As seen in Issue 282, Chris Nixon discusses the Australian arrival of two new rivals for Harley Davidson…

Indians on the warpath

Harley Davidson has two new rivals with the arrival in Australia of the Indian and Victory brands. Harleys come from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while Victorys and Indians are from Spirit Lake, Iowa.

All follow the American formula of big engines, big frames and extravagant styling. Dating from 1901, Indian is America’s oldest motorcycle make and once was the world’s most popular, but it went through bankruptcy and a string of owners before landing with Polaris, which manufactures snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles and launched Victory in 1998. It was a heavily-modified 1920 Indian Scout that took Kiwi Burt Munro to several land speed world records (re the film, The World’s Fastest Indian).

Fully-adapted for our roads, Indians and Victorys are for sale at 632 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley.

Blow up your kids

Those practical Swedes have designed the answer to every parent’s dream – an inflatable child safety seat. The prototype seat designed by Volvo is half the size and weight of conventional moulded seats and can be packed into luggage, making it extremely easy to use when travelling. Bluetooth connectivity allows a number of functions, including remote inflation with a built-in pump. There’s no word yet on when it will be on sale.

New HQ for used Mercs

Mercedes-Benz Brisbane has opened a new showroom dedicated to selling only the best used Mercs, at 195 Lutwyche Road, Windsor.

High beam on hop-heads

British crims are using LED headlights from luxury cars to help them grow hydroponic marijuana. The London Telegraph reports police are investigating a spate of thefts from Land Rover and Range Rover models, which apparently yield their headlights to the deft villains in less than 60 seconds.

Testing: Nissan Altima Ti

Launched on the back of an expensive V8 Supercar campaign, the Nissan Altima is trailing in the sales race against mid-size sedan rivals such as the Mazda6, Ford Mondeo or Honda Accord.

The car is far better than the sales suggest. It offers contemporary styling, quality build and plentiful features across the ST, ST-L, Ti and Ti-S grades. These include Bose audio, blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning. With plenty of power and excellent CVT auto transmission, the Altima is enjoyable to drive. It can’t be criticised for anything, except that it fails to shine in any particular area.

From $40,190 plus onroads, 4-door sedan, 2.5 litre 4-cyl petrol engine, 127kW, 230Nm
FOR: Quality, well-equipped.
AGAINST: Not different enough.
VERDICT: Safe bet for a mid-size quality sedan.