Panache, plus it’s practical
I’m reluctantly looking to move on from my 2015 Mazda MX-5 1.5-litre. I’ve had a few back troubles lately and I’m finding it difficult to get in and out. Also, the missus thinks it’s not practical given we also have a seven-year-old and there is not much boot space and I have to agree with her for once. I’m looking at a Hyundai Veloster turbo, which I really like. We only need to get three people in the car and the back seats are probably only practical for little kids or short people as I almost hit my head when I get in the back. What are your thoughts on the Veloster? Should I look at something else? I’m really looking for a car that’s sporty, small and relatively fuel efficient as I do mostly city driving, with a minimal cost when trading in the MX-5. Mal Talbot, email The Veloster is not as sharp to drive as the MX-5 but it has a sporty feel with the turbo engine and my sevenyear-old enjoyed being in the back, especially with the extra door on the passenger’s side — which looks silly but is surprisingly practical.
I am considering buying a Subaru Forester as I’m keen to start doing some off-road driving and the size suits my needs, particularly for around-town driving. I am only interested in a manual transmission and want to spend about $25,000 so am hoping to find a good second-hand option. Subarus seem to be reliable cars and have a long history of allwheel drive but should I be considering other options? Cate Duggan, email A Forester is great for the city but not the right choice for serious off-road use. It’s more of a crossover, fine for gravel and sandy tracks but not for serious rock crawling or giant mud holes. You would be better served by a Suzuki Grand Vitara if you want to get seriously away from the bitumen.
When I was in the motorcycle trade I was always told to match the yellow dot on the tyre to the air valve on the wheel to minimise wheel weights when balancing, as the yellow dot marked the lightest part of the tyre. But I have noticed with car tyres that when fitting they don’t seem to worry about matching the dot with the air valve as much. Would this result in using more weights for balancing or should I demand that the tyre be refitted correctly? Phil Hiddle, email You are right and Terry Smith, a second-generation tyre expert, has extra detail: “Fitting it that way is not as critical with car and 4WD tyres as it is with bike tyres. The reason is a narrow bike tyre is only affected by a static out-of-balance, or the heavy spot on one side, and you simply put a weight on the opposite side to stop the vibration. With wider car and 4WD tyres we now get static and dynamic out-of-balance and the dynamic issue needs to be diagnosed electronically by a balancing machine.”
When I took my Ford Territory in for its first service the dealer called to say the wiper blades needed changing. I told them to get lost and changed the blades myself 10 years later. Mark Findlay, email Some dealerships have been chasing extra money-makers for a long time.
Re the diesel Ford Territory. We bought a new one, which was great until the engine broke with less than 72,000km done and less than four years old. The repair cost was more than $5000 and Ford, in their “generosity”, came to the party with an offer of less than $1000 to help fix it. Colin Glennie, email We’re still fans of the Territory despite your experience and the age of the diesel engine.
I have been looking for a late-model six-cylinder petrol SUV. I don’t want a diesel, despite the dealers’ efforts to sell me one, and my reasons are a whole other letter. I quite like the look of the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, which seems good value for money and is well optioned, but I have heard some negative views of them. Should I be concerned? Paul Butler, email Jeep has taken a battering in recent years for poor quality and the Cherokee is still not recommended by Carsguide, unless your primary motivation is serious off-road driving. Even without a diesel, you can get great performance and economy from the latest generation of turbo fourcylinder petrol engines instead of an old-fashioned six.