If it’s not broken...
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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