Lit­tle by lit­tle small cars big­ger grow

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

Sta­tis­tics for last year’s new­car sales im­ply small cars are get­ting big­ger. But what size is small? All the pop­u­lar so-called small cars have grown re­cently, so the Corolla, Mazda3 and Lancer are nearly as big as so­called large cars a few years back. I reckon man­u­fac­tur­ers are hav­ing a lend of us with their mil­lime­tre dif­fer­ences in con­sec­u­tive mod­els. There should be a set size range for mi­cro, small, medium, large and for so-called peo­ple-movers that carry only four or five peo­ple, which I’d call a hatch or wagon. De­spite the os­ten­si­ble con­cern for fuel con­ser­va­tion, all mod­els seem to get big­ger year by year.

Normhodges, email Car sizes are clas­si­fied by the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries but it’s true that small cars have be­come a lot big­ger re­cently. A Holden Cruze matches the orig­i­nal 48-215 for cabin space and a cur­rent Toy­ota Corolla is as big in­side as a Camry from the 1980s. That’s just life, like bracket creep in tax­a­tion, and peo­ple are now phys­i­cally larger than they were just a cou­ple of gen­er­a­tions ago. SPACEANDTIME We are look­ing to buy a medium-sized diesel SUV be­cause our Holden As­tra CD hatch is no longer big enough to fit the grand­kids. We have nar­rowed the list to the Kia Sportage and Re­nault Koleos but won­der whether we should wait and also check the Mazda CX-5 when it comes out in a cou­ple of months.

Shirley Wiffrie, email You should def­i­nitely wait for the CX-5, which prom­ises to be at the top of the class. Oth­er­wise we’d pick the Kia— re­mem­ber that it comes with a five-year war­ranty. SER­VICE WITHAP While col­lect­ing my Honda Civic af­ter a reg­u­lar ser­vice at my lo­cal dealer I found red P plates on it. So who­ever con­ducted the road test was a red P plate driver who for­got to re­move them. This sug­gests that an in­ex­pe­ri­enced driver, pos­si­bly a first-year ap­pren­tice, has been given the task of de­ter­min­ing my ve­hi­cle’s road­wor­thi­ness.

Jim­doak

If it was just a reg­u­lar ser­vice with no spe­cial work then there was prob­a­bly no need for a mas­ter tech­ni­cian. If the car is still work­ing fine then there’s no need to worry. Ac­tu­ally, it’s good to see that the car was driven to check for any po­ten­tial dra­mas and not just parked for col­lec­tion. ONE FOR THE SON We want to buy a car for our 21-year-old son. Nat­u­rally safety is most im­por­tant and, since he will be tak­ing care of the car, af­ford­able ser­vic­ing is also im­por­tant. Which small cars should we con­sider? We’ve looked at the Ford Fi­esta and the choices are con­fus­ing. Nik and Fanny Petrou­lias,

email The best car in the baby class is thevw­polo, our 2010 Car of the Year, but it’s also at the top end for price. The Fi­esta is good and also a fun drive. TER­RI­TORY’S THE GO I have a Toy­ota Kluger and need to change it at the end of At what age of a car would you rec­om­mend chang­ing over? I’ve a 2009 Holden Com­modore 60th an­niver­sary with five new tyres and 12 months’ rego. A dealer told me the changeover price for my car would be $19,000. But it has done only 48,000km and I think this changeover price is ridicu­lous.

Jeff, email In­stead of look­ing at years, con­sider the dis­tance cov­ered. Most cars start to cost more from about 100,000km but that’s still far less than the ser­vice life of a ve­hi­cle. Af­ter two years, you’re still in the heav­i­est re­gion for depreciation so the num­bers will not add up.

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