Riveting van yarn
Re the latest, one-off version of the Sandman panel van (pictured). The first Holden panel van went on sale in December 1956, two months after the FJ sedan. My dad, a travelling blacksmith and welder, had an FB panel van. He bought it second-hand to replace his Fargo truck and, by the time I barrel-rolled it and finally killed it (my five mates and I survived), it had over 300,000 miles on the dial. It’s biggest problem was rust which Dad would cut out, then replace with a piece of stainless steel pounded to fit and pop riveted. He wouldn’t bother with duco. He’d also, fortunately, strengthened the body and suspension to take the weight of his gear, including oxy bottles and so on. I reckon that’s why the six of us walked away but to say he was annoyed is the original understatement. Roger Branch, email I knew there would be lots of people with a panel van story.
SPORT’S A WINNER
I am buying a mid-size SUV and keen on the CX-5 Mazda based on reviews, particularly the Sport as it has the features I need in satnav and Bluetooth. The Jeep offers good deals and the features are perhaps better than Mazda’s but I am not sure. I have seen the Cherokee and Longitude. Which of the two brands would you suggest, based on better mechanical features, lower maintenance costs, lower fuel consumption, and reasonable interiors? The vehicle is mainly for work. Teresa Kho, email The CX-5 gets The Tick and is a clear winner.
NEW SUVs ON BLOCK
My father has a six-year-old Volkswagen Tiguan which he has had from new and which he loves driving, among other reasons for the passenger legroom, higher driving position and a small footprint for parking. It has developed an issue which turns out to be an unusual manufacturing problem, but which VW head office won’t officially acknowledge because of the age of the vehicle. So it needs to be replaced. What would you suggest he looks at please, with a similar footprint and passenger comfort? Or should he stick with the Tiguan despite feeling let down by Volkswagen. Gail Bastian, email That Tiguan is getting old and a customer complaint is not unusual for Volkswagen. If he wants the best car then, like Teresa, it’s the CX-5 but the Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage also get The Tick and are the value champions.
Do you rate a new Mazda2 against Polo and Jazz? Jan and Ian Frazer, email All three get The Tick, which is unusual for me. The Polo is slightly better as a car but the Mazda2 beats it on value thanks to reliability and dealer back-up. The Jazz, in third, isn’t disgraced.
My trusty Toyota Corolla from 2002 is up to 252,000km and I’m looking at replacing it, with a budget up to $24,000. You seem to recommend the Mazda3 above the new Corolla and there is also a Mazda2 Neo Sport as a runout special about $18,000. My priorities are reliability, ease of driving, safety and affordable parts and maintenance. The Toyota has always been low-cost, trouble-free driving. Sue Stubbs, email