We answer a few quick queries from readers on everything from 6×6 conversions to the importance of air-conditioning in cars…

QUESTION: The power output of the air conditioner is more relevant to the welfare of the occupant than the power output of the car engine in Australian summer. Could you please consider quoting the power output of the air conditioner in your car reviews to keep the manufacturers/distributors honest?

ANSWER: No, we won’t do that. What you want to know is how effective the cooling system is, and that’s not just just a function of the aircon’s power output but its efficiency. Then there’s the size of the cabin, the glass area, the ventilation design and various other factors. For example, a single-cab ute cools down much quicker than a seven-seat wagon simply due to a smaller cabin size.  There’s way too many variable and subjectivity for any meanginful numbers-based comparison. If you’re worried about your cooling then get your windows tinted, get your aircon re-gassed, buy a car with cooled seats and use a sun guard on the windscreen when parked.

QUESTION: I sent a recent enquiry regarding the arrival date of the Jaguar Ingenium petrol to Australia however I have received differing opinions on whether I should be purchasing the Jaguar XE 2.0-litre diesel or petrol versions.

I am retired now and I travel less than 10,000 kilometres a year. I would appreciate some advice on the ownership logistics of the two types of fuel and what your recommendation would be. I have never owned a diesel car but I do drive my wife’s Kia Sportage diesel from time to time and I find the performance ok. Kind Regards SS

ANSWER: Both cars perform perfectly well unless you take them to a racetrack in which case the petrol will be quicker. The 0-100 sprint times are diesel 7.8 seconds and petrol 6.8 seconds In the real world, both will feel about the same. We’ve just tested an F-PACE with the same engine and it didn’t feel slow despite being a heavier vehicle.

The diesel is slightly more expensive; excluding onroads the XE Prestige diesel is $62,800 and the petrol $60,400 so $2400 less. You will eventually break even as the fuel consumption figures are 4.2 and 7.5L/100km for the combined cycle, but it’ll take a while – around 56,000km assuming both fuels cost $1.3 per litre.

Advice – if you’re going to drive lots of long trips, as in hundreds of kilometers, and drive more than 20,000km per year then look at the diesel, otherwise save the money and go petrol.

QUESTION: I am trying to set my 6×4 GQ Nissan Patrol to be a 6×6. I have the rear diff in and I am looking at trying to get the diff set up as a straight through. I’m trying to find someone that can do this, if you are the people to talk to or can point me in the right direction that would be great.

ANSWER: Hi Ben. Check out our 6X6 article conversion article. Bob James may be able to assist.

QUESTION: I’m looking a purchasing a luxury SUV. Trying to decide if we should wait and try the new Land Rover Discovery, or should we just choose between Q7 and XC90. Looking at using it as a family vehicle. We have 3 children 10, 8 and 5 using it for the school and sport runs, trips to QLD etc. At the moment we have a Q7. My wife drives it most of the time and loves it. 

ANSWER: All three will do the job. The XC90 is a little bit smaller but still very spacious. Compared to the other two it is behind on towing, offroad and sporting dynamics. The Q7 and Discovery will both tow 3500kg, and the Discovery is best offroad although the other two will deal with dirt roads adequately. Warranty is similar. We can’t even offer price advice as both XC90 and Q7 come with a huge range of options which means price comparison is difficult, and Discovery pricing with options isn’t finalised.

Assuming the trips to Queensland are interstate, the spare tyre question becomes important. Out of the three cars, the Discovery is the only one which will be able to accommodate a full-sized spare tyre which is important for longer trips.

Those are the most significant capability differences. Your requirements don’t mention any of them, so we’re in to personal preference now and it’s best to get the family down to each car and have them crawl over it. Aside from a full-sized spare, I’m not sure the Discovery will offer much that the Q7 and XC90 don’t now based on our first look and reading through the specifications.

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