by adrenaline rushing through your body. If you are uninjured, you should check on the wellbeing of the other parties involved. If injuries are present, dial 000 for emergency services. The police must be called if injuries are present, a party fails to exchange details, or there is a likelihood that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. More often than not, most drivers will still call the police to make a record of the accident, assuming it is more than just a fender bender.

 

Exchange details with the other party

Once you have your evidence, you must exchange details with the other party. Gather as much information as you can, with a particular emphasis on the other party’s full name, address, phone number, plus vehicle registration and details. It is also beneficial to pick up other information regarding the specific make, model and colour of the vehicle they were driving, and if possible, their licence number and insurance details. These however, are not necessarily obligatory to hand over.

You should also provide the relevant information to the other party. If a driver does not provide you with their name, address, vehicle registration plus information to identify their vehicle, you may report the accident to police.

 

Don’t admit fault

While you might be inclined to apologise for contributing to an accident, that is as far as you should go in discussing the events. Even if you know that the accident was your fault, never admit this to the other driver. It will be left to the professionals investigating the accident to conclusively determine whose fault it was, and any admission could compromise that investigation and your insurance coverage.

 

 

Collect evidence

An important part of your insurance claim will rely on the evidence you present to the insurer. As such, you will want to take several photos of the accident scene, including damage to both vehicles. The scene should extend to the nearby surrounds like any hazards or road conditions that may have contributed to the accident.

If you have a dash cam recording, it is important you save and retain this footage. You will also want to make notes of any other observations relating to the crash scene and even the other party. Speak to any witnesses in the vicinity and ask for their details if you anticipate their version of events will be required.

 

Contact your insurer

First, you’ll want to check what condition your car is in. If it has been involved in a major accident, it is likely that it will be unroadworthy and require towing. Police at the scene would confirm this. If it is a minor accident, you may be able to drive home or to your insurer’s assessment centre.

Contact your insurance company and provide a full account on the accident. They will help you walk through all the necessary steps to lodge your claim, and if required, can offer assistance with towing the vehicle. Leave it with them to investigate and at all times make sure that you cooperate honestly with regards to any details.

 

For All Mobile Phone Users

At last a serious move has been taken to nab the drivers using mobile phones illegally while driving.  New South Wales, Australia is the first place in the world to introduce mobile phone detection cameras, and these will be mounted without any warning signs saying that they are operating in the area.  The technology was invented by a University of Melbourne engineering graduate, Alexander Jannink, after a cyclist friend of his was killed in late 2013 by a driver suspected of being on a mobile phone.

During a three-month trial of the new camera at two locations in Sydney, 100,000 drivers were detected using a mobile phone illegally.  These motoring offences valued more than $34 million in fines.  Those caught in the trial were found to be browsing Facebook, text messaging and one driver was also caught allowing his passenger to steer the wheel.  Distracted drivers are very much a factor in motoring accidents, and placing the high-tech mounted cameras on our roads is a wonderful way to combat the habitual mobile phone actions of those who just can’t seem to leave their phone alone when behind the wheel.

It’s unsettling to notice drivers coming in the opposite direction with their eyes downward while on their phones.  The new cameras have been developed with sophisticated software that automatically detects if a driver is handling a phone.  The filtered images are then checked by a human eye before the weighty fine is issued.

I totally get what the NSW minister for roads and transport, Andrew Constance, recently remarked while on radio: “We want to create the same environment that we have around [random breath testing] because quite frankly using a mobile phone is equivalent to driving drunk behind the wheel.”  Other Australian states are to follow the NSW lead.

The law states that fully licenced drivers are not allowed to use any physical function of the phone while driving.  Making or receiving a call, playing audio, or using navigation maps can be done while the vehicle is parked and the engine not running.  Voice controlled smartphone mirroring apps such as Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which uses the vehicle’s infotainment technology makes things a little safer.

The reality is that nobody wants to share the road with a driver who isn’t paying attention.  When we’re driving, our focus should be on the road and getting everybody in the car to the destination safely.

Here are the mobile phone fines currently enforced in Australia:

NSW mobile phone fines: $344 and five demerit points, $457 and five demerit points in school zones, points doubled during double demerit periods.

Queensland mobile phone fines: $1000 and four demerit points from 1 February 2020, currently $400 and three points. Repeat offenders receive double demerit points if caught again within 12 months from the previous offence.

Victoria mobile phone fines: $496 and four demerit points.

Australian Capital Territory mobile phone fines: $480 three demerit points for handheld phone use, $589 and four demerit points for driver using mobile device for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing internet.

South Australia mobile phone fines: $554 and three demerit points.

Western Australia mobile phone fines: $400 and three demerit points.

Northern Territory mobile phone fines: $500 and three demerit points.

Tasmania mobile phone fine: $336 and three demerit points.

2020 Mitsubishi Triton GLX+: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The slightly updated Mitsubishi Triton four door cab chassis in GLX+ spec. There was a couple of updates for the range and specifically for the GLX+ it received a rear diff lock as standard (also for the GLS), plus the dual cab (as tested) was given a rear air circulator. The GLX+ model comes standard now with Easy-Select 4WD. A centre console mounted dial, as seen in other Tritons, allows easy switching between 2WD and 4WD modes and offers 2H, 4H and 4L transfer case settings.Under The Bonnet Is: A 133kW, 430Nm 2.4L diesel. Peak torque arrives at 2,500 rpm but there’s mixed messages below that. There’s an indecent amount of lag before the torque curve suddenly leaps upwards. From 2,000rpm there’s a gunshot surge of torque, not a smooth progessive delivery, and it’s enough to chirp the rear rubber and that’s with the driveline’s electronic nanny activated. It also provides a towing capacity of 3,100kg.How Much Does It Cost?: Mitsubishi’s RRP for the GLX+ four door cabin body starts at $40,990 for the manual diesel version with 4WD capability. The auto is $43,490. The Triton range itself kicks off with the 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Petrol $22,490 in a single cab body. The four door Crew Cabs start at $36,290 for the 4×2 GLX ADAS Pick Up 2.4L Auto Diesel. There is a three trim level Club Cab as well. Metallic paint is a $690 option. The manual was on sales at $37,990 drive-away at the time of writing (November 2019).

On The Outside It’s: Long and white. The redesign for the Triton range sharpened up each end, with the now signature “Shield” grille and inwards angled bumper side up front, a subtle change to the curve behind the second row doors, and a less curvy shape to the tail light cluster. It’s a look that seems to define the Triton as a “bloke’s ute”. That’s backed up by a solid looking set of tyres, The Bridgestone Dueler A/T rubber has a chunky tread block and stand at 245/70/18 with the alloys an efficient six spoke design. Driving lights and indicator lamps are in the far corners of the blocky front bumper.The tray fitted is big too. It’s 1,520mm in internal length, 1,470mm in width, and 470mm in depth. cargo capacity is 950kg. At the other end are hard jet washers for the windscreen. This is an area where the finer mist style would be far more efficient.On The Inside It’s: Functional and aesthetic in a minimalist sort of way. The aircon rear air circulator is perhaps the standout, as it’s a biggish dome shaped protrusion from the roof, with a set of slats facing the windscreen. The outlets are a pair of slimline vents and each have a flap to redirect the airflow. Up front is Mitsubishi’s standard and functional dual analogue dial and LCD screen setup. The centre console in the dash has a seven inch touchscreen and is better in usage than the screen in the Eclipse Cross. It’s the slightly older GUI and it’s safe to say it’s more user friendly. There is DAB, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports and a HDMI port as well.Seats were cloth in covering, manual in adjustment, and comfortable enough for normal day-to-day driving. It’s a charcoal and light grey colour mix, contrasting with the black and light shades in the lower and upper sections of the cabin. The tiller is height and reach adjustable as well, meaning getting the right driving position shouldn’t be an issue. There is a dull alloy look plastic on the steering wheel’s spokes, circling the airvents, and on the centre console around the gear selector.Leg and shoulder room has never been an issue in the Triton and there’s plenty of space for people of all sizes. Shoulder room is 1,430mm, leg room a handy 1,020mm up front. 970mm is the measurement for rear seats. There is also a handy little icon that shows which seatbelts haven’t been connected when the car is ready to move away.On The Road It’s: Not nearly as wayward as its underpinnings as a work ute would suggest. It’s decently comfortable, handles better than expected, and speed can be washed off with the front end scrubbing the tyres. The suspension is tight up front, a little less so for the rear, naturally, in order to cope with the expected load usage. The steering is heavy but manageably so, and there is little free-play from centre, meaning steering response is quick.Unfortunately the very good handling and ride is hobbled by horrendous turbo lag and then a punch in the back. Twist the start key, fire up, engage Drive, and hit the go pedal. There’s a real and genuine wait for anything to happen as the turbo spools up, and the revs rise. Then kapow bam wham, it’s a far too instant launch as the numbers see two thousand. This really needs a smoother and more progressive torque delivery in order to make this a more driver friendly vehicle.

The brakes are well balanced, with enough feedback on the press of the pedal to get a sense of where the foot needs to be in order to haul up the two tonnes worth of metal. There’s enough to make sure than when going into corners and dabbing the brakes to use the front end scrub as well, that the combination become instinctive and driver friendly.The Safety Package Is: Good but could be better, and work utes are getting better in an area they’ve lagged in. Forward Collision Mitigation Warning with Pedestrian Detection is standard on the GLX+ as is Lane Departure Warning. Lane Change Assist and Blind Spot Warning, plus Rear Cross Traffic Warning are missing.

And the Warranty Is: Listed as 7 years, 150,000 kilometres, and servicing is free for two years as of December 1, 2019. Four years road side assist is included.

At the End Of the Drive. For what it is, the Triton range are a sturdy, solid, and worthwhile investment. The GLX+ drives well enough but that turbo lag is a problem. Standard equipment and trim is good enough for its intended market as well. The Mitsubishi website is where you’ll find out more.