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The Mercury Cars Guide : March 27th 2010
14--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, March 27, 2010 Plan to stem petrol demand VISION: An artist's impression of the Coskata ethanol plant. HOUSEHOLD rubbish could be the key to Australia's driving future. A ground-breaking green fuel plant pro- posed for Victoria is hoping to produce ethanol from household waste and building waste. If successful the $400 million plant could produce more than 200 million litres of ethanol a year. The Victorian Government has formed a consortium comprising Holden, Caltex, Veolia, Mitsui and Coskata to investigate the viability of the plant, which could be built in Melbourne. If successful, the alternative fuel will be blended as E85, a mixture of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent regular petrol. Coskata, a US-based biofuel company, believes it can produce ethanol for less than 35c a litre. Coskata chief marketing officer Wes Bolsen, said the proposal would not just benefit Victoria. ''It's about what can be done in Queens- land or NSW,'' he said. ''It's the tip of the iceberg for Australia to be less dependent on oil.'' Bolsen believes that Australia's surplus agriculture waste could make it a net exporter of material for ethanol plants in other parts of the world. Holden energy and environment director Richard Marshall said ethanol could reduce our dependence on petrol by up to 30 per cent. Marshall believes $2 a litre for petrol would be a trigger point for the success of alternative fuels here. Holden plans to introduce its first locally built ethanol-fuelled Commodore V6 later this year. Caltex will assist by installing ethanol pumps in 30 metropolitan and regional service stations later this year. It already has about 400 service stations nationally selling E10. NEIL McDONALD Desperately seeking new Suzuki NEW: The 2011 Suzuki Swift. Picture: CARPARAZZI CHOICES: The VW Tiguan, above, and, below, the Audi A4. I WAS wondering if you knew when a new model of the Suzuki Swift is due for release. Andrea Wilbeger email IT will be previewed later this year in europe, with sales in Australia in the first half of 2011. Trip over the top MY wife and I are planning to drive the Savanna Way across the top of Australia next year and so we are looking to replace our 13-year-old Toyota Vienta with a four-wheel drive. We don't want a big one, so we were looking at the smaller end of the medium SUV market and, as we plan to use the vehicle as our normal car once we are back, we were looking at the soft off roaders to make it easy to get around back in Melbourne. We also wanted a full-size spare, diesel engine, GPS and parking sensors and reversing camera, ipod input, etc. We have looked at the Peugeot 4007, the Mazda CX-7, the VW Tiguan and the Renault Koleos. On looks alone the Peugeot was in front but the reviews haven't been great and the Renault does look quite smart. I understand its based on the Nissan X Trail, but that's not a negative. Michael Meehan email THE Tiguan is the best of your contenders but can be a bit pricey. The Koleos is largely unknown but very good, although it will be considerably worse on resale than the Volkswagen. Heart or head I'M looking for a new or demo car to replace my 1989 Honda Prelude. The Honda, which I bought new, has done 272,000km. Unfortunately, they are no longer made. I don't like the looks of the Honda Accord Euro so haven't considered it. So I have had a short test drive in the Lexus IS250, Audi A41.8TFSI and Peugeot 407 Coupe, all automatic, and cannot distinguish between the three rides. I prefer the styles/looks of a coupe but I would like some advice on resale values/ depreciation on the three cars. The Audi A4 has a beautiful interior while the other two are about equal in my view but below the Audi. Izzy Schneider email THE Audi is the car to buy with your heart, and the cabin quality is enticing, while the Lexus is just as good as a drive and the head choice based on dealer service and resale value. Control the cruise WITH the current interest in cruise controls apparently jamming on, and being a retired driver trainer, I experimented with my BA Falcon Futura with the cruise control on. The speed was set at 80km/h and we were climbing a slight rise. I moved the gear selector to neutral, expecting the engine to roar in an attempt to maintain the speed. The car began to slow as the cruise system had gone into coast mode requiring me to re-set the resume control for the car to continue. Hopefully this maybe of benefit to many drivers. Peter Bellmont email SELECTING neutral should disable most cruise controls, the right procedure in an emergency. The same thing is the best response to a jammed accelerator. Then the vehicle can be braked safely to a stop, even if the engine is still racing.
March 20th 2010
April 10th 2010