26 September 2023

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By Paul Gover.

Q: I own a 2020 Isuzu D-Max ute, fitted with the usual four-wheel drive accessories of canopy, bull-bar, dual battery, tow-bar.

My question is about fuel use as it seems to vary between fills.

Sometimes the dashboard shows 9-9.5 litres/100 kilometres, next fill it might show 11-11.5

I’ve always thought there is good fuel, and ordinary fuel, and that the octane rating might vary from fill to fill.

Am I on the money, or is there another answer?

Bob C

A: There can be very slight variances in fuel, but the only way to accurately monitor fuel consumption is a series of proper fill-to-fill runs. Use the same pump at the same station, fill to the first click every time, and measure the exact number of litres of fuel used against the kilometres covered. Dashboard displays are notoriously inaccurate so you need to do your own sums with the same system and you will know the real result – and also calibrate the dash readout.

Q: I’m not confident buying Kia or Hyundai but need to know if my new car should be petrol, hybrid or full electric.

We currently have a 2013 Volkswagen Golf petrol and want something a bit taller, like an SUV, to get in and out of and to do some lengthy drives.

Our Golf gave us clutch issues when we purchased it new and, although they fixed it under warranty, I don’t want to go through that again.

Should I consider VW again or perhaps the new Toyota BZ4X for a budget up to $60,000?

Michael G

A: It’s early and expensive to go fully electric, and the BZ4X is still some way in the future, but a hyrid will give you worthwhile economy improvements around town. There are plenty available, and the plug-in hybrids give more fully-electric driving, but you really need to do personal research on what suits your budget and needs. Most importantly, do no dismiss Kia and Hyundai because they make some great vehicles – each has just claimed a major Car of the Year award – and are very good value.

Q: I’m wondering about the Kia Stonic GT, top-of-the-range Hyundai Kona or the top-line Mazda CX-30.

What are your thoughts and approximate waiting times?

Russell W

A: There will be a wait on all three, although slightly less on the Mazda. The CX-30 is the trendy choice but you will be best to go for the Stonic.

Q: I had a quick question about upgrading my SUV, which is currently a Mercedes GL350.

As my kids are now grown the need for extra seats is limited, so I was weighing up the GLC 300, but it felt just a little small , whilst GLE at $150,000-plus is pushing the financial boundaries.

So I was first looking at the Hyundai Palisade and then felt that the Genesis GV80 ticked all the tech boxes in a slightly larger car, than the GLC , whilst looking very smart.

Do you think in the $100-125,000 range that this would be the best option or do you have another suggestion

Andrew F

A: Genesis is doing some great cars and the only potential downside, and no-one knows the answer yet, is the depreciation. If you need the space then the GV80 is a ripper thing and has genuine Benz-style luxury – from style and comfort to quietness and final finishing.

Q: I’m looking for a small SUV and considering the Suzuki Ignis.

Is this a good one?

Mary K

A: The Ignis is not great. It’s good value, but in the same size and price range you should benchmark the Kia Stonic. A test drive will show you the difference between a class leader and one back in the pack that sells mostly on price.

Q: I bought a Ford Ranger on your advice back in 2018 but I’ve been very busy since then.

It has been parking in the garage for weeks at a time and I’m wondering how often I should get it out for a run.

Terry G

A: Don’t be tempted to just start the engine, as all the car’s systems need regular exercise. It should hit the road at least once a month, make sure you run the air-conditioning and get everything thoroughly warmed including the brakes, also check the tyres before you put it away.

Q: I have a 2017 Mitsubishi Sport diesel wagon.

When towing our 2700 kilogram caravan with cruise control on up a hill the system trips off as the unit slows down.

When towing the same van on a reasonably flat road I have no problem with the cruise control.

Can you explain why the cruise control trips out on a steep grade?

Peter N

A: All cruise controls will disconnect if the system cannot maintain the pre-set speed. Towing makes it worse, as the system cannot predict the rise-and-fall of the road ahead and the extra weight rapidly pulls it out of the range where it can compensate with extra throttle. On the flat, it’s easier for the cruise control to adjust to minor fluctuations.

Q: My son is looking to purchase a 2011 Skoda Superb which is for sale for with full service history at 130,000 kilometres.

Is this type of vehicle a sound purchase or should we be sticking to major brands?

We are located in Mount Gambier SA , so am just a bit apprehensive about sourcing parts if ever needed .

Adrian N

A: Skoda is a major brand because it is part of the Volkswagen Group, so the engineering and parts supply comes through the VW system. The Superb is a wonderful car, roomy and relaxing to drive, with some lovely design quirks including the umbrella in the rear door. It is definitely recommended.

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

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