Kia’s sevenyear pitch
I find it curious that you constantly award The Tick to cars, and manufacturers, that offer a piffling 3 year/ 100,000km warranty, especially in light of Kia offering a seven-year/ unlimited warranty. This is exactly the main reason we bought our Kia Sportage Si last week. It’s high time the motoring press, you included, demand manufacturers start to get competitive in this area, especially considering you’re only too happy to congratulate Toyota, Mazda, Subaru etc on their impeccable reliability. In that case, isn’t it time they stand behind their products to a similar tune? Scott Dawson, email Did you really buy the Sportage, a car that gets The Tick and is constantly recommended by Carsguide, just because of the warranty? I wouldn’t agree that three years is piffling — I can still remember the standard coverage being 12 months/ 20,000km. The reason Kia has a seven-year warranty is nothing to do with reliability, but as a marketing tool that gives shoppers permission — and bragging rights — to buy a challenger brand.
WEIGH IT UP
Re your article about the BMW M4 GTS at Bathurst. I am glad you liked the car but it is close to 300kg lighter than the standard M4, not 30kg. You list all those expensive bits like ceramic brakes, carbon-fibre bonnet etc to achieve just 30kg? A half-full tank of petrol will save you more than 30kg. Also, on-road cost of this car is $345,000 so none of the “25 happy enthusiasts” parted with “just” $295,000. Rafal Pietrzak, email We quote recommended retail prices because on-road costs vary so much depending on where you live. On the weight front, official BMW numbers have the kerb weight of the regular M4 at 1537kg and the M4 GTS at 1510kg.
Jim Butterworth’s dealer experience reminds me of my younger days when my car was a work-related expense and I could expect a phone call from my dealer at midday, telling me that they had found something that needed urgent attention in addition to the routine service. At that time of day I was almost certain to be very busy and would say yes to anything just to get him off my back. Lately I have noticed that “Disinfection of airconditioning unit and replace pollen filter” could be added to the extras to bulk up the fixed-price service. Edward Owen, email Yes, that’s another of the new money-making schemes at some dealerships.
ON HIS ROCKER
The new Opel-based Commodore is a greatlooking car. I have owned a 2006 Opel-based Holden Vectra ZC V6 since new and it is a very well built and reliable car. As the car is ageing, though, I’m finding a couple of things that indicate the car is a European car and not an Australian car. For example, recently I needed to replace the plastic rocker covers that had eventually warped due to Aussie heat. Further to the question of imported parts pricing for the new Commodore, I bought two replacement rocker covers online from Vauxhall in the UK and had them delivered to my door for much less than the price of one from my local Holden dealer. Gerry Bakker, email Holden is promising the nextgeneration Commodore will live up to the reputation set by its predecessors and we’re hoping they do the job right for Australia.
Re readers having trouble filling their tanks and the distance to empty readout. First, few car manufacturers quote the “water capacity” of the tank and inlet pipes — in my car the water capacity is 78.5L and the quoted tank capacity is 75L. Second, the distance-toempty calculations are done from the car’s memory, so if your last tank was city stop-start in hot weather with the aircon on and some idling, you will get an initially pessimistic reading. After 100km-odd in different conditions, the reading will change. Third, it is assumed the average driver can’t understand that running low or out of fuel can cause problems, so the car warns you to fill up when the tank is down to one-third to one-quarter of its capacity. Just to confuse you further, when the gauge drops to under one half, the needle appears to plummet. People should get to know the vehicle’s corrected speedo readings, actual fuel consumption compared to the readout, and how the distance to empty is calculated. Doug Mullett, email Thanks for a comprehensive rundown, which should help a lot of readers.
Kia Sportage: Warranty is a marketing tool