State your preference
the idea of sitting up higher in a car and need some space but money will be an issue. Lisa Sarris, email If you’re happy with Kia, go for a Sportage. You should be able to get one with some time remaining on the excellent five-year warranty. Why do new cars have so many safety features but do not include as a standard the use of preferential locking? I like to know that when I approach my car, and a group of undesirables is hanging around, I can unlock only the driver’s door and drive away without worrying about someone else entering my car. I bought a Mazda323 in 1999 and mentioned my wish for preferential locking and in 2009 I bought a Mazda3 and again stated my wish for preferential locking. I’m thinking of buying a MercedesBenz A180 (pictured), an Audi or BMW — the small hatchbacks, under $40,000 — but can find nothing about preferential locking. Jenny, email Good news and bad news for you. On the Mazda front, the company says only its CX-9 has preferential locking. But Audi, Benz and BMW all tell me you can program preferential locking into their remote central locking systems.
KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY
I have just been discharged from hospital after a car T‒boned my 2009 Kia Carnival, which spun and rolled. I am assuming it will be written off and I’ll have to find another car and probably will not get a great deal for the Kia at market value. Something smaller than the Carnival will be OK because as my four kids get older I don’t need to drive half the soccer team around any more. I like The new Golf GTI has a 5.8‒inch infotainment screen but in Europe they get 8‒inch versions. I owned a 2006 Mark V GTI for seven years and I’ll want a Performance Pack model in the middle of this year, so can you lobby VW to include the larger screen? The Performance Pack version at an extra $4000 is still great value but a 5.8-inch screen is surpassed by many budget cars. Tony Jovevski, email VW spokesman Karl Gehling says: “Thanks for your feedback on our specification of our cars. We are continually reviewing the specification level of our vehicles and take all feedback from our customers into consideration”. So we’ll take that as a no.
RED’S A GOER
I am thinking of buying a new red Mazda3, but I’ve been told that red duco is not longlasting or has some other problem with it. Lindsay Stacey, email There will be no problem with red paint as it’s all much the same these days with clear protective coating over the base colour. Just keep it clean and give it an occasional polish.
NO POINT WAITING
Are there any model updates coming on the Toyota 86 in the near future? Jenni, email There is no facelift on the books for the 86, although it might get very minor tweaking — something like the wheel design. So if you’re looking to buy, there is no reason to wait.
I’D GO WITH THE VOLVO
I am taking the plunge from a Mazda3 to an SUV, ideally not such a large one but let’s see. I have ruled out the Audi Q3 and am now looking at the BMW X1, Volvo XC60 (pictured above) or a Jeep — which would be the best choice? I travel about 10,000km a year, if that, which makes me think a petrol engine is also better than a diesel. Josh Sharp, email The X1 has zero boot space, which rules it out for me. The XC60 is very good and the Grand Cherokee is a Jeep I can recommend, but it might be too big. As for fuel, you’re right to stick with petrol.