27 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: Since petrol is increasing in price I was thinking of perhaps buying a smallish hybrid.

The last time I came to you for advice I purchased the Honda HR-V you recommended. It’s a lovely car and I love it.

Now it’s time for something new for the 10,000 kilometres I drive in a year.

Norma C

A: If you’re looking for another small SUV, then Toyota has the Yaris Cross and it’s a great little car but not cheap at around $35,000. It’s also similar in size to your current. HR-V. If you can wait and want to stay loyal to Honda, there is an all-new HR-V coming in the next few months with the promise of a hybrid, but it’s not going to be cheap as Honda moves up-market in Australia.

Q: I want your opinion of the twin-motor Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Polestar 2 electric cars.

I wish to spend no more than $90,000.

Both cars need to be bought over internet not through dealers, so how do l organise test drive and trade in?

I wish to take possession In November so l need to order now.

Philip W

A: The Hyundai is a much more futuristic car and has a more ‘electric’ feel to its design and operation, but is a complete sell-out. The Polestar is a classy vehicle and likely to be easier to get, starting by booking an online test drive or watching for the company’s ‘roadshow’ coming to somewhere near you. You don’t need the twin-motor models, as neither is a performance car like the Porsche Taycan so you’ll only be wasting money for an occasional jack-rabbit start.

Q: I have been thinking about selling my 2021 VE Commodore SS-V with 165,000 kilometres.

But all my friends tell me to hang on to it because it is worth more than what I paid for it as they are no longer manufacturing V8s in Australia.

I would welcome your thoughts.

Brendan R

A: If you love it, keep it. If not, it’s probably a good time to move it on as lots of people still crave the old-school Aussie Commodore. Fuel prices have people thinking about the future, but there are others who crave a last blast in an old-school V8.

Q: I have a VF Holden Commodore Calais wagon and I wish to update it to something newer.

I travel a bit long-distance and tow a dog float or a caravan.
Just want to know what my best options are. Even used cars.

Sybille K

A: If you want something similar, in size and practicality, the Skoda Superb would be an excellent pick. A new one is priced from just under $60,000 on the road and there should be near-new ones at good prices. With everyone so heavily focussed on SUVs, a classy old-school station wagon is a smart move and will avoid the giant SUV waiting lists and current high second-hand prices.

Q: I have had a 2007 Hyundai Grandeur Limited since new but I haven’t reached 100,000 kilometres yet.

It is in really good condition which prompts me to hang on to it, but I have query about its fuel economy.

I use 95 unleaded and the gauge shows it using 13.8 litres/100 kilometres for quite some time, but it’s now up to 15.6. Can you suggest why?

I hasten to add that I haven’t done the test the old-fashioned way which I keep meaning to do when I fill it up. I will do that in time but are you able to offer an explanation in the meantime.

While on this car, the headlights have always been very poor on high beam and this is particularly so while country driving without street lighting.

John K

A: Do the pump-to-pump test to get the numbers right, as none of the dashboard readouts are totally accurate. Fill to the first click only, and try to alway do it with the same pump at the same station at the same time of day for the right results. The official fuel number for the Grandeur is 10.8 litres/100 kilometres, but that’s a ‘combined’ figure and you’re probably battling traffic, which will be worse since Covid restrictions have been lifted and more people hit the road. It could be a case of engine wear, as the car is pretty old, but best to do proper research and maybe get a compression test at the next service. On the lighting front, lots of older cars are dreadful after dark but a globe update should improve things.

Q: My 65-year-old sister has worn out her 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer.

We have short-listed three cars to replace it: Honda HR-V, Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen Golf.

Price is not important and she does mostly country driving, so would love to know your thoughts.

Greg D

A: The Golf is a fantastic car and would be the first pick from your list, particularly for refined and safe country road, unless she needs easier access in which case the Kamiq is the one at the moment. There is a new HR-V coming but it’s not here yet.

Q: I own a 2005 Mazda6 2005 and, to cut a long story short, the paint is peeling on the whole roof and boot.

I have been quoted $1500 and over $2000 to get it resprayed, so should I do that or start looking for a second-hand car?

If I end up buying a used car I’m thinking of another Mazda, either the 3 or 6 models from 2015 onwards, in white.

What model do you recommend?


A: You’ll be over-spending on the old-timer and likely need an update on everything from safety to fuel economy. You should get much better value in the Mazda6, since people are moving away from mid-sized cars and the smaller Mazda3 has been a big hit with lots of young people looking for a first car.

Q: My Toyota Corolla 2006 hatchback was recently written-off and I would appreciate your advice on a replacement car.

I had been thinking of getting a new car but as there was nothing wrong with the Corolla so I kept driving it.
I was considering another Corolla or Skoda, but should I get a new or used hatch or a small SUV, as I am 67.

Jutta K

A: If you’re doing the same driving, and don’t have problems with access, another hatchback will be fine. It will also be cheaper than an SUV and far less likely to be on back-order. Skoda is highly recommended and good value with good back-up in Australia. If you buy a Corolla you’re paying more just for the Toyota badge, as well as a car that’s a lot bigger than your 2006 model, when the Fabia will likely be fine for your needs.

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

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