When the boat comes in ...
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.
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.
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