27 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: I am enquiring on behalf of my son who has just found out he and his wife are expecting twins in the middle of the year.

They also have a two year old as well.

What would you suggest as the most suitable car for them to consider?
The only one I thought of is the Kia Carnival but are there any others?

Jan O

A: The Carnival is extremely unpopular with most people, because it’s a big boxy bus. There are any number of medium-sized SUVs that will do the job, but there are also giant waiting lists at Kia and Hyundai so perhaps steer them towards a Nissan – either the X-Trail or larger seven-seater Pathfinder.

Q: I’m currently driving a 2020 Toyota Prado Kakadu which is my fourth Prado, so definitely love the brand.

I have done 81,000 kilometres in the current one and have a fantastic offer for a trade-in.

I do approximately 25,000 kilometres a year as I’m a sales rep, however there are no new Prados in stock and I have placed an order for a new Prado Kakadu – which has a two-year wait.
Do you know anything about a new Prado update coming up? Some talks about a diesel hybrid?

I want to know if it’s worth waiting, or would you have another suggestion?
I’ve test driven the Volvo XC 90 recharge(lovely car but too expensive), Jeep Cherokee L (thirsty on fuel and don’t like the V6 petrol) and Hyundai Palisade Highlander (quite like the interior, drive and comfort, but concern about the trade-in value in 2-3 years).
my budget is approx. $100,000.

Josh P

A: The all-new Prado, part of the same LandCruiser family as the 300-Series that arrived in 2020, is not expected until 2024. No details as yet on engines or hybrids. You could just sit on your order for a new one, as it’s quite possibly coming after the model change, and do some extra comparison shopping. With your budget, my first non-Prado choice would be from the Genesis range of SUVs. Genesis is the upscale brand from Hyundai, as Lexus is for Toyota, with brilliant cars and great value and plenty of factory back-up on holding solid for resale. The GV70 is great value, and a true luxury car with plenty of change from your budget, and if you need more cabin space there is the larger GV80.

Q: I am tossing up between getting a new Kia Sportage SX+ or a Mazda CX-5 Touring.

Any thoughts ?

It’s Just for general day-to-day driving and enough room to throw golf clubs and buggy in the back.

Paul M

A: I would pick the Kia as the better car, but there are giant waiting lists and so the best choice is the Mazda. It’s close enough to the Sportage but you might like a test drive to confirm the difference between them, for you.

Q: I currently drive a 2014 Renault Clio which has just clicked over 305,000 kilometres.

Sadly, I’m expecting the transmission will eventually go.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the way it drives and the look of a sporty hatch.

I’m looking at buying a similar-sized car that would do the distances, but with a little personality.

I could possibly spend up to $35,000 at a stretch, so what would you recommend?

Desiree E

A: The Citroen C3 is probably the only similar from France, and it is a fun little thing and hits your price point at around $32,000 before on-road costs. But you should also consider the Ford Puma, which is a great car and – although it’s not chic and French – has funky baby SUV styling with the driving appeal of a small hatchback.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Volkswagen T-Cross Grid Edition?

Is it worth the money?

Tony B

A: Only you can decide on the value, but the basic T-Cross is one of the better compact SUVs and the Grid Edition effectively makes it a member of the R family of performance Volkswagens. So it’s definitely a good thing.

Q: I am looking to buy a first car for my daughter. What do you think?

The budget is up to $15,000.

I have been thinking Hyundai 130, kia cerato, Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla.

Don C

A: You will get the best value from the Kia Cerato, which is good car and a near-identical twin to the i30 through the joint ownership of Hyundai-Kia in South Korea. The Mazda3 is good but you pay for the name, and it’s even more the case with the Corolla because so many of today’s parents grew up with a Toyota and still believe it’s the best brand when it is not worth the extra.

Q: Can you help with a vehicle recommendation as I’m looking for a second-hand four-wheel drive/all-wheel drive that is both reliable and fuel efficient around the $25-$35,000 mark?

Will need to be able to tow a 1.5-tonne boat.

I recently purchased an Audi Q7 2012 which is a beautiful car, but after a couple of problems and horror stories from my mechanic (about possible large repair bills in the future) I’m thinking I should sell it.

Simon S

A: Don’t abandon the Audi if you love it. If it’s been well maintained and does not have a huge number of kilometres, there is no reason to panic. Yes, parts costs will be high because it’s a luxury SUV, but finding a cheaper SUV will mean cutting back in lots of ways. There are dozens of SUVs that suit your price, and 1.5-tonne towing is not a big deal, so do some research into Kia and Hyundai models that suit your space needs and pricing.

Q: I am looking to buy a secondhand Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Auto hatch

The two cars I’m looking at are a 2019 model with 190,00 kilometres at $31,500 and a 2022 model ex-rental car with 25,000 at $33,450.

What’s your thoughts please?

David S

A: I would avoid the ex-rental car, even though it’s newer, because they don’t get the best treatment with so many different drivers. If it only has 25,000 kilometres, against 190,000, the price looks suspiciously good.

Q: We are looking at the Mazda CX-30 and I have an issue with the test drives and hoping that you can help me out.

In the past I have heard that you have recommended longer test drives.

My mum has a back injury and requires a longer test drive to determine if the driver’s seat is comfortable or aggravates her back

We were told by a dealer sales assistant that we could only have a test drive of 15-20 minutes.

When we asked for longer, he stated we would only get one hour at the most subject to permission from the sales manager.

We are looking to test the car over a period of 1-2 hours, which I don’t think was unreasonable.

Tim H

A: These days there is almost no chance of a two-hour test drive because dealerships have very few demonstrator cars. An hour is far more than normal, unless you’re spending $100,000-plus for an exotic. You should be able to discover the comfort in the seats in a one-hour drive if you get onto some non-suburban roads.

Q: We have a 2012 Nissan Dualis 2 and love it.

It’s provided trouble-free motoring and we travel a lot.

Trouble is, the GPS hopelessly out of date and Nissan tells us it cannot be updated.
Any ideas?

Les O

A: There is no easy solution. You will have to change the ‘head unit’ in the dashboard, getting one that will give you up-to-date Apple CarPlay so you can have proper hands-free telephone services and the Apps that deliver modern Satnav. The Nissan head unit is well beyond its use-by date, which means it is no longer compatible with the latest GPS mapping, and even the best car company GPS mapping is usually at least two years behind, the time it takes to map and upload the latest changes, where an App like Waze delivers real-time navigation and traffic conditions, even with a super-accurate GPS speed readout that’s more accurate than a car’s speedometer.

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

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