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Ask Smithy Xtra Aircon comparison

Asked by Cesare Tizi

Why does air-conditioning performance vary so much in today?s cars? We have four cars in our family, a 2009 Peugeot 308 2.0 HDI with very weak A/C, a 2005 VW Golf 5 with adequate A/C, a 2010 BMW 118d with weak A/C, and a 2005 BMW X5 with positively awesomely powerful A/C, and in the past I have had a 2002 Mercedes CLK with awesomely powerful A/C, a 2006 Mercedes CLK with weak A/C. I bought all these cars new and in every case where the A/C was weak, no manner of adjustments or re-gassing by the dealer fixed them. I can only assume that car manufacturers intentionally engineer weak A/C systems for some cars, but why? I have had lots of excuses from dealers, but no intelligent answers. In the future I will only buy a new car in summer and then test drive it on a hot day to make sure the A/C is adequate. In this day and age of car engineering excellence it should not be necessary.

Answered by CarsGuide

12 Oct 2010 Carsguide.com.au

Generally it was always felt that the air-conditioning of European cars wasn’t up to the task for Australia; that was because there wasn’t the demand for powerful A/C in Europe where the climate is generally milder. But when the European carmakers began to move on to the world market and export their cars to places like America where the demand for good A/C is very high they have improved the performance of the A/C systems in their cars. The cars you say have had good air are cars that are typically built for the US market, those you say don’t have good performance are not. A/C systems soak up quite a bit of engine power in driving the compressor and that has a greater impact on smaller engines than big ones, and again the cars you are critical of have smaller engines, so they will also probably run smaller compressors.

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