James Rup­pert

There’s no such thing as a dead cert

Autocar - - THIS WEEK -

Out of war­ranty, ve­hi­cles like the RX-8 de­te­ri­o­rate rapidly

Iwould like to apol­o­gise for some­thing or other I pos­si­bly wrote a few weeks ago. I can’t re­mem­ber what the con­text was – I’m al­ways say­ing and then writ­ing down stupid things. But in this case, Brian ac­tu­ally quoted back at me the fol­low­ing: “Mit­subishis are well made and ut­terly re­li­able.”

Brian snapped back: “No they are not!”

Ob­vi­ously, Brian could sup­port this with his fairly tragic Mitzi back­story. “I have a Colt CZC bought new eight years ago. The faults are as fol­lows: both hy­draulic boot struts failed af­ter about five years. Bro­ken anti-roll bar. Leak­ing sump gas­ket. Two failed elec­tric win­dow win­ders re­cently. To­tal mileage is less than 25,000. About 18 months ago, the rear discs and pads were worn out and re­placed.”

Well, there is a bit of wear and tear there, I don’t know how Brian drives and all the Porsche Cayennes I looked at this year had busted struts, but I would agree it isn’t what you’d ex­pect from some­thing Ja­panese. Ex­cept that it isn’t: the badge im­plies ‘re­spected Far-east­ern brand’, but if you look at the ‘Made in…’ sticker, it says ‘the Nether­lands’.

It was the same with the low­land­built Volvos – those small ones were never as well put to­gether as the home-grown fam­ily-sized Swedes. So the coun­try of ac­tual phys­i­cal ori­gin is im­por­tant. How­ever, I don’t think that enough credit is ever given to Uk-built Hon­das, Nis­sans and Toy­otas. They re­ally are all well made and, as a rule, ut­terly re­li­able.

In re­cent years, Mazda hav­ing an­other crack with the ro­tary en­gine was the best idea of all. They didn’t all ex­plode but they al­ways used a lot of oil and, when they did break down, they cost a for­tune to fix. I love the look and idea of them, but the last one I saw hadn’t moved in half a year, and the one be­fore that was for sale at a dealer for £599 with a heap of is­sues. Once out of war­ranty and out of the hands of a de­cent, car­ing owner, ve­hi­cles like the Mazda RX-8 de­te­ri­o­rate rapidly. A Toy­ota Corolla, or in­deed a Mazda 626, is un­likely ever to have that prob­lem.

Suzuki Al­tos come from In­dia and are built down to a mar­ginal ru­pee price. It is one the nas­ti­est cars I’ve ever sat in. That doesn’t make it an un­re­li­able car, just a re­ally, re­ally cheap one. Own­ers swear by their ut­ter sim­plic­ity and de­pend­abil­ity.

Talk­ing Ja­panese means I’ve not had the time to go on about un­re­li­able brands by na­tion, although the short ver­sion is that they’re usu­ally French or Ital­ian. If you have any real-world ex­pert reader in­put as far as re­li­a­bil­ity is con­cerned, then do tell us your worst. I’d be in­ter­ested – and it might stop me mak­ing any rash state­ments in fu­ture.

Mit­subishi makes many of its cars in the Nether­lands

Suzuki Alto: cheap, sim­ple and re­li­able but not very nice

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.