Chris Nixon rounds up the latest motoring news.
Chic and cheerful
A nose job has given fresh appeal to Renault’s most popular model in Australia, the Megane, but the more important change is under the skin. The former 2.0 litre petrol motor is replaced by a 1.2 litre tiddler with turbocharging, gaining more pulling power and almost 30 percent better fuel economy. It can be linked to an efficient double-clutch auto gearbox.
Priced from $20,990 and available as a hatch or wagon, the Megane is a likeable small car with le difference.
Testing: Infiniti Q50
Most drivers don’t know Infiniti is the luxury brand of Nissan. That’s a pity, because this junior executive sedan deserves consideration by shoppers for a BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 or Lexus IS250.
It has a lush interior and advanced tech features including steering by wire (no steering column), linked to a system to keep drivers straying out of their lane. Looks good, too.
FOR: Luxurious interior, safety features.
AGAINST: Near-invisible profile.
VERDICT: Nice car, deserves more attention.
From $51,900 plus on-roads.
Run-in is out
Do you still need to run-in a new car? Rarely if at all, seems to be the answer.
It used to be the practice to allow engine parts to wear into each other and rub away microscopic imperfections in metal surfaces, changing the oil early to flush away the excess.
But modern production tolerances and high-tech oils are so good, most new vehicles can be used to their maximum capacity virtually straight away.
However, consult your car’s handbook before taking this advice for granted and strictly follow service instructions, especially for oil changes.
That said, many drivers experience a freer, more lively engine after it’s been a few thousand kilometres on the road.
Drivers take car reliability for granted, but it’s a serious and costly priority for manufacturers.
Chrysler is recalling almost 895,000 of its vehicles, including Jeep Grand Cherokees sold in Australia, because a wiring problem in the vanity mirror can cause a fire.
Chrysler said a sun visor screw could penetrate a wire for the vanity light, causing an electrical short circuit. Such a seemingly small production glitch – a single misdirected screw – is an example of the extreme measures makers must take to provide the total reliability we demand.
Chrysler Jeep Australia will contact local owners for non-urgent repairs.