When the boat comes in ...

Herald Sun - Motoring - - ROADSIDE ASSIST -

I found an email from Ford in my web­mail spam box the other day with ex­cit­ing and in­ter­est­ing news. It says: “Pro­duc­tion of your ve­hi­cle has been com­pleted at the as­sem­bly line in Fla­trock, Detroit, and in the com­ing days your Mus­tang with a 5.0L V8 En­gine will make its way to the port to be shipped.” Now all I have to do is wait it out for my ship to come in.

Leo Al­li­son, email It will def­i­nitely be worth the wait, as it’s a top car and a fun drive, but there are plenty of hor­ror sto­ries on de­liv­er­ies and the wait­ing list for the Mus­tang is now into 2017 as Ford Aus­tralia works to get ex­tra sup­plies.

PONY PROF­ITS

I’m one of the many peo­ple pa­tiently wait­ing for a Ford Mus­tang. De­liv­ery dates slip, in­for­ma­tion about de­liv­ery is hope­less and pas­sion­ate buy­ers are deal­ing di­rectly with Ford Cus­tomer Ser­vice in the US to get in­for­ma­tion about their build and ship­ment. And they do get it — ku­dos to Ford US. We have been told there would be re­stric­tions on pur­chases by Ford Aus­tralia em­ploy­ees and deal­ers yet there are demon­stra­tor cars for sale on­line. It’s so dis­heart­en­ing to those who put their money up­front when the Mus­tang was an­nounced for Aus­tralia. I’m not one of them but I re­ally do feel for them when they see this.

Stephen Frost, email Ford Aus­tralia says the high­est-priced Mus­tang on­line is a car that was orig­i­nally auc­tioned for char­ity and com­pany pres­i­dent Graeme Whick­man says he has no con­trol over peo­ple who are scalp­ing the car. “As a man­u­fac­turer, we don’t con­trol pric­ing. We’re in a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment. There is lim­ited sup­ply and peo­ple ea­ger to own a ve­hi­cle. And some peo­ple ea­ger to sell and make a profit,” he says.

TIME TO RE­NEW

Af­ter lots of re­search I bought a new Subaru Forester to serve me in my job as a sales rep and it has now done 306,000km trou­ble-free ex­cept for a slow oil leak in the head gas­ket, first de­tected at 220,000km and which I was ad­vised could be mon­i­tored be­fore any­thing was done about it. I am now told the gas­ket needs to be re­placed but see­ing my car has an alu­minium block there is a 50:50 chance that re­mov­ing the bolts will strip the thread. If all goes well it will cost me $2000, but if I need a new en­gine it will cost at least $6500, which is quite silly to spend on a car with so many kilo­me­tres. The prob­lem is I will be 68 this year and will re­tire within the next two or three years so will lose my car al­lowance, which has paid for the car to date. Should I take the chance and spend $2000, hop­ing all will be OK, or bite the bul­let and re­place the car? If I knew that I will work for five more years I would hap­pily buy an­other new Forester or per­haps a Kia Sportage.

Leo Ivan­cich, email It sounds like the right time to move into an all-new Forester, to power you across the di­vide and into re­tire­ment. No mat­ter what you do with re­pairs to the cur­rent car, it’s go­ing to be a gam­ble.

DAZ­ZLED BY THE LIGHT

We bought a new Mazda6 in Novem­ber. The sun­light com­ing through the wind­screen stings our eyes. We had a Mazda6 nine years ago which was a 2005 model, and in-be­tween there have been two Volk­swa­gen Jet­tas. Has there been a change in the an­gle of the win­dow? I have re­sorted to spread­ing a shirt on my knees as a front pas­sen­ger but when I am driv­ing, and be­ing fur­ther for­ward, I need to wear a scarf to pro­tect my neck right down to the tummy. Is there a so­lu­tion?

Valda Comber, email Mazda spokes­woman Karla Leach might have the an­swer for you, as well as some good

news on sun dam­age: “The an­gle of the wind­screen is very sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous model but in the cur­rent model car has moved 100mm rear­ward rel­a­tive to the pre­vi­ous model. How­ever, the wind­screen blocks out 100 per cent of UVA and UVB rays, and 46 per cent of heat. The side win­dows block out 91 per cent UVA and 100 per cent of UVB rays.”

UP AROUND THE BENZ

I am try­ing to de­cide when to re­place my car. My C280 Mercedes has just turned over 100,000km and will be seven years old in May. I love this car but think I need to re­place it in the next year or two. I am 72 years young and still work full time in my own busi­ness.

Jan Rech­ner, email It re­ally comes down to fi­nances and your needs. Per­son­ally, I would get out be­fore 160,000km and the new C-Class is def­i­nitely a great choice. But don’t go over­board as even the ba­sic C200 is a rip­per and would be my pick.

FOR A SPORTY SUV

I’m look­ing at up­dat­ing my ve­hi­cle and have been look­ing at a 2013 MercedesBenz ML 350 with AMG kit, look­ing to spend $70,000. I have al­ways been a Ford Ter­ri­tory driver, so was also con­sid­er­ing go­ing for a new Ter­ri­tory Titanium. I know it’s a chalk-and-cheese com­par­i­son but what would you ad­vise? Or per­haps rec­om­mend an­other ve­hi­cle.

John Mereos, email It sounds as if you want a sporty SUV and, with that bud­get, I’d be ad­vis­ing a late­model BMW X5.

AMMO IN FORD BAT­TLE

My 2012 Ford Fi­esta with 55,000km is an­other one with dual-clutch gear­box prob­lems. I’ve os­ten­si­bly had the re­call is­sue fixed, only to have the car re­turned worse than when I handed it over. It is not quite four years old and it sounds as if there are rocks in the trans­mis­sion. I bought this lit­tle Fi­esta as a se­cond ve­hi­cle for my wife to run kids around and for them to learn to drive in and take on as it was to be a cheap lit­tle car to run. I’ve made more than 20 phone calls to my dealer and Ford Aus­tralia cus­tomer ser­vice. I’m sick of the run-around. Ford knows there are mas­sive is­sues with the Fi­esta and Fo­cus so why are they stick­ing their heads in the sand?

Birdy, email Ford has been work­ing to help Fi­esta own­ers with gear­box prob­lems but ob­vi­ously not well enough. This is am­mu­ni­tion for an­other at­tack and I hope to have some good news soon.

DISCO DOWN

We want to re­place a 14year-old Land Rover Dis­cov­ery diesel with some­thing smaller, cheaper and less ex­pen­sive to main­tain. It will be my car, used to carry a cou­ple of dogs and two peo­ple mostly. It’s got a fair bit of coun­try driv­ing ahead of it but there’s no need for 4WD, so I’m think­ing of a Mazda CX-5 or a Ford Kuga EcoSport as a com­par­i­son.

Kate Danby, email The CX-5 is still best in class but a new Kia Sportage has just ar­rived and prom­ises to be just as good. I’d steer you to­wards a Subaru Forester or Out­back. They drive like a car, are more re­fined and eas­ily han­dle coun­try roads.

FIN­ISHED WITH LIB­ERTY

I’m think­ing of up­dat­ing my 2002 Subaru Lib­erty sedan. It has been a won­der­ful car and it is just for one per­son and, on oc­ca­sions, a cou­ple of grand­chil­dren. I’d pre­fer an SUV so I sit higher be­hind the wheel — some­thing sim­i­lar in size to the Lib­erty. I’m look­ing at a top of the range Subaru XV or Mazda CX-5 or CX-3.

Re­gards Tri­cia McCoy, email

The XV will be fine around town but is very small in the boot, and the same goes for the CX-3. If you want a sim­i­lar cabin and boot space to the Lib­erty then go for the CX-5, but also have a look at the new Kia Sportage.

STEADY ON, SPORT

Your launch story for the new Kia Sportage listed the capped-price-ser­vice costs as $3194 to $3695 over three years. Those fig­ures are the seven-year costs re­spec­tively for the 2.4-litre petrol GDI and 2.0-litre diesel CRDI. Kia has a seven-year war­ranty and capped-price-ser­vice pro­gram. Kevin Hep­worth, Kia Mo­tors Aus­tralia

Pony ex­prressss:: Forrd Musst­tang

Prom­ises: Kia Sportage

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