Honda: throw me a phone
I recently bought a 2012 Honda Euro Luxury and am extremely happy with the quality of fitout and ride but there is one real peeve with my $40,000 car. With the amount of hi-tech buttons and gadgets, Honda fitted a Fred Flintstone Bluetooth phone system. It only stores 10 numbers and is fully manual with no voice activation. Cheaper little city cars at about $15,000 have more advanced systems. I would love to hear if you can get any sense out of Honda.
Phill Dare, email Honda says it’s doing its best, even if it’s not nearly good enough for you. This model is six years old. GET FULL How accurate do you think the computer display for fuel consumption is on new cars these days? On a mixed trip in the country and driving in traffic, my Mazda BT-50 shows an average of 8.2L/100km, which is pretty good.
Dougie, email The accuracy of computer read-outs varies wildly between brands but a 10 per cent error is common. Calibrate yours with a full-tank to full-tank run, which will also give you the real economy figure. HEAVY THIRST I recently bought a 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander. I am getting 12.0L/100km — is this excessive? I expected better from the four-cylinder 2.4.
Mick Rinke, email That’s about right for something as big and heavy as the Outlander. To get a handle on the best-case scenario, take a country run on the highway. GLASS’SWINDOW My mother bought a Mazda3 SP23 in 2005 and since then it has literally only been driven to shopping and church. She ultimately needs to get the best money possible for her own ongoing care. The problem is that when looking online or in Glass’s Guide, they give prices based on the car travelling routine kilometres but the car only has 14,000km on it. We were wondering whether the distance travelled will be a significant advantage when selling.
Philip Hills, email A new app available from iTunes gives prices and details for more than 70,000 cars. It allows adjustment for the kilometres travelled and vehicle condition and costs 99c for each valuation. INNER LIGHT When the time came to replace my 2004 Kia Rio, I looked for a shopping cart that could also cope with reasonable inter-city runs. The front-runners were the Hyundai i30 and the Kia Cerato hatches, and I had almost closed a deal when I realised that the interiors of both these vehicles were an unrelieved coal black. The Kia dealer told me that it was possible to specify a lighter interior colouring — but only in Korea. The Hyundai dealer could not be even that helpful. This meant that I bought neither of these vehicles when I would have otherwise been a certain buyer.
David Keyes, email Without defending the Koreans, light interior colours are not popular in Australia with any brand. i30 HAS IT I would like your opinion on a couple of new vehicles in the $20,000-$25,000 bracket. I mainly drive in the local suburbs with occasional 45-minute trips, with an automatic and mainly in daylight. I have seen and heard good reports on the Hyundai i30 Trophy, I also like the Suzuki SX4, and you have mentioned the new Toyota Corolla which is probably dearer. If I get a good deal on the Hyundai I would like to put a good set of alloys and tinted windows on it.
Phil Bortnoski, email Don’t dismiss the Corolla, because the pricing is sharp, but the new i30 is a good thing. The SX4 is off the pace against those rivals. COSTLY COLT How ironic it was to be sitting in a Sydney Mitsubishi dealer waiting to have my 2009 Colt serviced and reading your column. Someone had written in complaining about the high cost of the service and I was there for 21/ hours and it cost me $600, and my car is still under warranty. Every time I questioned the price I could feel the service staff’s passiveaggressive attitude. Can someone justify that price?
Deborah, email You should never preapprove any work. Don’t pay for fuel system checks or cleans. And get the dealership to explain every item on a detailed invoice. PLAGUEONCVT I would appreciate it if you could tell me the difference between an automatic gearbox and a CVT. Is one better than the other? Does one require more servicing than the other? Will one last longer than the other? Does the CVT require a different driving style to a standard automatic?
Simon Mullard, email Without getting too technical, conventional autos mimic a manual gearbox while a CVT has adjustable pulleys that constantly vary the gearing to suit load and conditions. So a CVT should always have the ideal setting and they are great for fuel economy. They are going to spread like the flu in coming years but are as popular with drivers as brussels sprouts. 86 THE DEALER We ordered a Toyota 86 GT manual in June with a fivemonth wait and delivery on November 1. I’ve now been told the car will be manufactured in January with delivery in March. We are sick of being misled and would love to hear your advice.
Ross Barden, email There are more than 1500 extra 86s on the way from Japan so your wait should come down. If you can’t get straight answers, try another dealer.
Bad call: The Honda Euro’s phone system has one buyer set to hang up