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Drive Life : January 7th 2011
1HERSA1 F010 10 Friday, January 7, 2011 The Sydney Morning Herald DriveLIFE ASK THE EXPERTS The Drive team answers your questions Big, bigger or wheely big . . . a question for the Land Rover Freelander buyer. I'm buying a new Land Rover Freelander 2011 model and have the option of 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels for the same price. In terms of driving, I do 50/50 metro versus country and plan to do some four-wheel-driving. Any tips on which to go with? Mathew Steer clear of the 19s if you plan to do off-roading. Larger-diameter wheels usually have lower profile tyres, which are more susceptible to damage from gutters, rocks and all the sorts of things you encounter off-roading. Some of the serious four-wheel-drivers have been critical of the low- profile rubber being fitted to some Land Rovers and Range Rovers these days. The main thing larger wheels bring is a better look, as well as improved steering response and cornering grip. But they will also make the ride bumpier and usually cost more to replace. If you're not worried about the look and do plan to go off-roading, we'd recommend the 17s. Check that the spare tyre matches the others; when off- roading, you don't want to be stuck miles from civilisation with an odd-sized wheel. I always drove manual cars but recently bought an automatic. What's the best thing to do when you stop at red lights? Do you just put on the foot brake; put on the handbrake; or put the gear in ''park'' with the handbrake on? Di Your best bet is to just leave the car in ''drive'', which better prepares you for when the lights go green. That said, in many cars it will use more fuel because the engine is pushing very gently against the brakes. However, in many modern cars the computer effectively decouples the engine when the car is stopped, eliminating any additional fuel use. Whatever car you drive, though, the easiest option is to simply leave it in ''drive'' gear. Iwanttofitatowbartomy2008 VW Golf and have been told it will cost $1000 to have it wired up (despite the actual part only costing $500). Why so pricey? Warwick The towbar gets wired into the car's fuse box and CAN (controller area network) bus system. This basically means that when you connect your trailer all of the vehicle's control units are ''aware'' the trailer is now attached and can make any adjustments to things such as the stability control and reversing sensors. Plus, the fuse box protects the car's electrical system from any dodgy trailer wiring. As for the price, shop around among the VW dealers, as even their prices can vary. GEAR DRIVE iPHONE APP CAN'T get enough of Drive? Now you can have it on your iPhone. The new Drive app allows you to browse through new and used cars, as well as ex- demonstrator vehicles. You can set parameters including price and location, as well as how many kilometres are on the clock. There's also a clever shortlist feature that allows you to save a selection of cars that you may want to come back to. If you're watching every cent while you save up for that new ride, you'll be happy to know the Drive iPhone app is free. See drive.com.au or visit the App Store. Matt Campbell JARGON BUSTER HILL HOLD HILL-HOLD systems temporarily hold the brakes when conducting a hill start, meaning the driver doesn't have to worry about using the handbrake. When the car is in gear, this allows the right foot to move from the brake to the accelerator without the need for the handbrake to be applied. They automatically disengage after a few seconds (in case you want to roll backwards on purpose) or when the clutch is engaged. More recently, hill-hold functions have been added to automatic cars --- in particular, various Audis and Volkswagens with twin-clutch, self-shifting transmissions. There are also cars that feature a push-button park brake that can be overridden by the driver applying pressure to the accelerator while the car is in gear.
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