Dear Doctor: Have you driven the new Volvo Cross Country? The appearance is sporty hot and I’m thinking of putting it on my list of vehicles to test.
Dear Eric: I agree, the new raised appearance on the body is hot-looking. I drove the 2017 Volvo S60 Cross Country with all-wheel drive. The 19-inch all-season tires fill the wheel wells nicely. Even the body design and style separates it from other Volvo vehicles. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged delivers 250 instant horsepower via a quick shifting six-speed automatic. Acceleration is instant from the moment you touch the gas pedal from idle to any throttle position. There is no tire scrubbing or steering wheel movement in tight parking lot maneuvers at slow speed, due in part to the center all-wheel drive transfer case. Unlike older Volvos, the suspension is more designed for today’s road and drivers; there’s very little body roll and no bump steer or body shake.
Dear Doctor: I purchased the new 2017 Subaru Legacy with the four-cylinder engine linked to a CVT transmission. When I shift from reverse to drive there is a very small delay before the drive gear actually engages. Is this normal?
Dear John: This is normal. CVT transmissions do have a short delay between gear changes, as well as shifting from park to forward. Dual clutch automatic transmissions take even longer to get used to as far a delay when starting from a stop forward or backwards.
Dear Doctor: I saw on television that Mobil One has a new synthetic motor oil that can go for one year before changing. Any comment on this? I know you say that all motor oil should be changed every six months.
Dear Bill: There’s no question engine oil and fuel management have improved over the years. There are also many highline car manufacturers that have oil change intervals of just once a year. Mobil One has a good reputation and this new line does advertise an annual oil change with the newly introduced oil. If your vehicle is under warranty, then check with the dealer before extending the oil change interval for one year — and make sure the oil meets all of the requirements of your vehicle.
Dear Doctor: Sometime ago you replied to a reader about a sloshing sound and water entering the passenger side footwell in his late model Mustang. I think you mentioned something about a heater box. I had the exact same symptoms but it turned out to be something much less complicated: The drain at the bottom of the outside of the firewall was clogged with leaves and pine needles and the area had filled with water, and it backed up through the cabin air filter. Apparently it’s not that uncommon, as I found this out through a fellow Mustang owner.
Dear John: Thanks for writing, I appreciate your comments. Sloshing from water in the heater box is more common than you think. All heater boxes have a small drain hole that often gets blocked from debris, as your vehicle did. A simple use of a shop blow gun in the drain hose usually unclogs the drain. There’s also another sloshing sound that can sometimes be heard while the engine is running; it’s from the coolant flowing through the heater core. In this case a small reducer in the coolant hose will take care of the noise.