Three of a kind
I am thinking of buying a new car next year and want a station wagon. I’m keen on the Subaru Outback Premium but never see it reviewed, so wonder what you think. I’m also considering the Mazda6 wagon and Volkswagen Passat, so which is the best? I like the look of the Outback but am a novice when it comes to the features and mechanics. Glenn, email You are choosing from a good line-up as all three of your contenders get The Tick from me. My personal ranking puts the Passat ahead of the Outback but there is no reason not to go ahead with the Subaru.
We have a Hyundai i30 CRD bought with five-year warranty but the radio, which stopped working, apparently only has three years of warranty. I went to Hyundai customer service after the dealer told me I had to pay for the radio and should have been told this. We weren’t. Contacted again, the dealership agreed to replace the radio only after the used car sales manager got involved. I know consumables such as brakes and tyres are not covered under warranty but it makes you wonder what other parts are not covered and if saying there is a five-year warranty is a lie. Noel & Pauline White, email I was shocked to hear this and then have it confirmed by Hyundai Australia. Carsguide believes the fiveyear warranty should cover the radio, since there is none of the “wear and tear” that affects tyres and brakes, even if it is detailed in the Hyundai Service Passport together with two years/40,000km for the battery. So, instead of The Tick, Hyundai gets The Kick from Roadside Assist.
GIVE US A HEAD-UP
Are the Mercedes salespeople telling the truth that there are delivery issues for all models with head-up displays? They say it’s because of Japanese supply issues. Lester Pearce, email Mercedes-Benz spokesman Jerry Stamoulis replies: “Due to the earthquake some months ago in Japan our supplier wasn’t able to produce enough head-up displays. Vehicles were either delayed or are now arriving without the head-up display.”
DRIVES HIM MAD
Re overseas TV commercials in Australia. There are worse ads — one in particular for Kia promotes bad behaviour. The ad I refer to has a woman driving, another female beside her, and kids in the back. They are on a suburban road and the driver is singing, frolicking, hitting out a tune on the steering wheel. It is an appalling example of inattention yet Kia refused to yield despite approaches from NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay and others concerned with road safety. I’m surprised Kia persists with it because it’s a poor look. Mind you, it wouldn’t stop me buying a Kia if I was looking at a new car. Ron, email The Kia spot is just a bit of fun and I like it. Sometimes people get far too serious and worry too much.
KIA TO THE FUTURE
We are in the market for a Mazda CX-5 and wondering if and when a new model would be released. Darryl Jones, email There is nothing official from Mazda Australia but the CX-5 is now more than four years old and that points to a new replacement in the second half of next year. If you’re buying now, ensure you also test drive the new Kia Sportage — I give it The Tick and rate it ahead of the CX-5.
IT’S A STRUGGLE
I’m driving a Mercedes CLA 200 coupe which I have loved driving but now want a new car. It’s only me in the car, unless I am carrying grandchildren, and I do very low mileage but I’m struggling to find something I love. I have test driven so
many things because I’m looking at wagons and small SUVs to put grandchildren in without a struggle. I have tried the Mercedes GLA 180 — what is your opinion? Angela, email The GLA is my favourite in the Mercedes-Benz baby-car line-up and it gets The Tick. But you should also test drive the new Infiniti Q30 and QX30, which share the mechanical package of the A-Class family but with a little more comfort.
It’s possible to tint the windows on a Holden Colorado but people need to be patient. The side windows need to be tinted and dried off the car. Allow one week, problem solved. If the tint people won’t pull the windows out, take the car to a panel beater. Mick Hotson, email A great tip for the Colorado fan worried about losing factory tint.
Re unsuitability of spacesavers. I will not have a car without a full-size spare, after having a hire car that got a puncture at the start of a long weekend. The car was virtually unusable for three days. Recently, I was driving a hire car in America when a fallen rock smashed a wheel near Death Valley. I ended up driving, over several days, about 600km to have the car changed. Les Thompson, email This is one topic that continues to get people pumped up.
Merc-ed out, I’m a baby boomer wanting sunshine, fun and change. I thought a Mercedes CLA sedan would do the trick but after my 190E, C180 and C220, I want a change. But a lot of the little fun machines from Europe, like Skoda Fabia, and Ford Mustang from the US, have no opening sunroof. With the world’s love affair with alfresco dining, you’d think the brains in car-making would figure: “It’s the fresh air they want, stupid.” I’m looking at Fiat’s 500C and Mazda’s MX-5 and praying the big trucks won’t tailgate me. John, email The easiest question on record. Get an MX-5 and you’ll have all the sunshine and fun you want. The only problem will be choosing between the 1.6 and 2.0-litre engines. Most prefer the “bigbore” engine but I like the engagement you get with the smaller one.
I am looking at buying a compact SUV, likely a Suzuki Vitara. How does it compare with others in the class? Jim Cowan, email The new Suzuki is pretty good, apart from the constantly variable transmission, and gets The Tick. But you should also test drive the Mazda CX-3, which tops the class, or the Honda HR-V if you need more space in the back.
Subaru Outback, left; Mercedes-Benz GLA