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BUYING ADVICE

VERY FEW EUROPEAN SOFTROADERS ARE SUITABLE FOR AUSTRALIA
We won't test most of them any more and here's why you shouldn't buy one.

Nearly all European soft-roaders now come with temporary spare wheels, run-flat tyres or no spare and a can of tyre inflation gas and sealant. In Australia, that’s dangerous we believe.

 

m-b gl-a 250 There is simply no place for soft-roaders with temporary spares, run-flat tyres or the spare-less vehicle with a can of sealant and a supposed tyre inflation gas charge.

None of these ‘solutions’ to the spare tyre problem works in the Australian environment.

We’ve tested temporary spares, run-flats and gas cans and none of them can be relied upon in the Australian-distance context – not even on freeways and major highways.

It’s a great shame, because there are some wonderful European machines in the marketplace.

A shining example was the Mercedes-Benz GL-A 250 SUV. This vehicle was beautifully made, went very well, handled like a sports car, bristled with all the expected electronic gadgetry and  made an ideal easy-trail and gravel-road touring machine – except that it rolled on run-flat tyres.

Lift the cargo floor and you discovered a shallow spare wheel
well that was fitted with a jack (why?) and a Harmon Kardon stereo amplifier, but no spare wheel and tyre.

Like all ‘solutions’ to the issue of having to carry and
change a flat tyre, run-flats have inadequate driving range to allow safe transport to a tyre centre. Also, the chance of that rural centre having a replacement tyre is zero, necessitating at least a 24-hour stay until a tyre can be flown in. Read about our run-flat experience.

We had the ‘Benz for a week’s test, but it spent all its
time on the bitumen and we had to ensure we were never more than 80 kilometres from a Mercedes-Benz dealer, just in case we scored a flat.

How bloody stupid is that?

 

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