Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring



I’m after an electric car with range over 400 kilometres for around $70,000. I tried buying a Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 but the waiting times look to be in the years. It’s ridiculous. What EV would you buy if you wanted something soon?

Tim Croft, email

Until a few weeks ago I’d have said the entry-level Tesla Model 3, but price rises and a wait of up to nine months makes me think a Polestar 2 would suit you best. A few pre-configured Long Range (540km range) examples of Volvo’s electric subbrand have an expected delivery of mid-May. They look great and drive well and are on the road for about $70,000. You’ll be less sheep-like in a Polestar than a Tesla, too.


In the last six months new car price rises by manufactur­ers have been outright contemptib­le. I’ve been looking to buy a Mini Clubman Cooper S and on April 1 the price rose $1545. Its RRP has increased by $4845 since December 2021, or over 10 per cent. It’s deplorable how Mini can justify such a huge increase while still having the audacity to maintain a below industry standard warranty of three years. Mini’s blatant price wringing has lost me as a customer.

Robert Ma, email

My records show the Clubman Cooper S has been $49,200 before on-roads since July 2021, whereas previously it was $45,900. We may disagree on when prices changed, but we can agree on warranty. Mini’s three-year guarantee looks incredibly stingy when most of the competitio­n has moved to five years or more. BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Ram, Bentley, Ferrari and Maserati have also stuck with three years. A short warranty’s a good reason to shop elsewhere, but price rises are sometimes justified. More demand than supply has raised sticker prices, while production, transport, logistics and other costs have climbed and been passed on to the customer. It’s a tough time to buy new.


Is it worth having a small hybrid SUV? Aren’t small SUV petrol vehicles almost as economical on fuel? Which would you recommend from the larger small SUVs on the market, hybrid or petrol?

Norm Warren, email

Hybrids definitely make more sense in larger, thirstier cars such as the Toyota RAV4, Camry or Kluger. They offer real economy gains in urban environmen­ts: in the city a petrol SUV may use 1014L/100km and the hybrid could halve that. The difference is less in small SUVs as modern small turbo petrol engines are pretty economical. As for whether it’s worth buying a small hybrid, the answer is probably not. The Kia Niro ($41,990 driveaway), Mazda MX-30 (about $38,000 driveaway) and Subaru XV (about $40,500 driveaway) aren’t cheap and won’t offer fuel miracles. Toyota’s C-HR hybrid is a lot more economical than petrol alternativ­es (4.3L/100km) but again it’s expensive at about $41,500 on the road. Perhaps look at a Skoda Kamiq Ambition for $36,990 drive away. It has a fuel rating of 5.6L/100km, but you’ll need to pay extra for premium 95RON fuel.


Our 2014 Toyota Prado’s touchscree­n failed. No reverse camera, phone connection or radio. The dealer declared it dead and I asked them to submit a warranty claim due to its full service history and 67,000km mileage. My request has twice been declined and they’ve quoted $1500 for a refurbishe­d unit or $2400 a new one. They said due to its age it has met “reasonable expectatio­ns” but I disagree. What should I do?

David Kemp, email

Consumer guarantees apply for an unspecifie­d but “reasonable period” – it’s painfully ambiguous. In your case I’d say eight years is reasonable, however frustratin­g. How long should we expect a touchscree­n to last? Ten years? Thirty? Don’t pay what Toyota asks. Here’s your chance to upgrade and future-proof your Prado. Get a quote from a car audio specialist for fitting a new Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto head-unit, including wiring up your reverse camera. It mirrors your phone onto the screen so sat-nav will always be up-to-date and the functional­ity is superb. The whole job should work out cheaper than fitting a dated, clunky, refurbishe­d Toyota unit.


I’ve owned a 2014 HSV VF Senator from new. I plan to sell it but am not sure how best to advertise such a sought-after vehicle. Is it auction? Classified­s? Commission sales? Chris Walsh

It’s an enthusiast’s car so advertise where enthusiast­s go. I’d first list your Senator on HSV/ Holden forums and join Facebook’s HSV Owners Marketplac­e. Decide what price you’d be happy to sell for and gauge interest from the response. I’ve received too many negative reports from buyers and sellers who have used major Australian auction sites. Instead, I’d use Collecting­ – it’s free to list, there are no seller’s fees and you can set a reserve. It’s run by proper car enthusiast­s who’ll understand the significan­ce of your HSV. I’ve seen superb Australian sales results on its website.


Our 2015 Mazda CX-5 has a space saver spare. The used car salesman told us we could put another full-size tyre on the spare to make it more reliable. What size tyre would I need to match the diameter and profile of the tyres on the car? It uses 225/55R19 tyres, while the spare is a 185/80R17.

Kevin Bastin, email

Your spare is a space-saver. You’re not going to be able to use it to match the tyres on your Mazda’s 19-inch wheels. All-wheel-drives such as your CX-5 can suffer damage due to mismatched wheels and tyres. Your best bet is to find a used full-size spare wheel exactly matching those on your car. I’ve spotted one on Gumtree with correct 225/55R19 tyre for $120. It should fit your spare wheel well (check with one of your current 19-inch wheels) but your boot floor will rise.

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