Thrift, bells’n’whis­tles

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Roadside Assist -

I’m look­ing for a car that’s eco­nom­i­cal, just for me — a 60-year-old woman — but able to go on week­ends away and long dis­tances. I want good back sup­port and some­thing I can sit up in. I have looked at Honda HR-V and Kia Sportage, but would pre­fer a hatch­back with all bells and whis­tles and not a four-wheel drive. I would hope to have it for 10 years. Mar­ion Byrne, email I’d sug­gest you wait, just a lit­tle, and in­ves­ti­gate the new breed of com­pact SUVs. Right now you can choose from the Subaru XV and Re­nault Cap­tur, which I give The Tick, but soon enough there will also be a Mazda CX-3 that looks like the pick of the lit­ter.

AWD FOR OFF-ROAD

We are look­ing at buy­ing a Kia Sportage and was won­der­ing if is it worth the ex­tra money for the SLi over the Si pre­mium to get the ex­tra fea­tures, par­tic­u­larly the re­vers­ing cam­era as a re­view on Carsguide said the small rear win­dows makes it dif­fi­cult to see out? Also does the all-wheel drive on the SLi make the car han­dle bet­ter on-road? Deb­bie, email Def­i­nitely pay ex­tra for the cam­era, but if you’re not go­ing camp­ing or off-road then there is no point to all­wheel drive.

CAR­NI­VAL TIME

We cur­rently have a Peu­geot 308 2012 sev­enseat wagon, which is great. The prob­lem is we have four grow­ing chil­dren and are look­ing at pos­si­bly the Toy­ota Tarago peo­ple-mover. What do you sug­gest would be the best ve­hi­cle for space, prac­ti­cal­ity and, ob­vi­ously, re­li­a­bil­ity? Dar­ren Traynor, email The Tarago is good but old and ex­pen­sive. There’s a new Kia Car­ni­val and even the old model got The Tick from me, es­pe­cially for value.

NICE BUT PRICEY

I am con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a Mercedes-Benz C250. What do you think? Wayne Slat­tery, email It’s a great car and gets The Tick. But why spend ex­tra on the C250 when the C200 is per­fectly fine, and cheaper?

MAN­U­ALS OFF MENU

What is with the re­luc­tance of man­u­fac­tur­ers to sell man­ual cars? At the mo­ment I have a 2008 Ford Fo­cus diesel and am look­ing to re­place it with some­thing a lit­tle big­ger, still in a diesel. I would like a Ford Mon­deo but here in Australia it only comes with au­to­matic. So it would seem I only have two choices, Nis­san X-Trail and Honda CR-V. Which of th­ese would you pre­fer? Neville Lynch, email More than 80 per cent of cars sold in Australia are now au­to­mat­ics and that share is still ris­ing, fast. When com­pa­nies are look­ing to cut cost and com­pli­ca­tions from their line-ups, it’s easy to drop a man­ual that few peo­ple want. Be­tween X-Trail and CR-V I give The Tick to the Honda.

GOLF IS GREAT, BUT ...

I have a 2014 VW Golf Com­fort­line six-speed man­ual with driver as­sist and nav­i­ga­tion pack­age. The sat­nav has no red light warn­ings and the ac­cent is dread­ful. It re­minds me of the old por­ta­ble GPS of years ago. On the plus side it’s so easy to use com­pared with my pre­vi­ous car, a 2012 Re­nault Lat­i­tude. I be­lieve the mir­rors fold but I can’t ac­ti­vate this func­tion. Also, I thought there were tyre pres­sure mon­i­tors — but where? Oth­er­wise a great car. Beau­ti­fully made with a feel­ing of qual­ity and, af­ter years of au­to­matic driv­ing, the man­ual is won­der­ful.

Mazda CX-3: Pick of the com­ing SUV lit­ter

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