Leans to the left
Has Kia had trouble with steering alignment on the new Sorento? I bought one last year and from day one it has pulled to the left. At the service department I was quoted $65 for a wheel alignment check, which I thought was wrong, so I took it to my local mechanic who checked it and said it was OK. When the 15,000km service came up I asked to have the alignment checked because it felt worse. The response was that it goes straight on flat roads but will follow the road camber. Fed up, I took it to a specialist and the diagnosis was the caster bushes need to be changed. Is Kia at fault and should they fix it? Other than the steering problem the car has been great and I have even got down to 6.8L/100km. Eric Summers, email You are not the first to complain about a Kia pulling to the left, including one of my big bosses. I’m told it’s important to also check the rear wheel alignment. Kia Australia spokesman Kevin Hepworth says: “There is no identified systemic problem with Sorento steering pulling to the left. If an owner feels their car is not performing to specification they should, in the first instance, take the car to a certified Kia service centre to have the wheel alignment specifications checked. It is important in attempting to adjust the wheel alignment those specifications aren’t exceeded.”
I own a Hyundai i20 and would love to find a sunscreen that fits over the front windscreen. My wife and I, being elderly, find the sun shining through the front windscreen in summer, very hot, and extremely glary. So I wondered if you might possibly have an idea of anyone at all who makes, or might be interested in making, a sunscreen. Mike Pond, email My best suggestion would be to find a window tinting company to put a strip across the top of the screen to cut the glare. It needs to be done carefully to ensure there is no legal complication or obscuring the view. No one makes the old-school external visors as they are noisy and adversely affect fuel economy.
A PEEL FOR HELP
Barry Wood wrote to you recently about the peeling on the steering wheel of his Hyundai iX35. I was wondering if his issue had been resolved and, if so, who can I speak to as I am also experiencing difficulties with my 2010 iX35 and my local Hyundai dealer. I visited my dealer four weeks ago, had photographs taken and I was told they would contact head office and call us back. We visited the dealer again last week but there was no record of our previous visit or any indication our details had been sent to head office. I find it strange they didn’t acknowledge there is an issue, particularly as there is a Hyundai service bulletin dated August 30, 2013 outlining the issue and how to repair the problem. Francois Le Miere, email The peeling of the wheel covering is a known problem on some Hyundai models and Mr Wood got a replacement wheel after I contacted Hyundai. We will just bypass the dealer, who probably deserves a kick, and I will do the same for you with Hyundai headquarters.
Since 1993, before taking delivery of each new car, I have negotiated with a local tyre retailer to trade-in the original new tyres on the day of delivery for quality tyres of my choice. The tyre retailer credits me the trade price for the originals and I pay the difference. The benefits of improved ride quality, grip and noise reduction are well worth the extra cost. When my eldest daughter was due for new tyres, I went online to find suitable replacements. She had Yokohama BluEarth AE10 fitted and has found the new tyres are noticeably quieter and smoother riding than the original Bridgestone Potenzas. Les Lyons, email That’s a smart tip, as lots of Carsguide readers are raising concerns about their tyres.
DEALER THEM OUT
It is great you help to hold the manufacturers and dealers to account for their myriad shortcomings but I have a particular frustration with one aspect of your responses. You seem, quite rightly, to have no reservations in pointing out the makes and models with faults and issues but you never nominate the dealers who seem to be at the root
of most reader complaints. I suffered at the hands of a dealer who repeatedly called me during services to point out extra work I should have done above and beyond the specified items. Usually, these items were described as having some safety implications, and as such I should just agree to having them done. I believe many readers would agree naming and shaming offenders would lead to improvements in treatment of customers. Graeme Plumb, email It can be difficult at times to identify the exact source of a breakdown in the customer support and it can also be a personality clash with the owner. But your point is valid and, when I’m on solid ground, I’ll give it a go.
My parents are looking for a used car to replace our VW Multivan, which has been very unreliable. We are looking for something with five seats, good rear legroom as we are quite tall, the ability to tow a box trailer up to 1000kg and, above all, that’s reliable. I have a shortlist but just wanted a second opinion on the Nissan Dualis, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Honda CR-V and Mitsubishi ASX. Scott Jessett, email From my experience, the Grand Vitara has the best reputation for reliability and for you it ticks the boxes. Next would be the Honda CR-V, then the Dualis with the ASX definitely last.
IT’S GETTING TYRESOME
Call me cynical but since my initial email to you and several other reader complaints about poor noise suppression with their Mazda3s, Carsguide has written two glowing reports on Mazda3s. Has Mazda PR got to you? We sold our 2016 Mazda Astina as changing tyres was not going to fix our road noise problems. A Mazda technical group staffer said the new upgrade of the Mazda3 Astina was only cosmetic with no improvement to stemming noise/vibration/ harshness but in your recent article on the new Astina you emphasised a number of times the car had much improved NVH. Whom should I believe? John Swalwell, email We work for the readers, not a car company, which is why you have seen the Mazda3 road noise complaints. There are significant changes to the 2016 Mazda3’s suspension, including improvements to the noise paths in the rear. The Astina SP25 I first drove is much quieter but I admit a Neo test car is not as quiet but still better than before. I’m now in touch with Japan to discuss the noise difference between the Dunlop SP Sportmaxx TT 215x45 R18 tyres on the SP25 and the Toyo Nanoenergy R38 205x60 R16 on the Neo. Re road noise in your reader’s 2014 Mazda3 and replacing his Toyo Nanoenergy tyres. I have had a 2004 Liberty GT from new and have recently fitted a new set of Nanoenergy tyres. These are the quietest and softest riding tyres I have had on my car. I doubt he will find any tyres very much quieter. My wife’s 2005 Mazda3, which suffers from too much road noise transmitted to the cabin, is due for new tyres soon at 48,000km and I will be fitting Toyos, unless someone can suggest a quieter tyre. Jim Hammond, email That’s another one. I had a 2008 Mazda3 for seven years from new and found its tyre noise to be very loud. At every service at Mazda dealers I complained, to be met with shrugged shoulders and indifference, so I eventually came to accept it was mainly poor noise isolation. Imagine my surprise when, at 35,000km, I changed from the original Yokohama Aspecs to Kumho KH17 and found them much quieter in the first 50 metres. This is less a tyre recommendation than an indictment of Mazda. They must have realised this when they selected a noisy but no doubt cheaper tyre, then stonewalled thousands of customers over the years. Richard Keyte, email And another.
Kia Sorento, far left; Mazda3 Astina.