26 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: I’m reaching out to you as my son was almost killed as he had a car accident and his airbags of Hyundai i30 N-Line didn’t go off.

He is very bruised and sore but is alive and that’s the bottom line.

He was T-boned by a tram and the car had to be towed and glass was shattered all over him.

Now my question to you is why in a new car (2 years) the airbags didn’t go off on the driver’s side?

Also, when we had it serviced earlier in the year why wouldn’t that not show?

Hazel S

A: If your son did no suffer any life-threatening injuries then the airbags were not needed. The car’s seatbelt is always the primary protection and the airbags are called a Supplementary Restraint System – SRS – for major crashes. Airbags have a specific impact trigger force – nothing to do with speed or the vehicles involved (even a tram) and clearly this point was not reached. So, although someone in the car might think it was a big crash, the sensors only react to the forces when airbag protection is essential

Q: I ordered a Kia Sportage GT 20 in November 2021 from a dealership in Melbourne.

The latest update says it is not scheduled for production yet.

Is this across a normal issue with kia supply chain and manufacturing?

I hope you can chase this up for me through your higher-ups in Kia management.

Kamal S

A: Unfortunately, you are not remotely alone. Kia has some of the longest waiting lists in the business, thanks to its excellent SUVs, and even Kia Australia is struggling to get information from South Korea on exact build timings. Choosing the GT has not helped your cause, as higher-specified models of any vehicle take more computer chips and there is no end in sight to the global shortage on that front.

Q: I’m considering placing an order for the new Ford Ranger Raptor twin-turbo.

What are your thoughts on the car?

I got best price of $92,995 drive-away and wonder if his is a fair reflection of the car.

But a 12-month wait for delivery.

Barry W

A: The Ford Ranger is now clearly the best of the one-tonne pick-ups and a step-change from the previous model. The Raptor is a expensive because it has lots of high-performance gear aimed at people who want to go quickly off-road. If that’s not you, or the 2.5-tonne towing capacity is too light – down from 3.5 tonnes in the rest of the range – then the XLT is better value. The waiting list is a reflection of the popularity of the Raptor.

Q: I want to get your advice on a 2009 Mahindra CDX turbo-diesel dual-cab 4×4.

Asking price is $4000.

I have not heard on the brand before and would like to know what the life expectancy would be for one thats been looked after.

Larry C

A: Mahindra is an Indian brand, so it’s basic and rugged. For that money you’re always going to be taking a risk, and quality will not be great, but it should be fine as a workhorse.

Q: My wife is looking for a city car, not much driving, probably less than 10,000 kilometres a year.

We are in an apartment so parking is tight. No kids to cart around, just two dogs.

She’s narrowed it down to a Mini Countryman or Mercedes C-Class.

I know you are a fan of the Merc but any red flags on the Mini?

Larry S

Q: There are no red flags on the Mini, just be aware that the Countryman is surprisingly maxi in size.

Q: Do you feel a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle is a good car to buy in terms of easy and cheap to maintain, and fun to own?

If you feel there something else in this price point that’s worth looking at?

Chris B

A: An old Beetle is cheap and easy to maintain, as well as fun to drive, but there are plenty of ‘buts’. Safety is dimal to non-existent, they are very slow by modern standards, and they are not as cheap as you might think to purchase. Best to take a test drive and see if you can cope with jumping back to the seventies from a 21st century world of motoring.

Q: My youngest child is about to turn 18 and is keen to purchase a 2018 Misubishi Lancer ES.

So, are these a good solid learning car?

What will servicing costs be like and is $19,500 asking too much for a car with 41,000 kilometres?

Sharon F

A: The Lancer should be solid and sensible, with low service costs. The price is higher than expected, thanks to post-Covid demand, so make sure you get a pre-purchase inspection from your states’s motor club.

Q: I am wanting to purchase a twin-cab ute with a view to towing a caravan with a tare weight of approximately 1700 kilos.

Can you please advise me what brand of vehicle you would recommend, either new or used?

David A

A: The Ford Ranger is by far the best choice, new and used. The latest model is clearly the best in the field but, if you’re choosing for family use and not as a commercial ute then the Everest SUV will be far better.

Q: We are considering the Genesis GV60, what are your thoughts please?


A: Genesis is the upmarket division of Hyundai and doing some truly impressive vehicles. The GV60 gets The Tick from me, every time, and is much better value than traditional rivals – Audi, BMW, Mercedes – in the prestige field.

Q: I’ve recently put a deposit on a Kia Sportage GT Line priced at $46,000.

But I have also been looking at the Haval Jolion and would love your opinion on what car is the best.


A: The Sportage is way better than the Jolion, even though the Haval looks good in pictures and in specifications. It’s a value Chinese contender and no-where close to the Kia in refinement and quality. A tight budget is the only reason to take the Jolion over the Sportage.

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

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