Some sports cars are pre­ci­sion tools, oth­ers are sledge­ham­mers


I am try­ing to de­cide which sports car I should buy, a Mazda MX-5 man­ual or a Ford Mus­tang V8, prob­a­bly auto. I have test-driven the Mazda with the metal re­tract­ing roof and it’s a dream to drive but haven’t tried the Mus­tang. What’s your opin­ion? — Char­lie Mi­callef, email Talk about chalk and cheese; you re­ally couldn’t pick two more dif­fer­ent sports cars. Do you want to drive a pre­ci­sion tool or a sledge­ham­mer? I’d go the Mazda ev­ery time. It re­wards with­out you risk­ing los­ing your li­cence. And do you re­ally need to spend $55,000-plus on the MX-5 RF Lim­ited Edi­tion? The $38,000 1.5-litre GT with soft-top is the bar­gain pick for me.


I’d like your ad­vice on my daugh­ter’s Volk­swa­gen Golf wagon which was re­called due to its dual-clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. It was fit­ted with a new trans­mis­sion by the sell­ing dealer but not long af­ter­wards it started to shud­der and grind at low speeds. The deal­er­ship said that if a new trans­mis­sion was re­quired she may be li­able for part of the cost. Do you think this is fair un­der the cir­cum­stances? — Ed­ward Oen, email Volk­swa­gen has in­spected the car and agreed that your daugh­ter will not be charged for the work, given the very low mileage of the car. Quick re­sponse by the man­u­fac­turer and a great re­sult for all.


I’ve been hav­ing an on­go­ing is­sue with my Kia Sorento GT. On long jour­neys the car starts to splut­ter as if no diesel is get­ting through but this doesn’t hap­pen on short trips. Kia can’t find any er­ror codes on the test drive. I’m think­ing of pay­ing a spe­cial­ist diesel me­chanic to check. Please help. — Sep­wita Fepuleai, email The Kia dealer has equipped your car with an elec­tronic de­vice to record any er­rors and the data has been sent away for anal­y­sis. Kia’s Kevin Hep­worth says: “I un­der­stand that the owner wants an in­stant so­lu­tion but given the com­plex­ity of the mod­ern car it some­times takes a bit longer to iden­tify an is­sue and de­velop a so­lu­tion. He can be as­sured that his con­cerns are be­ing treated se­ri­ously.”


Re dim head­lights on the Hyundai Tuc­son. We have a 2016 Sportage Plat­inum with a sim­i­lar prob­lem. I have found that turn­ing the cen­tre dis­play off at night is a huge help as it can­not be dimmed enough for the driver to see out­side prop­erly. The only other op­tion is a Uni­bar above the num­ber plate with an at­tached small LED light bar. — Matthew O’Neal, email. I ex­pe­ri­enced the same is­sue with my Tuc­son. The 55-watt fac­tory globes are Phillips H7 LL (long life). I fit­ted Phillips H7 ex­treme vi­sion-plus globes, also 55W, and this gave me an ex­tra 40m-45m of beam. The ex­treme vi­sion globes are about $75-$80 from Au­toBarn or Repco. — James Skillen, email


My wife and I are con­sid­er­ing up­grad­ing our cars. She drives a 2001 Holden As­tra with 175,000km on the clock, and I have a BA Fal­con with 135,000km. She would like a small to medium SUV or hatch, and I would like some­thing of sim­i­lar power to the BA but not nec­es­sar­ily a six-cylin­der. What would be the mar­ket or trade-in value of both cars? With a price range of $15,000-$20,000, what would be good buys? — John Wal­lis, email Sadly you won’t be able to bank on much trade-in on your cur­rent cars. Due to their age, the best you could re­alise is a few grand each. For your wife I’d sug­gest look­ing at a hatch rather than an SUV to keep costs down. Per­haps a sixth-gen­er­a­tion VW Golf or a six-year-old Mazda3. Why not re­place the BA with the later model FG? You can prob­a­bly pick one up for less than $10,000. A 2011 Toy­ota Au­rion also fits the bill.


What can I do about my Nis­san Pa­trol diesel, bought new two years ago? It has 19,000km on the clock and is at the dealer’s work­shop again, this time with no clutch. I’ve had prob­lems with the rear lights, needed the brake master cylin­der re­placed, the air­con seals needed re­place­ment (all un­der war­ranty) but now the clutch has gone and I’ve been told it’s wear and tear as I tow a cam­per trailer. A heavy-duty re­place­ment at about $5000 was sug­gested. It is ex­cel­lent for tow­ing and off-road­ing — but have I bought a le­mon? — Hans Manson, email A poor own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence so far and you are right to ex­pect bet­ter, al­though Nis­san has hon­oured the war­ranty to date. Nis­san spokesman Tony Mee says the com­pany has tried to con­tact you twice with­out success. Give them a call and let us know how you go.

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