Oils go the distance
We bought a Skoda Octavia RS late last year and are very happy with this great car. My only concern so far is the long service intervals at 15,000km compared to our previous cars which were serviced at a much shorter intervals. So far we have run up about 7500km and it feels as if I should be getting the oil changed. What do you think of the “yearly” service? Are the oils and filters really good enough to go the longer distance? Bob, email The latest-generation oils are truly good for 15,000km or a year. If you are concerned you could get the oil changed more regularly but, provided you keep an eye on the level in the engine, there is no reason to worry.
CAMRY PRICE IS SHARP
I want to buy a basic model Toyota Camry Altise during the plate sale and there is now limited stock available. Are end of financial year sale prices similar or should I expect more for the same car then? It’s currently $26,459. Karin Marusicz, email The Camry is a very good, under-appreciated car. It’s locally made, great on resale and that price is very sharp.
XV IS YESTERDAY’S CAR
I’m looking for a comparison or any other reviews covering the Subaru XV. Ian Frith, email Our earlier comparisons are out of date with the arrival of new XV opponents including the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Renault Captur. The XV is now trailing those three, at least.
PICK A WINNER
My wife and I want a sedan for long trips and for carrying around grandkids. I am thinking of a 2013 model Mercedes Benz C-Class, 250 CDI or CGI, or maybe a similar age and size Lexus. We’d aim to keep the car for a long time if possible. John Tsoukas, email A second-hand C-Class is a great choice but, if you can, stretch to the latest C200. It’s a landmark car, gets The Tick from me and was an easy winner in our 2014 Car of the Year.
We recently bought a 2015 Q3 Audi (pictured right) with the belief that it could tow up to 2000kg as in Audi’s brochures. The salesman said this was correct as we want to tow a 1500kg pop-top. We ordered a tow bar, which they could not supply, so we inquired of Hayman-Reece, which could supply. But the Q3 has a towball load of only 80kg (suitable for a 6x4 trailer). We have asked the dealer and tried to find a contact at Audi but have had no luck. Could you please help? No one else can. Gary Pitcher, email Audi spokesman Shaun Cleary says the ball weight for the Q3 is much lower than either the Q5 or Q7 as it’s not designed in Europe for towing. Sorry.
CAPTIVATED? DON’T BE
My wife wants an SUV and has her eye on a Holden Captiva but I’m concerned because I’ve read mixed reviews. She was set on a Jeep Wrangler but after a test drive went right off them. I’ve suggested Hyundai but she can’t get past the badge/look of the cars. She likes the Captiva’s size and the seven seats are a winner what with ageing parents and being able to drive together. Shannon McCormick, email I wouldn’t recommend a Captiva. The quality is not great, neither is the driving or fuel economy, and the Holden warranty does not come close to Korean-badged cars. If she’s against a “cheap Korean car” point out that the Captiva is actually a Daewoo, from Korea.
CARNIVAL IS BETTER
I’ve a tight budget and I want a people-mover. What do you think about the Ssangyong Stavic? It fits the budget and seems to be roomy enough for my family of five (two littlies will be in car seats for a while and I have an 11-year old). Steve, email I would not recommend a Ssangyong of any type, without worrying about the ugliness of the Stavic. You’ll be far better served by a second-hand Kia Carnival.
DRIVE LIKE A PILOT
An automotive journalist’s road test report these days includes a description of the driver and vehicle aids which have proliferated in recent times. But some require significant driver inputs followed by the monitoring of the resulting outputs when these options are utilised. Maybe today’s drivers need a timely reminder of the cardinal rule for airline pilots: don’t be consumed with instrument readings to the point of causing detriment to the flying of the aircraft. Eric Waples, email Thanks for the reminder. It’s not just the gizmos, either, as far too many people drive around with both eyes on the speedometer instead of the road to avoid a speed camera fine.
BIAS AGAINST HOLDEN
I’m not sure what Holden did to you but I’ve had a strong belief for years now that you have a strong bias against Holden, seeming to place them down around the cheapest of the Chinese brands in your hierarchy except for the VF, which you grudgingly admit is a good car, but ignore whenever you can. Every week in Carsguide there’s more evidence supporting my belief and I’m certainly not alone. Everyone I know who reads it has mentioned that you guys obviously hate Holden — much more than some mediocre models such as the Captiva 5 and 7 would seem to justify. Last week’s Carsguide is no exception. In the Santa Fe article “its only seven-seater price rivals are the Ford Territory, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento”. Not Captiva 7? Wayne, email We call them as we see them, and we currently see a Holden range — apart from the brilliant Commodore and classy Colorado — which is nothing remotely special. The Captiva 7 is not a rival because I wouldn’t remotely recommend it.
TOP FUEL ECONOMY
On a recent trip to Surfers Paradise from Sydney, with two passengers and luggage, even with the road works, I was surprised that my fuel economy was 9.2L/100km. I drive a 2009 VE SSV 6.0litre manual Commodore and I wonder if this figure is consistent with other drivers? I was glad to see that it didn’t use much more than a tank. Darren, email The six-speed Commodore V8 has very tall gearing, which helps the economy on a trip. That’s a good number for your car, but I’ve done the same run is smaller-capacity cars and returned 6.2 litres/100km.
No reason to worry:
Skoda Octavia RS