26 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: I own a 2019 Mazda CX-9 and recently had the 30,000-kilometre service.

The report was a little startling as it found my rear brake pads under 20 per cent left while the front was over 50 per cent.

I spoke to the head of service at the dealership and they said they would try and approach this under warranty.

This was subsequently declined by Mazda head office under the pretence of ‘driver style resulted in uneven wear’.

This ‘driver style’ is my wife dropping my kids off at school and generally driving around the local suburbs.

Whilst I appreciate the fact that brake pads are a consumable item, I find it perplexing that the back pads have worn more than the front ones.

In all your experience in the industry is this something abnormal or expected with large cars?

Am I in my rights to pursue this further on the grounds of a goodwill repair?

Anthony B

A: Heavier wear on rear brake pads is becoming more common, and a surprise to many people, because of the extra weight of SUVs and the electronic safety systems in modern cars – stability and traction control – which use the application of brake force to keep the car straight and under control. So you can push hard on the accelerator or the brakes, or corner aggressively, and the car’s electronics will be pushing the appropriate brake – more often at the rear – to keep the car properly under control.

It’s not something the driver will normally notice, unless they are watching for a blinking light in the dashboard. This does come under the ‘driving style’ clause for car companies so perhaps organise a safe driving course with a company like Murcotts in Melbourne – for everyone – to learn what’s really happening when you’re driving.

Q: I am looking to buy a seven-seater SUV and I love the Toyota Prado.

I don’t like the interior but love the ride quality and its unique look

What is the best alternative to Prado in the same price range and with the same reliability?

Gurbinder I

A: The answer really depends on what you want the Prado to do. The most obvious alternatives that retain true off-road performance are the likes of Ford Everest and Isuzu MU-X. If you do not need off-road ability, there are a host of seven-seat SUVs and people movers that will delivery better on-road dynamics and refinement, led by the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Q: Can you can shed any light on the rumours circulating that Porsche is currently working on the successor to the 718 Boxster?

It’s rumoured to be based on the Mission R concept and a full battery-electric vehicle, due for launch in 2024-2025.

Do you know if Porsche have committed to this radical plan and will it be marketed in Australia?

I’d really appreciate any information or insights you can offer as I’m trying to decide whether I should update my 981 to the four-cylinder 718 or wait and see what the next generation is all about.

Steve D

A: Porsche, like all car companies, is very reluctant to talk about its future model plans. The Mission R is a great looking concept, and clearly points to the future of the Boxster and Cayman. But the next all-new Porsche on the plan is the replacement for the Macan, scheduled for 2024, so based on our sources the next Boxster will not be until 2025-2026 at the earliest.

Q: Last year I purchased a new Mazda3 Touring hatch with 360-view monitor.

I insured it with RACV for an agreed value of $36,000.

My renewal insurance notice has arrived and the mileage I have done in the last 12 months, thanks to lockdown, is 2000 kilometres.

The notice is suggesting an agreed value of $34,000 and I would like to know your thoughts and possible advice on this.

Kathy H

A: It’s normal for car insurers to reduce the value of a policy because of depreciation. You need to negotiate that the policy is for replacement cost, not agreed value, perhaps changing insurer.

Q: I’m looking at buying the Kia Cerato GT or the Hyundai i30 Premium.

What are your thoughts and recommendations.

Since I’ve never had a car with a dual-clutch system, if anything goes wrong would this be a warranty claim or a service item?

George L

A: Yours is not an unusual question, since Kia and Hyundai are the one company in South Korea and the Cerato and i30 are effectively the same car under the skin.

So drive them both and choose the one you prefer to drive, as the Cerato is likely to be firmer in the suspension for a more sporty feel. Also look at the numbers and remember that Kia has a longer warranty. Dual-clutch transmissions got a bad name in the early days, with big problems at Volkswagen, but they are now regarded as no more worrying that a regular auto.

Q: I have a 2015 Ford Falcon EcoLpi ute.

I have noticed, especially in Queensland, that LPG is becoming less available.

Have you any knowledge of the future of LPG in Australia?

Ken T

A: LPG is on the way out. Soonish, but not immediately. It was only the popularity of the LPG versions of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon that gave it any real impetus in Australia And now they are long gone …

Q: My husband is considering buying a Jaguar XF.

It will cost around $40,000 and has done 150,000 kilometres.

What do you think are the main risks with this type of car – insurance, servicing, maintenance, replacement of parts?

Do you think this is reasonable value?

Diane D

A: No Jaguar has the bulletproof qualities of, say, a Lexus. And the car is eight years old, even if the mileage is not that high. But that’s not the point. A cat is an emotional purchase, but do your research – check with a dealer or Jaguar specialist on servicing intervals and costs, perhaps also known problems with the XF; also ensure you get a full motor club pre-purchase inspection; shop around for insurance.

Q: We are looking at a medium luxury SUV and really liked the Genesis GV70.

But also really like the look of the new Lexus NX.

Jamie L

A: The Genesis is great value and a very good drive, the Lexus is the choice if you want a hybrid.

If you have a question for the Car Doctor, send an email to [email protected]

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