26 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: We have a Skoda Kamiq on order and believe some cars arriving from Europe may be missing some of their safety features.

If any of the safety suite is missing it will be a deal breaker for us.

We live in strange times and, as the buyer, I feel we have no leverage in these matters.

John P

A: Skoda says it has advised Australia buyers of the “temporary unavailability” of some equipment in some variants, including 360-degree camera rear-traffic alert and side assist. It emphasises that none of this compromises the car’s official safety rating. Full details are on the company’s website, include advice that “the customer can continue with the order and accept a credit for the cost of those features, continue to await the arrival of the car as ordered, or discontinue the order and accept a full refund of the deposit.” The company says it will return to original specification the moment components are available.

Q: I’m intending to replace my Hyundai Accent 2014 which has been a very good car.

I’m thinking about a Hyundai Venue Elite and would appreciate your opinion.

Antoinette C

A: The Venue is definitely a smart choice. Just be prepared for a long wait and, provided you get all the safety features you need, perhaps consider the model below the Elite as less ‘luxury’ features means less microchips and potentially a shorter delay on delivery.

Q: I recently owned a BMW X1 which I loved as it had lots of features, but unfortunately someone ran into me and insurance wrote my car off.

I need to buy a new car and prefer a smallish SUV as I like the extra height.

My mechanic suggested a buy a Japanese or similar car as they are cheaper to fix so I was looking at the Hyundai Kona.

I don’t know anything much about them but are they good cars or could you suggest something else I should consider?

I’d prefer maybe a 2020 or 2021 as I don’t want to wait six or more months to get a car.

Barbara H

A: The Kona is definitely good, but perhaps also consider the Kia Seltos, as they come from the same South Korean carmaker. As for delays on new cars, you will pay considerably over-the-odds for something secondhand because so many people are trying to take the same short-cut on a car purchase.

Q: I bought a new Skoda in 2019 and found that they don’t come with a service book as standard.

On enquiry I was told Skoda keeps the service history on its own computer system and does not supply a book for stamping. I now keep all receipts for services with the car.

Perhaps enquiring with Skoda before purchasing a secondhand car for service history maybe the go?

John M

A: This change is not a surprise or unexpected, as we’ve also been hearing about cars delivered without an owner’s manual, just an online link. You should always keep a paper trail with the full invoice from each service. It would be good to hear from other owners with a similar experience.

Q: Skoda moved to electronic service books with the rationale that they wouldn’t get lost and could be made accessible to anyone who needed them.

Unfortunately, my experience is that few staff at the dealership can locate them on their system and one even told me that they cannot find it for their own vehicle in their Skoda app.

Persistence at the dealership eventually got me to a staff member who could find and print the service records.

Sam C

A: There are always going to be problems with the switch to a new system.

Q: I was wondering if you can recommend the sedan or SUV which has the most rear legroom.

We have a child who will be dependent on us for life and he’s already headed towards six feet so we want to make sure he’s comfortable in the back.

Our budget is anywhere up to $35,000 and we are happy to purchase new or used.

Sal F

A: My first choice would be a Skoda Superb, which has the sort of rear-seat space that was once a highlight in the Holden Statesman and Ford Fairlane. It’s also a very good car with a mechanical package from the Volkswagen Group and little design touches – like an umbrella in the door – which set Skoda apart.

Q: I own a 2020 Mercedes-Benz C63s coupe with 12,500 kilometres on the clock with upgraded interior.

I paid $165,000 for it and, now that Benz will no longer making be making this 4.0-litre V8 turbo engine I hear these cars are selling for more that the original purchase price.

Is this model becoming a cult car and will it continue to go up in price?

Guy S

A: Everything points to a cult following for the C63, which is a wonderfully impressive car. It’s likely to become a future collectible, as well as popular with buyers today, but the arrival of electrification means it’s impossible to predict future values.

Q: We are thinking about buying a new 2022 Volkswagen Golf R.

It looks very impressive on the Volkswagen website, but do you think the price tag of $76,000 is worth the money?

Haydn D

A: It’s a belter and highly recommended. The price is right when you consider its rivals and also the current showroom sticker for a Golf GTi.

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

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