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.
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.
BEAT THE BUSH
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.
RUBBER, JUST DUCKY
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.
OFF THE CHARTS
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?
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
Juke and jive: Service intervals are 12 months/10,000km