27 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: My husband and I have just retired and want to purchase a Mercedes-Benz car for the first, and possibly last, time in our lives.

We are looking at an A45 AMG but would prefer to have the very latest model as it probably will be our last.

Is there a new A Class being launched in the coming years?

Cheryl B

A: Are you sure you want a rorty little pocket rocket for your retirement, as that’s what you will get with the A45? Far better for a cruisy retirement is the all-new C Class that is just coming into showrooms, or perhaps the hybrid A-Class. The all-new replacement for the A-Class is at least four years away.

Q: We have two Mercedes cars, an E500 with 115,000 kilometres and an SL 350 with 87,000 kilometres.

Both are now 10 years old.

We want to move to one car as my husband does not drive any more and we need a four-door car.

What do you think of the Genesis G80?

Marg C

A: Genesis is doing some great cars, much more adventurous than Lexus – a good comparison because Genesis sits above Hyundai as Lexus does at Toyota – but if you have sporty Benzes in the garage you might prefer the smaller G70. The G80 is bigger and softer, generally more of a good-value limo that was originally popular with hire care drivers.

Q: I have heard talk about the MG.

I’m now aware that it is now made in China, not the UK.

I’m looking at the MG HS Excite, a mid-sized SUV, and would value your opinion on this compared to something else.

David F

A: MG make reasonable cars, and they are good value, but it’s still a start-up Chinese brand in Australia. If you’re buying for value then an HS Excite is alright, but you should drive an equivalent Mitsubishi ASX – purely as a value alternative with a similar long warranty – and then a Kia Sportage to see the best in the class before you commit.

Q: I’m contacting you to get your opinion on common, mass-produced V8 cars.

At the moment I’m looking into getting either a VF SS Holden Commodore, or a Ford Mustang or Chrysler 300 from around 2016-2017.

I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on which one of those you would pick on a budget of around $60-65,000.

I was also wondering if there were any other V8s on the market at the moment that you would recommend.

Scott W

A: Your budget will get you into a brand-new Mustang, so that’s the easy pick and definitely it ticks your V8 box. Looking secondhand, the Chrysler is only alright, best for looks and not driving. The SS is a great car with plenty of used Commodores available, but be very careful of the condition and don’t pay over the odds with someone who thinks it’s a future classic with a $1 million payday.

Q: I’ve recently fallen in love with Porsches, in particular the 991.1 series of the 911.

So, do you think the 991.1 would be a good car as an investment since it’s the last of the naturally-aspirated cars in the lower end of the 911?

At the moment the basic 991.1 is around the $130,000 mark which is on the high side for myself. Do you think that they will go down any further?

I have a Ford Fairmont XY GS mock-up which I enjoy driving occasionally, but I’m turning 60 this year and would love a fun car that I can use as a daily driver in my retirement but at the same time increase in value if I ever have to sell it in the future.

Maybe you can recommend something else that’s around $80,000 that’s a nice car in it’s appearance and that gives you a thrill to drive with the potential to increase in value in years to come.

Tony S

A: No-one should buy a car as an investment, not even a 911. They are great to drive and that’s the key focus, but prices for almost everything that’s desirable are moving up at the moment and no-one knows how long that will continue. If you want to save money, and give up on the 911 dream, consider the Genesis G70 as a classy and good-value sports sedan and the upcoming Volkswagen Golf R as a pocket rocket.

Q: I’m torn between two totally different vehicles – the Volkswagen Passat R sedan or Tiguan R SUV.

Which of the two would you recommend and why?

Drew W

A: If you’re not getting older and needing an easy-access SUV then the choice is obvious. Get the Passat. It’s a car that does everything well, unlike the Tiguan that is still a compromise with the go-faster R package on top of an SUV design. Too many people have forgotten the strengths of a proper sedan when they fall for the ‘dream’ of an SUV escape machine.

Q: My 2008 Hyundai Getz recently decided it had had enough, although I was hoping to hold out another few years for an electric car.

Given my budget, I am now re-assessing and was looking at either the Hyundai Venue or Kia Stonic.

I believe you recommend the mid-range models for most cars people buy, because they are the best value.

I was hoping to spend as little as possible, but not wanting to go beyond $28,000.

I was looking at good safety, fuel efficiency, and a boot that was bigger that what I currently have. I am currently borrowing a car, so I’m guessing holding out until close to the new financial year would be the best option financially?

Kath Q

A: Both are good, the flavour is different mostly in the suspension tune so it’s vital to take a test drive. The Stonic is a little more sporty than the Venue, although both will be wildly improved from your ancient Getz. Your budget should be fine and remember the Kia has a slightly longer warranty.

Q: I’m looking to sell my 2021-model BMW X1 sDrive 20i.

My previous car was a Mercedes Benz GLA180 which I kept for one year; purchased it for $47,000 and was fortunate to resell back to Mercedes for the same price.

I’m finding the seats in the BMW uncomfortably firm, as the sides of the seats cause hip pain. Also, the base of the seats is long and uncomfortable causing leg pain especially on long distances.
I’m looking for comfort, small size, seating not too low, nice wide seats not racing narrow seats, plenty of headroom, light steering, plenty of power as I live in a hilly suburb.

My previous other cars have been Volkswagen Golfs which I found the lightest to steer, very zippy to drive, steering very responsive and handle well on cornering.

Linda L

A: It sounds like you need to go back to a Golf, and the latest Mk8 model is brilliant for all the things you want. But you need a proper test drive, over a few days, to assess the seats. To give you some comparison on cabin comfort, and a different approach to the firm line taken by most European companies, take a test drive in a Lexus IS – but not the sporty ones – to see if that gives you the seat you need.

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

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