State your preference
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.
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.
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.