CHOOSE YOUR WAGON

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - Iain Curry

We’re look­ing for a used car to tow a medium car­a­van. We don’t need to go off-road. We’re con­sid­er­ing a Subaru Out­back, Skoda Oc­tavia or VW Pas­sat wagon. Your thoughts? Erica and Rob Win­ter, email

Sounds as if you’re favour­ing wag­ons over SUVs, which is fine if your van isn’t too heavy. You must check your van’s loaded weight plus the tow­ball down­load limit. Your choices are sound so test drive all that work within your bud­get. The Out­back tows 1500kg-1800kg de­pend­ing on grade, Pas­sat All­track 2200kg (pre-2016 it’s 1800kg) and an Oc­tavia Scout 1600kg2000kg, also de­pend­ing on grade. If funds al­low, I’d pick a 2016 or later Pas­sat All­track — a bril­liant all-rounder — but be­ware its low 90kg down­load limit.

NO GO

I own a 2015 Holden Colorado LTZ bought with a life­time sub­scrip­tion to BringGo nav­i­ga­tion. I changed my mo­bile phone and email when I re­tired, then re­ceived an email from BringGo say­ing I’d have to buy an­other life­time sub­scrip­tion. I’ve sent many emails to BringGo but I un­der­stand they no longer have a pres­ence in Aus­tralia. Holden Cus­tomer Care said they can’t do any­thing as it’s a third­party app not sup­ported by Holden. Shouldn’t Holden do some­thing to help own­ers who are stuck with this?

Rob Tay­lor, email

I’ve spo­ken with Holden and sadly they back up the re­sponse you re­ceived. Lots of own­ers of mul­ti­ple brands are strug­gling with sim­i­lar map up­dates as re­la­tion­ships with third-party app providers have bro­ken down. I’d sug­gest — and it’s not ideal — that you buy a GPS nav­i­ga­tor to stick on your wind­screen or spend a bit more for a built-in dash cam with nav­i­ga­tion and have an au­dio ex­pert in­stall it. Not cheap but at least it’ll be up to date. You can ask whether Holden will help with costs.

MAIN­TAIN FO­CUS

My 2004 Holden Com­modore has just died and I’m look­ing for a small car with bet­ter fuel econ­omy for less than $20,000. I’m tempted by a demo model 2017 Ford Fo­cus Trend with 7000km on the clock for $19,480. It is packed with good­ies. I’d be in­ter­ested in your opin­ion. Kerry Bu­low, email

The ex-demo is cheap be­cause this model will be re­placed by an new Fo­cus in a few weeks. The out­go­ing Fo­cus is a tal­ented thing so def­i­nitely have a test drive. You also should be able to drive away a new small car for $20K with cur­rent deals and hag­gling. Check the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Cerato and Holden As­tra (hatch is bet­ter), all with de­cent in­clu­sions and at least a five-year war­ranty. Test drive the op­po­si­tion be­fore fi­nal­is­ing the deal.

TO­TAL RE­CALL

My friend’s Subaru Impreza was sub­ject to the Takata airbag re­call. She’s had three sep­a­rate airbag re­calls, all car­ried out, and now has re­ceived an­other re­call let­ter which she’s thrown in the bin. Is her ve­hi­cle safe? Penny Jol­ley, email

Please don’t let your friend ig­nore the let­ter — these re­calls are deadly se­ri­ous. Get her to call Subaru Cus­tomer Re­la­tions, 1800 226 643, which will have the lat­est in­for­ma­tion on whether all af­fected airbags have been re­placed. Al­ter­na­tively, view is­myairbagsafe.com.au.

RUDELY UNSEATED

My 2010 Mazda6’s driver’s seat failed un­der brakes when a push nut in the seat chas­sis was thrown. My weight shift meant I pulled down on the steer­ing wheel and went into the op­po­site lane. For­tu­nately there was no on­com­ing traf­fic. My Mazda dealer ac­knowl­edged the prob­lem and fixed it quickly. I dis­cov­ered the car should have been re­called for this is­sue. I was never con­tacted and I’m not happy.

Richard Hall, email

Fright­en­ing in­ci­dent. You’re right, your model Mazda6 plus Maz­da2s and Maz­da3s built be­tween Septem­ber 2007 and March 2012 were re­called in Feb­ru­ary 2017 for a fix for the lifter link for the seat frame, af­fect­ing thou­sands of cars. We re­peat­edly con­tacted Mazda Aus­tralia for com­ment, to be told: “We are un­able to com­ment on in­di­vid­ual cases.” As your dealer had your con­tact de­tails, it’s in­ex­cus­able your car was not re­called ear­lier for this vi­tal free re­pair. Any own­ers of such Maz­das should ur­gently con­tact their dealer with their VIN to check the ve­hi­cle has had the re­pair. I’ve heard a new Toy­ota LandCruiser Prado is on the way, pos­si­bly due in Novem­ber 2019. Is this so?

Al­lan Demp­ster, email

RE­SULT

We’ve had a fan­tas­tic re­sult for reader Richard Raynes, who was up­set about a $5540 re­pair bill caused by a leaky ther­mo­stat hous­ing on his 2013 Jeep Wran­gler. The car was out of war­ranty but Jeep has re­viewed Mr Rayne’s case and agreed to re­im­burse the full cost of the part and half of the labour costs, which the maker says formed a large part of the to­tal bill. Great to see Jeep go­ing above and beyond the war­ranty pe­riod to keep a cus­tomer sat­is­fied.

The model was facelifted a year ago, still sells like hot cakes, so any late2019 Prado would be an evo­lu­tion rather than a rev­o­lu­tion.

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