Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Sat 16 Jul 2011



The Northern Territory news Sat 16 Jul 2011

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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2 NT NEWS. CARSguide www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 6 -J U L -2 0 1 1 P A G E : 3 0 2 C O L O R : C M Y K CARS GUIDE l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l ntnews.com.au Safety first for ageing drivers Mature drivers are dictating the trends in new car design TOP CHOICES AWDSUVs:Honda CR-V (from $30,990), Nissan X-Trail (from $32,490), Subaru Forester (from $30,990), Subaru Outback (from $38,490) 2WDSUVs:Holden Captiva (from $27,990), Hyundai ix35 (from $26,990), Kia Sportage (from $26,490), Mitsubishi ASX (from $25,990), Mitsubishi Outlander (from $28,990), Nissan Dualis (from $24,990), Nissan X-Trail (from $28,490), Renault Koleos (from $29,990) Cars: Holden Cruze (from $20,990), Mazda3 (from $21,330), Hyundai i30 (from $19,590), Ford Focus (from $21,990), Suzuki Kizashi (from $28,490), Toyota Corolla (from $20,990), Toyota Camry (from $30,490) Manufacturers are wheeling out innovations and comforts to suit oldies whowant to stay mobile, reportsMARKHINCHLIFFE We tend to take the needs of all age groups into considerationwhen designing our cars BABY boomers are driving a new generation of vehicles designed for older motorists. They are demanding everything from higher seating positions and lighter controls to more safety equipment, in a move that reflects the ageing Australian population and their buying power. Recent research confirms the pressures on ageing drivers and their needs, with Dr Mark King of the Accident and Road Safety Centre at Queensland University of Technology confirming they are more likely to be involved in crashes where they are at fault. They are therefore more likely to look for safer cars as they feel more vulnerable on the road, Dr King says. The number of Australians over 65 will more than double over the next 40 years and research shows the 80-plus group will multiply by more than nine times. VEHICLE CHOICE: The Toyota Camry sedan tends to be the king of cars for oldies. Even so, Toyota says there is nothing special in the car for the over 60s. We tend to take the needs of all age groups into consideration when designing our cars and SUVs, says Mike Breen, spokesman for Toyota Australia. Other car companies claim considerable attention to the needs of ageing baby boomers. Nissan and Ford even outfit engineers and designers with special suits that help them understand the needs of elderly people. Wearing the suit simulates the creaky joints, diminished dexterity, and weaker eyesight and hearing often associated with ageing. ACCESS: The main focus of designers and engineers when meeting the needs of the elderly seems to be a suitable hip point for access to the car. The hip point is the height of the hip from the ground when seated. Access is also aided by doors that open wide to accommodate a helper or a wheelchair. Audi spokesman Sean Poppitt says they aim to have the widest possible opening aperture for ease of entry and egress. Doors also need to have strong stays so that they dont suddenly open wider or close while the passenger is getting in or out. INTERIOR: Once seated, the designers and engineers have to ensure that the seat and steering wheel have enough adjustment in all directions to cater for possible limited movement of limbs and neck rotation. A Holden spokeswoman, Shayna Welsh, says among other features appealing to older customers are the quick release boot on Cruze and Commodore sedan. Other general aids like rear reversing cameras are popular with people who have difficulty twisting or turning their head and customers whose eyesight or general mobility is more constrained. SAFETY: Subaru spokesman David Rowley says their research shows occupant safety is an important issue with the elderly. The company will later this year introduce their Eyesight system with features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision braking and lane departure warning, he says. VERDICT: The ideal car for the ageing population seems to be the compact sports utility vehicle (SUV). SUVs have good access, high seats, a commanding view of the road and good vis ibility. Many SUVs also come with an economical diesel option and many now have an optional two-wheel-drive model with a lower sticker price and lower ongoing running costs. Older generation is plugged in By MARK HINCHLIFFE Older drivers are making the first moves on eco cars THE electric revolution could be driven by pensioners, not tech-savvy Gen Y motorists. Just as the ageing Woodstock generation took to the Toyota Prius hybrid, they will also take to EVs, says Nissan regional electric vehicle manager Michael Hayes. He says the companys Leaf EV, arriving about this time next year, will mainly attract buyers aged over 50. Its the same early adopters who bought hybrids, he says. They will predomin antly be older empty nesters with good educations, professionals and a household income from $150,000 to $200,000. Prices have yet to be finalised, but he believes the Leaf will cost about the same as the top-level Prius or Lexus CT200h. The Prius i-Tech is listed as $53,500 and the Lexus CT200h from $39,990-$55,990. However, EV prices are expected to radically drop in the next few years with the Holden Volt arriving next year at around $40,000. RACQ technical services manager Steve Spalding says elderly drivers are not overly shocked by the cost of electric cars. Electric cars may be initially expensive, but are much cheaper to run, with prices expected to decrease as more enter the market. They are very interested in the technology, he says. They like the style and the seating position. They have been overwhelmingly positive about them. Mitsubishi Motors Australia head of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher says EVs are perfectly suited to the senior driver. Mitsubishi is the first to introduce a massproduced electric car to Australia, but it is only available on lease at $1740 a month for three years. Thats $62,640 and the car then goes back to Mitsubishi. I know it is really expensive at the moment, but that price will reduce in coming years as the economies of scale ramp up, Fletcher says. The biggest benefit to owning an i-MiEV is the almost non-existent running costs and this will be important for seniors who are trying to live economically. Driving needs of aged AGED drivers and passengers have a diverse range of specific motoring needs. They include visibility, seat belt position and size, ease of access, visibility of instruments, ease of use of controls and adjustability of the steering wheel, according to a study conducted by the RACQ. The Queensland auto club study was prompted after observing attendees at their Gold 50 member morning teas. We experienced first hand the mobility issues they have, technical services manager Steve Spalding says. Its an eyeopener to see them lower themselves into a car. Weve seen the obvious things such as the back seat belts are not big enough for some people and this has been an issue for some time, Spalding says. Abilities of the driver and passengers also need to be considered, he says. Factors to consider when assessing the suitability of a vehicle for older drivers are weight, size, neck rotation, sight, arm movement, mobility and health issues such as heart condition. He says the greatest improvement in cars in the past decade to affect older people has been upgraded safety features. The worst feature for older drivers is the reduction in visibility caused by aerodynamic designs that require wider A and C pillars, high boot lid and sloping rear windows, he says. Spalding urged aged motorists to rigorously test drive the vehicle before they buy. He says they should think about how they will use the vehicle. They need to think about child restraints for when they take the grandchildren for a drive, or whether they can fit a wheelchair in the boot, he says. Manufacturers should be more proactive for aged buyers. Visit: www.racq.com.au

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