Little by little small cars bigger grow
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.
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.