If it’s not bro­ken...

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Roadside Assist - PAULP GOVER GETS ANSWERSA FOR YOU

Your ad­vice please as we have a Fal­con and have towed a car­a­van, about 1900kg fully loaded, with it for sev­eral years. It will soon be time to re­place the tow ve­hi­cle but not the van. We like the con­ve­nience of a fam­ily sedan for most of the year and then the tow­ing ca­pac­ity for per­haps three months a year, but we don’t want an SUV or four-wheel drive. We are keen to buy some­thing like the Fal­con but can­not seem to find a suit­able re­place­ment. Rex Buck­eridge, email If you like the Fal­con, why not get another one? It’s not dead yet and a new one will serve you well for some years. Oth­er­wise, look at the Chrysler 300C.

SAFETY FIRST

I thought I’d get a Mazda2 Neo with smart city brake sup­port but two Mazda sales­men have said it’s not worth the money as it re­ally doesn’t work so now I’m look­ing at a Hyundai i20. How do you feel about the smart city brake sup­port? M. Toovey, email If safety is im­por­tant you should or­der it and be pre­pared to wait be­cause it is worth­while. Don’t let the dealer try to get you to buy some­thing in stock in­stead.

MON­DEO’S LOST MOJO

I am look­ing to re­place my 2007 Ford Ter­ri­tory with the new Mon­deo. It looks great from the spec­i­fi­ca­tions. But I read a Cars­guide re­port which in­cluded some strange com­ments which have raised doubts. What’s your opin­ion, or do you have a pref­er­ence in the mid-sized cars? Tony Bridges, email I think the new Mon­deo has lost its mojo. It’s nice enough, but not as good as I ex­pected. Per­son­ally, I rate it be­hind the Mazda6 which gets The Tick.

TICKED OFF

OK, OK, enough of The Tick. It’s a te­dious, ir­rel­e­vant gim­mick that gets ap­plied ran­domly to re­views. Of­ten with no con­text. Makes no sense. It grates ev­ery time and pa­tro­n­ises the reader look­ing for se­ri­ous, grownup cri­tique us­ing, you know, words. A ver­dict sum­mary, which you still also use to good ef­fect, serves the pur­pose much bet­ter than that non­sen­si­cal, in­fan­tile “The Tick”. C’mon, re­ally ... Brian Driscoll, email The think­ing be­hind The Tick is to avoid te­dious non­ver­dicts with ir­rel­e­vant scores. The bot­tom line is sim­ple: if you’d rec­om­mend a car to your best mate it gets The Tick. Sorry if The Tick makes you cross.

SWIFT FOR VALUE

My brother wants a re­li­able, safe, energy and cost­ef­fi­cient small­ish car for up to $10,000. I am think­ing about a Suzuki Swift, Mazda3, VW Golf or a Subaru. Is it bet­ter to buy it pri­vately or via a car yard? Peter O’Keefe, email I would not buy a Golf in the sec­ond-hand $10,000 range. The Mazda3 is the best car but he’ll prob­a­bly get bet­ter value in a Swift, as it’s a size smaller. Buy­ing pri­vate will mean bet­ter value, but en­sure he gets an in­de­pen­dent me­chan­i­cal check.

YOU’D BE SUR­PRISED

We want a seven-seat diesel SUV, 4-5 years old, for up to $25,000. We are keen on a Volvo XC90 — I like the lux­ury feel and fea­tures — but are wor­ried about main­te­nance and ser­vic­ing costs. We’re also look­ing at the Ford Ter­ri­tory, which is prob­a­bly cheaper to own but doesn’t have as nice an in­te­rior. We also liked the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Sante Fe, which have good econ­omy and looks, but we’re wor­ried about qual­ity. Lee Steen­holdt, Gipp­s­land Vic­to­ria The XC90 is a very old de­sign and one at that price might be a bit doubt­ful. Your best choice would be a Kia or Hyundai, which are far bet­ter than you might think and may even have some fac­tory war­ranty at your bud­get.

GRAB THE FRUIT

I want to up­grade my old 80-Se­ries LandCruiser for trav­el­ling around Aus­tralia, pulling a 22-foot car­a­van. I’m look­ing at a near-new GXL LandCruiser, ver­sus a four-year-old Sa­hara LandCruiser. Which way would you sug­gest we go for re­sale and com­fort for a lot of driv­ing? Sa­hara has all the bells and whis­tles and looks more com­fort­able. Sue Cun­ning­ham, email A four-year-old Sa­hara will barely be run in. If you like all the fruit then have it.

LE­MON AID

I am an an­gry, frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed owner of a 2012 Ford Fo­cus. Bought new in Jan­uary 2013, a mere four weeks later it was in for re­pair af­ter it started to shud­der se­verely on take­off. Now, 18 months and five at­tempts to re­pair later, the car is run­ning worse than ever. Dis­ap­point­ingly, Ford Aus­tralia is not pre­pared to dis­cuss other op­tions un­til the car has been re­paired for a sixth time. I’ve no con­fi­dence it can be re­paired and I’m deeply con­cerned about be­ing left with this le­mon of a ve­hi­cle. Ford has ad­mit­ted a prob­lem with the model rel­a­tive to the is­sues I have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and has of­fered an ex­tended war­ranty. Two Ford deal­ers said there has been a fault iden­ti­fied on a num­ber of ve­hi­cles. Any in­for­ma­tion you can pro­vide is greatly ap­pre­ci­ated. Kim Sch­nei­der, email Stephen Kruk of Ford replies: “We’ve re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced some cus­tomer con­cerns re­gard­ing Fo­cus and Fi­esta trans­mis­sions. We have been work­ing with those cus­tomers to ad­dress each of their is­sues on a case-by-case ba­sis. Ford would en­cour­age cus­tomers who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any is­sues to speak to their lo­cal dealer so we can re­solve the is­sue.”

PRICE PUZ­ZLE

I am in love with the new Mazda CX-3 and I know you guys have spo­ken favourably of it in re­cent ar­ti­cles, how­ever, it does seem very ex­pen­sive when com­pared with sim­i­lar cars in its class. My ques­tion is, should I wait? Will the price come down soon? My other cars that I was con­sid­er­ing were the Suzuki S-Cross and Ford EcoS­port and Holden Trax. Melinda Nor­mal, email The start­ing price of the CX-3 is cheaper than its ri­vals at $19,990, so it should not be as ex­pen­sive as you think. Of your other three, the S-Cross is bor­ing but the only one I would re­motely rec­om­mend.

FLUID SIT­U­A­TION

In April my Re­nault Clio was towed away be­cause the brake fluid was so low that a brake sys­tem fault ap­peared on my dis­play — the sec­ond time this fault has ap­peared. The fix was to use the same master cylin­der cap, tighten it to a cer­tain ten­sion and then re­spray the en­gine bay where the brake fluid had taken the paint off. Af­ter 16 days I picked the car up, lifted the bon­net, and it was still leak­ing. In May a new reser­voir from France was fit­ted and it’s still leak­ing. Glen Gib­son, email Emily Fa­dayev of Re­nault Aus­tralia replies: “We have car­ried out ex­ten­sive test­ing since the re­pair work was com­pleted and have been un­able to re­pro­duce his con­cerns. This is the first case we’ve en­coun­tered so we’ve con­tacted head of­fice. Our cus­tomer ser­vice team are re­main­ing in con­stant con­tact with Glen as it is our de­sire to re­solve this for him as soon as pos­si­ble.”

EX­PERT OPIN­ION VI­TAL

I bought at auc­tion a Camry CSI 2000 which I think is a le­mon. I’ve taken it to my me­chanic for a road wor­thy and he com­pleted all the work. My wife drove it home and she said the en­gine light came on so I im­me­di­ately called the me­chanic. I drove it around the street but it started to make a truck-like noise so I stopped the car. I then tried to turn it over and noth­ing. I have out­laid $3600 on this car and my me­chanic has told me that the mo­tor has seized. Is there any way that I can get any or all my money back? Bill Hram­ba­nis, email Buy­ing at auc­tion means you take on the risk with a pur­chase. That’s why it’s al­ways best to go auc­tion shop­ping with an ex­pert on the me­chan­i­cal front.

Start­ing price: New Maxda CX-3 from $19,990 is cheaper than ri­vals

Keep iitt iin tthe ffaami­illy:: Faall­c­con iiss sst­ti­il­lll good

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