Per­mis­sion granted for Rapide exit


I’m look­ing to buy a small fam­ily car and con­sid­er­ing Holden Cruze 1.6SRi, Toy­ota Corolla and Hyundai 130 wagon. And I like the idea of the Skoda Rapide Space­back. My bud­get is $25,000, so do you have any sug­ges­tions? It needs to be have a de­cent boot to carry a tent and sports gear

Rich Sug­den, email

RE­PLY: It sounds like you want per­mis­sion to get the Skoda, so go right ahead.


Just some ad­vice and in­sight please on the Subaru Forester which we are con­sid­er­ing for me to drive. We have three chil­dren un­der 10 with one in a ba­sic booster seat and we live in a semiru­ral area where a few kilo­me­tres of our road is one-lane and you need to strad­dle the road edge if there is an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle. We’re not sure whether to spend the ex­tra and buy new or whether a model a year or two old is just as good.

Rose Zver, email

The Forester gets The Tick from me but only the latest model. It has im­proved qual­ity and re­fine­ment, which came af­ter Subaru — and a lot of Ja­panese brands — cut costs through the GFC.


I need a small au­to­matic wagon up to five years old and prefer­ably hav­ing cov­ered less than 100,000km. I need a wagon be­cause my fa­ther-in-law has a walker and I have pho­tog­ra­phy equip­ment to load into the ve­hi­cle. I’m con­sid­er­ing Hyundai i30, Ford Mon­deo and Mazda6 and have a bud­get of $20,000 max­i­mum. It would be for metro Mel­bourne driv­ing mainly so would you rec­om­mend petrol or diesel? I was ini­tially con­sid­er­ing an SUV, how­ever one of us is quite short and has chal­lenges in get­ting in and out of an SUV.

Luke Munro, email

The Mazda6 is the best choice but could stretch your dol­lars. The i30 wagon also gets The Tick, so choose the one that works best for your bud­get.


My 17-year-old grand­daugh­ter is learn­ing to drive but is hav­ing some dif­fi­culty with re­leas­ing the hand­brake. She has my­oto­nia which means that the mus­cles in her fin­gers spasm and don’t re­lease when she grips some­thing strongly. Can you sug­gest a small car that has ei­ther a foot hand­brake or an elec­tronic one such as in my Hyundai Santa Fe — some­thing that does not have to be gripped to be re­leased. She is hop­ing to get some­thing small and re­cent enough to have airbags.

Robyn, email

It’s not go­ing to be cheap be­cause elec­tronic hand­brakes and foot brakes are rare in the com­pact class. The Honda HR-V has an elec­tric brake and starts at $26,990 on the road, or you can get the big­ger Camry with a foot brake for $28,990 drive away.


Is the Honda CR-V VT-i 4WD a good wagon for an ac­tive re­tired cou­ple?

Robin Cook, email

I would not bother with all­wheel drive un­less you hit

bush tracks. The Mazda CX-5 is our first choice in that class, beat­ing the Honda fairly easily in most ar­eas.


We re­cently bought a new Hyundai i30 with paint pro­tec­tion coat­ing at a cost of $995. We are not sure if this has ac­tu­ally been ap­plied — how can we tell if it’s been done? We have had this ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore with a car­a­van, pay­ing for coat­ing and then find­ing out it was not done. The car doesn’t look any dif­fer­ent.

Stan Ferro, email

New paint is al­ways go­ing to look good, with or with­out pro­tec­tion, so the best idea is to get another ex­pert to have a look to see whether it’s been done. Most mod­ern paints do not need pro­tec­tion, just reg­u­lar wash­ing and an oc­ca­sional pol­ish, but coat­ing has be­come a sig­nif­i­cant profit item for lots of deal­ers.


I thought I should give an up­date on my Coop­ers AT3 tyres since you helped to get Terry Smith of Ex­clu­sive Tyre Dis­trib­u­tors to re­place my noisy ones. I have done 10,000km since De­cem­ber, when I had them fit­ted, and I could not be hap­pier with them. My wife and I have just re­turned from a 20-day trip to Queens­land and out­back NSW and it was a dream to ride on them.

Wil­liam Goetz, email

It’s great to hear that you’re happy now.


I’m another Cars­guide reader who is up­set about out­dated sat­nav map­ping and the cost of up­dates from car com­pa­nies. Why can’t they cut the price and get up­dates that cover the new roads I drive?

Matt Wal­ton, email

Car com­pa­nies are locked into fac­tory-fit­ted set­ups. Nav­man’s new MOVE60LM comes with free life­time maps. It’s another de­vice clut­ter­ing your car’s cabin but it’s good value at $139 with road and safety alerts free ev­ery quar­ter.


Hav­ing re­cently bought a new Nissan Juke (build date Fe­bru­ary 2015 so it’s the re­freshed up­date ver­sion), I took the car in for its check­over and then the fun be­gan. “See you in six months,” says the ser­vice guy. “Prob­a­bly be longer,” says I, a low-kilo­me­tre driver, and it could be closer to a year based on the ser­vice sched­ule. My pre-pur­chase re­search showed Nissan Aus­tralia had it at 10,000 kilo­me­tres or 12 months. “No,” says the ser­vice guy, “Jukes are six months.” We agreed to dis­agree and check our sources, then later he called to ad­vise it was def­i­nitely six-month ser­vic­ing. I’ve checked 20 deal­ers and it’s a 50-50 split for war­ranty ser­vices. If deal­ers are split on what is cor­rect, what hope do con­sumers have of know­ing what’s right?

Len, email

These days the quick­est and eas­i­est so­lu­tion is to go to the maker’s web­site. Nissan spokesman Peter Fadeyev says: “I can con­firm the 2015 Nissan Juke re­quires sched­uled ser­vic­ing ev­ery 12 months or 10,000km, which­ever oc­curs first.”


With reg­is­tra­tion la­bels no longer re­quired on wind­screens it is not easy to check when the rego is due. Miss that and you could be driv­ing as an un­reg­is­tered, unin­sured ve­hi­cle. One work-around is to gum a small typed note to the wind­screen in front of the driver: ‘CAR REGO DUE ON xx/xx/20xx’.

Dave Prossor, email

A good tip, although state gov­ern­ments will re­mind you so they can get their cash.

Skoda scores: Rapide Space­back will cope with fam­ily

wagon du­ties

Juke and jive: Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/10,000km

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