Our motoring guru Chris Nixon reviews the Porsche Macan SUV, Fiat Freemont family SUV and Total Wheelspin by Tony Davis
$32,600 | Family SUV
2.0 turbo diesel engine | 125 kW/350 Nm
The Freemont isn’t Italian by origin but Fiat’s version of the American-designed Dodge Journey, with smaller, more economical diesel and petrol engines.
It’s a 7-seat SUV, but having only front-wheel drive doesn’t affect its admirable practicality. The older-style boxy shape ensures good passenger and cargo space and elevated seating.
The Americans really understand interior convenience, so the Freemont comes with an impressive equipment list including auto lights and wipers, keyless ignition, integrated child booster seats and numerous small storage places.
The diesel engine pulls solidly with the 6-speed manual-only gearbox.
FOR: Practical, well-equipped, 7 seats, great value; petrol versions start at just $25,990.
AGAINST: Not a fresh design, so don’t expect latest European driving experience.
VERDICT: A good choice for larger families.
Porsche Macan SUV:
Here is hope for those who always wanted a Porsche but thought they could never afford one or justify the compromises to everyday family life. The German sports car maker will launch its new Macan SUV in Australia in June, with prices starting from $84,900.
That’s still not exactly cheap, but it’s news because it will be easily the least expensive Porsche and similarly-priced to a Toyota LandCruiser.
There will be three V6-engined petrol or diesel Macans, all with 7-speed double-clutch transmissions, full-time all-wheel drive and sports suspensions.
Going off-road will be strictly optional in these luxury wagons.
Total Wheelspin by Tony Davis
Author Tony Davis achieves with Total Wheelspin what very few can, a funny and entertaining read about cars that transcends any interest – or lack of – in the subject.
Surely one of Australia’s wittiest writers, Davis has followed up his best-selling Lemon! and Total Lemons with a collection of short chapters of “car culture, quizzes, myths and motoring madness” that’s ideal for an easy summer read.
He asks which car maker talks the most twaddle in describing its designs, anoints the worst car movies, exposes the weirdest badge names, imagines a vehicle review written by children’s author Enid Blyton, speculates on why drivers hang their arms out the window and reveals many other motoring tid-bits you never needed to know.
Total Wheelspin is published by ABC Books and priced at $19.99.