State your pref­er­ence

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cars -

Why do new cars have so many safety fea­tures but do not in­clude as a stan­dard the use of pref­er­en­tial lock­ing? I like to know that when I ap­proach my car, and a group of un­de­sir­ables is hang­ing around, I can un­lock only the driver’s door and drive away with­out wor­ry­ing about some­one else en­ter­ing my car. I bought a Mazda323 in 1999 and men­tioned my wish for pref­er­en­tial lock­ing and in 2009 I bought a Mazda3 and again stated my wish for pref­er­en­tial lock­ing. I’m think­ing of buy­ing a MercedesBenz A180 (pic­tured), an Audi or BMW — the small hatch­backs, un­der $40,000 — but can find noth­ing about pref­er­en­tial lock­ing. Jenny, email Good news and bad news for you. On the Mazda front, the com­pany says only its CX-9 has pref­er­en­tial lock­ing. But Audi, Benz and BMW all tell me you can pro­gram pref­er­en­tial lock­ing into their re­mote cen­tral lock­ing sys­tems.

KEEP IT IN THE FAM­ILY

I have just been dis­charged from hospi­tal af­ter a car T‒boned my 2009 Kia Car­ni­val, which spun and rolled. I am as­sum­ing it will be writ­ten off and I’ll have to find an­other car and prob­a­bly will not get a great deal for the Kia at mar­ket value. Some­thing smaller than the Car­ni­val will be OK be­cause as my four kids get older I don’t need to drive half the soc­cer team around any more. I like the idea of sit­ting up higher in a car and need some space but money will be an is­sue. Lisa Sar­ris, email If you’re happy with Kia, go for a Sportage. You should be able to get one with some time re­main­ing on the ex­cel­lent five-year war­ranty.

TELL ‘IM E’S DREAMIN’

The new Golf GTI has a 5.8‒inch in­fo­tain­ment screen but in Europe they get 8‒inch ver­sions. I owned a 2006 Mark V GTI for seven years and I’ll want a Per­for­mance Pack model in the mid­dle of this year, so can you lobby VW to in­clude the larger screen? The Per­for­mance Pack ver­sion at an ex­tra $4000 is still great value but a 5.8-inch screen is sur­passed by many budget cars. Tony Jovevski, email VW spokesman Karl Gehling says: “Thanks for your feed­back on our spec­i­fi­ca­tion of our cars. We are con­tin­u­ally re­view­ing the spec­i­fi­ca­tion level of our ve­hi­cles and take all feed­back from our cus­tomers into con­sid­er­a­tion”. So we’ll take that as a no.

RED’S A GOER

I am think­ing of buy­ing a new red Mazda3, but I’ve been told that red duco is not lon­glast­ing or has some other prob­lem with it. Lind­say Stacey, email There will be no prob­lem with red paint as it’s all much the same these days with clear pro­tec­tive coat­ing over the base colour. Just keep it clean and give it an oc­ca­sional pol­ish.

NO POINT WAIT­ING

Are there any model up­dates com­ing on the Toy­ota 86 in the near fu­ture? Jenni, email There is no facelift on the books for the 86, al­though it might get very mi­nor tweak­ing — some­thing like the wheel de­sign. So if you’re look­ing to buy, there is no rea­son to wait.

I’D GO WITH THE VOLVO

I am tak­ing the plunge from a Mazda3 to an SUV, ideally not such a large one but let’s see. I have ruled out the Audi Q3 and am now look­ing at the BMW X1, Volvo XC60 (pic­tured above) or a Jeep — which would be the best choice? I travel about 10,000km a year, if that, which makes me think a petrol en­gine is also bet­ter than a diesel. Josh Sharp, email The X1 has zero boot space, which rules it out for me. The XC60 is very good and the Grand Chero­kee is a Jeep I can rec­om­mend, but it might be too big. As for fuel, you’re right to stick with petrol.

TICK TICK TICK

My wife bought a Hyundai i30 a few years ago fol­low­ing your rec­om­men­da­tion and she is very happy with the car. I am cur­rently look­ing to re­place my Mit­subishi 380 VRX and am con­sid­er­ing the new VW Golf wagon 90TSI Com­fort­line. Can you rec­om­mend this model and should I look out for any­thing in par­tic­u­lar?

Peter Noser, email

The Golf is a top choice; it def­i­nitely gets The Tick.

CAN YOU WAIT?

I have been look­ing at the Toy­ota Kluger and Mazda CX-9 and then read your story on the new Kluger. So I would like your thoughts on the CX-9 as I need to tow a trailer for lawn mow­ing on an oc­ca­sional ba­sis but would like this to be the main fam­ily car. I also have a Toy­ota Prado GX 2.7-litre petrol but I find this mo­tor a bit small so that’s why I am look­ing at the two oth­ers.

Dar­ren Green, email

The Prado is a dis­ap­point­ment but you should know there is an all-new CX-9 com­ing early in 2015. The only com­plaint we have about the cur­rent model, be­yond the age of the de­sign, is heavy fuel use.

ARE YOU SURE?

I am con­sid­er­ing buy­ing an Audi Q5 and would ap­pre­ci­ate your thoughts on this car. Should I get a diesel or petrol car as I don’t drive a lot, prob­a­bly be­tween 800 and 1000km a month.

John Curtin

The Q5 looks good and drives well but I pre­fer the Volvo XC60, so would rec­om­mend a test drive. Diesel is only go­ing to cost you money in the ex­tra price of the en­gine and fuel.

TICK TACK TOO

I am think­ing of get­ting a Mercedes C180 Coupe Edi­tion C. The price of $59,800 drive-away seems a lot of car for lit­tle money.

Christo­pher OBrien, email

Couldn’t put it any bet­ter. It gets The Tick.

SAVE WITH A DEMO

We have de­cided to buy an au­to­matic Pa­trol Y61 and we have the choice of a new car or, with a con­sid­er­able dis­count, a demon­stra­tor with 950km. The sav­ing makes the demo seem the bet­ter deal — do you have any­thing against buy­ing a demo?

Mau­reen Black­man, email

A demon­stra­tor is a great way to save money but en­sure it’s iden­ti­cal to the new model, in­clud­ing the year it was built.

SPOILT FOR CHOICE

I will be turn­ing 50 next year and would like to spoil my­self with a nice Euro­pean car. I own a 2006 Mazda6 Clas­sic sedan which I have had since new. It has been a great car but I am not a fan of the cur­rent Mazda6 as it is quite long and I re­ally dis­like the front grille. My Mazda6 is a nice Blue Pa­cific colour, and the Audi Scuba Blue is very sim­i­lar. I know that my changeover will be about $40,000 or a lit­tle more, but would greatly like to hear what you have to say about the Audi A3 sedan.

Ben, email

The A3 is a good car but re­mem­ber it’s re­ally a Volk­swa­gen Golf un­der the skin. You should also look at the new Mercedes-Benz com­pacts.

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