Shift your Fo­cus to a Ford

Herald Sun - Motoring - - ROADSIDE ASSIST -

Your reader Gor­don James asked about re­plac­ing his Holden Cruze SRI 1.6 Turbo hatch and def­i­nitely not want­ing CVT or dual-clutch type au­to­matic. Why not a Ford Fo­cus? The auto is no longer a Pow­er­shift, from my un­der­stand­ing a sixspeed con­ven­tional auto and just what he is look­ing for. I have a Fi­esta 2012 man­ual and have had no is­sues with it over 67,000km so far. I think it’s just the Pow­er­shift trans­mis­sion in the Fo­cus and Fi­esta that’s a prob­lem, the rest of the cars are fine and they drive well. Dave Tork­ing­ton, email Thanks for the tip, it’s a good one.

SUV MAD­NESS

I don’t un­der­stand the fas­ci­na­tion with Holden and Ford. They’re leav­ing. They’re busi­ness wasn’t a suc­cess. If they were good cars, peo­ple would buy them, and they’d still be in ex­is­tence. In the Carsguide you had a Which Car? on wag­ons and the reader didn’t even ask you about a Holden Com­modore, yet you put it in your ver­dict. The Re­nault Me­gane and Skoda Oc­tavia wag­ons were not con­sid­ered, wrongly I think, as they too are great cars for what the reader is want­ing and they can save a bit of money. Kon­stanti­nos Minopou­los, email I in­cluded the Com­modore as a Wild­card be­cause it is a great car and ex­cep­tional value at the mo­ment. Ford and Holden are go­ing out of busi­ness be­cause the world, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, has gone SUV crazy in­stead of buy­ing sedans and wag­ons.

AL­LURE AP­PEALS

The Peu­geot 508 sta­tion wagon is also a con­tender in the mid-sized fam­ily-car class. The Al­lure ver­sion’s stan­dard kit and fin­ish goes be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions and would even ri­val the far more ex­pen­sive Ger­mans. Get­ting around 1000km on a tank of diesel is heaven and the 2.0-litre diesel is more than enough, al­beit with a lit­tle lag at take-off. Steven Thomas, email It’s not my favourite but I can un­der­stand why you like it.

FOR­EIGN CON­CEPT

I have en­joyed your com­ments over the years and would like your opin­ion on the Euro­pean car mak­ers who are go­ing to flood our coun­try with their prod­ucts due to the demise of our car in­dus­try. What peeves me is all the ad­ver­tis­ing these Euro car com­pa­nies are show­ing in the me­dia with left-hand drive cars in Euro­pean con­di­tions which are so dif­fer­ent to our en­vi­ron­ment. I think they should be ad­ver­tis­ing right­hand drive cars in Aus­tralian con­di­tions and, if not, I for one will not buy their cars. Terry Bur­man, email The real flood of im­ports is com­ing from Thailand and Korea, not Europe. On the sub­ject of for­eign TV com­mer­cials, it was dereg­u­la­tion from the 1980s — of ad­ver­tis­ing, not the mo­tor in­dus­try — that al­lowed com­pa­nies to spend their money on air­time and not lo­cal pro­duc­tion. It’s not re­stricted to cars, as you can see from sham­poo and per­fume spots, and it’s not just Euro com­pa­nies as Holden has also been us­ing over­seas ma­te­rial for some of its im­ports.

PRICE NOT RIGHT

If I had $420,000 to spend on a car it’s not go­ing to be on a Honda, or a Nis­san. Glenn Busch. You’re not the only reader who thinks Honda’s NSX and Nis­san GT-R are over­priced.

IT’S COM­MON CENTS

I have to agree with Robert Phillips’ com­ments in Carsguide. I’m not a Honda fan but I think you have your favourite car builders and Mazda is top of the list. War­ren Voyce, email The price of the Honda is over the top. Take the Bri­tish price — 125,000 — then do the cur­rency con­ver­sion, add lux­ury car tax and other charges and, ac­cord­ing to a rep­utable im­porter, you get an Aus­tralian sticker of $300,000, not $420,000. As for be­ing a Mazda fan, I rate the Kia Sportage ahead of the CX-5 and the Volk­swa­gen Golf as a bet­ter car than the Mazda3.

NOTE OF DE-SPARE

What is the story with spare parts for the Kia Sportage? I had a 2010 model from new and just re­cently had a prob­lem with the ra­dio and was quoted over $2000 with a wait for the part to be sent from Korea. I got it fixed at a car ra­dio store for $500. I have since bought a new Sportage, only to find the park­ing sen­sors aren’t work­ing and again the part has to come from Korea. So far I have been wait­ing a month and still don’t know the ar­rival time of the part. Is this al­ways the same or just the ser­vice cen­tre? Den­nis Wil­son, email It’s not just the dealer and it’s not just Kia. Most com­pa­nies keep only fast-mov­ing parts in stock and have to or­der any­thing else, which means sea freight delays.

PLATES GRATE

I have just read the lat­est re­views in the Carsguide of the Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe, Toy­ota HiLux Work­mate, In­finiti Q70 S and Mercedes-Benz 200D and won­der why these ve­hi­cles are wear­ing Vic­to­rian num­ber­plates that are well over three years old. How can they be re­cently re­leased mod­els? I know how old the num­ber­plates are be­cause we bought my wife’s Suzuki SX4 in Oc­to­ber 2014 and the new rego is sim­i­lar. James Wil­son, email There is noth­ing sin­is­ter or un­der­hand here. Car com­pa­nies ro­tate their plates on to their new­est mod­els to make life a lit­tle eas­ier for their fleet ad­min­is­tra­tors.

TEST­ING CON­DI­TIONS

I know some man­u­fac­tur­ers ma­nip­u­late fuel econ­omy by such things as dis­con­nect­ing the al­ter­na­tor, over­in­flat­ing tyres, turn­ing off the air­con etc but do they also do the test with a re­al­is­tic load and on a re­al­is­tic trip with hills as well as flat roads? Have I rea­son to be scep­ti­cal of econ­omy fig­ures, es­pe­cially for small cars? Surely, to be re­al­is­tic, an av­er­age load of at least two peo­ple and lug­gage should be on board. Do your road tests in­clude a re­al­is­tic load? I would think small cars would suf­fer more than big cars in this re­spect, hav­ing to keep your foot buried on the ac­cel­er­a­tor to keep up. I am guess­ing this is why ac­tual econ­omy is up to 50 per cent higher than ad­ver­tised. Ross Hewett, email The test fig­ures are done in a lab­o­ra­tory, with the car on a rolling road, like a dy­namome­ter. Real-world test num­bers are com­ing but there is no in­ter­na­tional stan­dard yet for test­ing. Our road tests cars are driven as re­al­is­ti­cally as pos­si­ble, which of­ten even means bi­cy­cles and scoot­ers in the back and three young­sters on the back seat.

SHED SOME LIGHT

Am I be­ing taken for a ride by Mercedes-Benz on a re­place­ment head­light? I was driv­ing my near-new GLC 250 and a bird hit one of the head­lights and broke the per­spex cover but there is no other ap­par­ent dam­age. The real dam­age came later when my lo­cal Benz deal­er­ship quoted for the re­pair: $3634 for the part and $530 labour, mak­ing a cool $4580. Two more bird strikes and I’ll have spent as much on re­pairs as the cost of a new city run­about. Ber­tie, email The deal­er­ship has now sharp­ened the quote but most com­pa­nies now only sell head­lamps as com­plete units. Yours is among the high­est of the hi-tech, in­clud­ing a set-up to turn the lights for cor­ners, so it’s costly.

Au­to­matic choice: Ford Fo­cus; Skoda Oc­tavia wagon, be­low

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