27 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: A friend of mine has a 10-year-old Hyundai i30 that has around 130,000 kilometres on the speedo and was told by the Hyundai service people that the engine was close to giving way and would need to be replaced.

She was told it is a common problem with the i30.

Is this correct and, if so, does it also apply to the Accent?

Joan S

A: It is absolutely not correct, provided the engine has been properly serviced and maintained. There are countless i30s with higher mileages that are running trouble-free. And, in case you have a Hyundai Accent, there is also no reported drama with those cars on the engine front.

Q: We have a budget of $50,000 for the best small SUV.

We like the Toyota CH-R or Yaris.

Nissan Juke was OK.

What do you think is also worth looking?

Also, is it better going for the hybrid version?

Dennis R

A: Definitely avoid the Juke, but test drive the Kia Seltos to get a proper benchmark. If you like the Toyota models, the hybrid will definitely give an economy benefit and lower suburban running costs, but be prepared for a long wait on delivery.

Q: I’m wanting to buy my daughter her first car and I’m looking to spend around $8500.

A small five-door hatch would be perfect.

She’s been looking at 2010-2011 Volkswagen Polos but from what I’ve read their dual-clutch seven-speed automatics have been problematic and, in a 10-year-old car, maybe even more so.

Do you have any suggestions of other makes and models?
I’d like to get the highest NCAP rating possible in a four cylinder.

Daryl B

A: That’s a tight budget with used car prices so high, so perhaps a Suzuki Swift or a Hyundai i30 if you can find a good one. The Polo’s age is the main thing against it, and parts could be costly if something goes wrong.

Q: We’re looking at a new or demonstrator small car for our P-plate daughter.

She is currently in a Mazda3 but likes the look and size of the Yaris Ascent or something similar.

Can you give me a few suggestions?

Kate L

A: You will pay big for a Yaris, with a long wait, and demonstrator cars are very rare with such high demand at the moment. The Yaris is a good choice, but a newish secondhand Mazda3 would be just as good – or better, since it’s a bigger size – and likely more accessible.

Q: Our daughter is about to get her licence and we will look at buying a car for her.

Her budget is $15-17,000 and we’re looking for a good-value car with relatively low kilometres.

We have being thinking about the Mitsubishi Mirage which you can buy as a ex-demo with low kilometres for around that price.

But not sure where to start.

Otto L

A: The Mirage is nothing special but probably a good deal. To get a benchmark, also test drive a Suzuki Swift.

Q: Late in 2020 we purchased a Range Rover Evoque and in January it broke down with an alternator problem.

Within four days we were told the part needed to come from the UK and due to COVID and travel delays etc it would be a six-week wait.

We were understanding and totally fine with this, and were issued a hire car replacement at no cost to us.

Ten days later we received a call to say the car was ready but within 200 metres all of the alarms indicated that the car had not been fixed.

I have not spoken to anyone at this point who believes a four-month wait is acceptable.

Renae G

A: Talking to Jaguar Land Rover Australia, the problem with your Evoque is the lithium-ion battery, which has to come from the UK and cannot be air-freighted. It’s also on back-order in Britain because of supply problems. They are doing all they can to get the car repaired and back to you.

Q: I am looking to buy a Mercedes-Benz GLE and read about the uplift coming in 2022.

I called the dealer and they couldn’t give an Australia release date.

Would you have any idea from your sources about the expected Australia release date?

Sahil D

A: Mercedes-Benz Australia reports that there is no planned facelift on the GLE in showrooms for at least 12-24 months. So it looks like you’re clear to launch.

Q: Please could you settle a a conversation between my husband and me.

I would like to upgrade our Holden Calais 2008 sedan. My husband wants to keep it.

His reason is because of the whole no production of Holdens any more so we’re sitting on a gold mine apparently.

Please could I have your advice on keeping Holden cars? It does need a little bit of love and it’s done about 220,000 kilometres.

Nicole S

A: Sell it. There is demand for the last of the homegrown Holdens but yours seems far too old, and with too many kilometres, to be any sort of a ‘gold mine’.

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

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