Charge of the Hy­brid


I am in­ter­ested in your thoughts on the eco­nomics of buy­ing hy­brid cars. I drive a 2006 Toy­ota Camry, I’m re­tired and do about only 12,500km a year. It has been a very good car for us but it is 10 years old and I’m look­ing at re­plac­ing it with a new Camry while they are still made in Aus­tralia. The main de­ci­sion is to choose be­tween the petrol and elec­tric ver­sions. The Hy­brid is much more ex­pen­sive but ob­vi­ously more eco­nom­i­cal on fuel. There is also the nig­gling is­sue for me con­cern­ing the cost of re­plac­ing the Hy­brid’s bat­tery in later years.

Ian Bow­den, email I’m a huge fan of the Camry Hy­brid, even though you can get a much bet­ter deal on the reg­u­lar petrol mod­els at the mo­ment. Ob­vi­ously greener, the Hy­brid also goes bet­ter and its only com­pro­mised is on boot space. It def­i­nitely gets The Tick as a car and, on the bat­tery front, I’ve not heard of any re­place­ments needed on a Camry.


I be­lieve your team at Cars­guide is con­fused about mo­tor ve­hi­cles. Of the 10 fi­nal­ists in the 2016 Car of the Year field, only four are cars. The rest are ex­am­ples of farm ma­chin­ery, light com­mer­cials or util­i­ties. There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween a car, a four-wheel drive and an SUV. Maybe next year you could in­clude mo­tor­cy­cles, air­craft, gokarts, trac­tors, self-pro­pelled lawn­mow­ers or golf carts. Phil Brad­shaw, email This year’s field in­cluded six cars — two hatches, three sedans and a con­vert­ible. The other four were soft-road­ers, es­sen­tially high-rid­ing ver­sions of the con­ven­tional sta­tion wagon based on sedan or hatch un­der­pin­nings.


So you awarded the Car of the Year to Volk­swa­gen again, de­spite the DSG and emis­sions cheat­ing prob­lems in the re­cent past. Since 2009, VW has won your award four times but I note that it is re­call­ing 61,000 cars to rec­tify the emis­sion cheat­ing soft­ware and faces class ac­tions from dis­grun­tled own­ers. In the 20 years of this award, three brands — VW, Holden and Ford — have won 11 in to­tal. Add Kia and Mercedes, with two each, and five brands have won 75 per cent of the gongs. What is more note­wor­thy are the brands that have never won. These in­clude BMW, Nis­san, Subaru and Mazda. It must up­set your judges that pri­vate own­ers pay lit­tle heed to the win­ner and buy great num­bers of Maz­das. They are sim­ply great cars, are well made and they never break down. Jono Pur­chas, email It’s the Car of the Year award, not the car com­pany of the year award, so we judge the con­tenders against their ri­vals each year. Mazda does make great cars — all of its mod­els get The Tick from me — but they have run up against bet­ter op­po­si­tion in COTY years.


When read­ers ask which SUV you rec­om­mend, why do you nearly al­ways tell them the Mazda CX-5? I have owned a Toy­ota RAV4, a Mazda CX-5 and now a Nis­san X-Trail ST-L, which in my opin­ion is su­pe­rior. It is a great drive, bet­ter built, has more cabin space and re­ally good econ­omy. Colin But­ler, email The X-Trail gets The Tick from me, although it’s not the class leader. For now, the VW Tiguan is top of the class but there is a new CX-5 com­ing next year.


You guys get a bit of stick for your re­views and ad­vice, even crazy ac­cu­sa­tions of bribery, so I want to send you a thumbs-up for the new-car deals story. It cited the Re­nault Clio Ex­pres­sion and the end-of-year deal clinched it for us. Our man­ual Ex­pres­sion is great — packed with safety and com­fort fea­tures, drives beau­ti­fully, fru­gal yet perky award­win­ning en­gine, long war­ranty and road­side as­sist.

Stephen Crump, email So we got that one right.


A big tick to Jefferson Hyundai in Men­tone Vic­to­ria, in par­tic­u­lar Sandy in ser­vice. The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem on my wife’s 2012 Veloster died and, even although it was 12 months out of war­ranty, Hyundai will in­stall a new one free, so full marks to them. John Na­gle, email


I drive a Hyundai i30, which I find pretty good. How­ever I have re­cently no­ticed the Nis­san Juke and — purely on looks — I like it. I’d re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate your thoughts on the ve­hi­cle over­all Christopher Achurch, email I’m also a fan of the Juke’s styling and in Europe there is a Nismo model with the run­ning gear from the GT-R that makes it ri­otously won­der­ful. But the ba­sic car in Aus­tralia does not drive re­motely well and falls well short of The Tick from me.


I was as­ton­ished when read­ing the Cars­guide re­views of the Ford Ever­est. On two oc­ca­sions, the re­viewer men­tioned the Toy­ota Prado as be­ing the ve­hi­cle it’s aimed at. Surely it would have been bet­ter to com­pare it to a diesel Ter­ri­tory? For the sake of cred­i­bil­ity, surely you’d com­pare ap­ples to ap­ples, and not ap­ples to or­anges. You can’t pick and choose por­tions of each to com­pare. Greg Lev­er­sha, email The Ever­est and Ter­ri­tory are the ap­ples and or­anges here. The Ter­ri­tory is not built for se­ri­ous off-road work; the Ever­est is. It’s a gen­uine ri­val for the Prado for size, price, tow­ing ca­pac­ity and off-road abil­ity.


I have a 2010 FPV FG Fal­con GT, with the 5.4-litre V8 and a build num­ber in the mid 800s. I want to update for a new car but I’m wor­ried about sell­ing my GT. If it shapes up as a col­lec­tor’s car then I think I should keep it. Frank Schi­a­fone, email There are a lot of those cars about and it’s un­likely to be­come a col­lec­tor’s car in the same way as the likes of a GTHO — the kids of today don’t crave a mus­cle car in the same way as the young­sters of the 1970s. If you love it you should keep it but if not then you’ll prob­a­bly have even more fun in a Mustang V8 — mean­while, you can drive the GT dur­ing the long wait for a ’Stang to ar­rive from the US.


I re­cently dam­aged the rearview cam­era on my 2014 Hyundai iX35 and was told it would cost $1800. My me­chanic friend phoned Hyundai spares depart­ment to get the part, prod­uct iden­ti­fi­ca­tion 95790-2S501, and was quoted $1320 in­clud­ing GST. Sim­i­lar items are be­ing sold on eBay for about $20 so I phoned overseas. I found the iden­ti­cal part in the US for $US247 in­clud­ing postage. That’s comes to $330, which was about a quar­ter of the price of Hyundai Aus­tralia and about 10 times what the cost should be. The only catch was that it had to be de­liv­ered to an ad­dress in the US, which I ar­ranged. The part has now been fit­ted and works per­fectly. Le­nard Lever, email It’s not just Hyundai parts. I’m hear­ing more and more about cheaper overseas sourc­ing, par­tic­u­larly from the US where the gi­ant mar­ket means ev­ery­thing is cheaper. Just look at the prices for clothes and toys. It’s prob­a­bly time for car mak­ers to look at a global parts pric­ing pol­icy.

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