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.
SEARCH FOR MEANING
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.
NEWS AND INFO
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.
ASCENT OF EVEREST
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.
COLLECT HIS THOUGHTS
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.
MATES IN THE STATES
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.