27 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: Over the last month my 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 has decided to not go into park, or the park button is not working.

Sometimes it does.

I can always shift into Neutral, Reverse and Drive, but the only way to go into Park when it happens is to open the driver’s door.

Any thoughts?

Jimmy N

A: That’s clearly a safety problem, so report the fault immediately to Mercedes-Benz Australia, not just a dealer, and then get the car to the closest dealership for an investigation. Do not wait for a book-in date, tell them it is about safety and demand an instant diagnosis. They will charge a fee for an assessment, and probably tell you it’s not covered by warranty, but also push Mercedes-Benz for a ‘loyalty’ contribution at the very least.

Q: Just wanted to get your opinion on a 2014 Holden Commodore Storm Ute, priced around $24,000.

Are they worth the money people are asking for them or should I save up and buy a Ford Ranger?

Aldo D

A: The Storm is considered a semi-collectible car, not a workhorse, which explains the price. If you just want a ute for work then keep saving, but if you want what amounts to a two-door Aussie sports car then the Commodore will be fun with a practical side.

A: I see quite a few of the Mercedes-Benz S400h hybrid models imported from Japan are on the market in Melbourne.

What is your opinion on the model?
They are certainly attractive on price, however would you consider buying one?

Gary Ga

A: I have a good friend who bought exactly the car you describe and loves it. Including the price. Don’t expect any support from Mercedes-Benz Australia, but dealers should have most parts and the ability to service a car.

Q: I am 27 years old, I live in Melbourne, and someone ran into the back of my 2018 Hyundai Accent hatchback and it will unfortunately have to be written-off

I am now looking for another car to buy, similar in size to the Accent.

I am also looking for a car that is 2019 or later, preferably done under 40,000 kilometres, maximum price $25,000.

I am looking for a car that is red, blue, or dark green, with a reversing camera.

My preference would be to get another Hyundai Accent but I have been researching a Kia Rio and a Mazda2.

James W

A: Go for the Rio. It’s the same family group as Hyundai and great value, as well as a solid little car that is popular with owners.

Q: We have a Toyota HiLux SR5 and around 50,000 kilometres the front-right sensor began to go off whenever it was wet, which has been a lot lately.

I contacted our dealer and was told that it happens and there’s nothing that can be done.
My daughter has just bought a brand new Toyota Prado and has the same thing happening too.

Vincent M

A: If it’s playing up when wet, it’s either an electrical problem or a dirty sensor. The same thing happens to lots of cars, not just Toyotas. First step is to clean the sensors, then avoid the unhelpful dealership and get to an auto electrician if it persists.

Q: I would like some clarity on my 2022 Skoda Fabia.

Can I put E10 fuel in my petrol tank?

Patricia L

A: E10 is fine for your Skoda. If you’re confused by the sticker inside the filler cap, it indicates both E5 and E10 – for Australia – are fine, with a fuel octane rating of 95. That’s generally the octane for E10 at most petrol stations.

Q: I am currently driving a Honda Civic VTi 1995, which has been very reliable and mechanically sound, but I want to upgrade.

I’m looking for an automatic medium-sized car, probably a small SUV hatch or small wagon, with a secondhand price between $10,000 and $15,000.

I normally only drive around 10,000 kilometres a year, mainly around the suburbs as the kids’ taxi driver.

I’m looking at the Mitsubishi ASX, Ford Focus, Hyundai i30 wagon, Peugeot 308 Tourer and Kia Cerato hatch, all from 2010 to 2014.

Fiona M

A: You will need to do some test driving, but the Hyundai and Kia – from the same umbrella company – both have a great reputation. Picking between a wagon and a hatch will be a personal choice, but they are the obvious front-runners. The ASX is the SUV choice, but will not be as good for suburban driving.

Q: I have owned three Toyota Camry sedans over the past 15 years and they have been reliable, roomy, good for local travel, and I’ve never had an additional cost with them.

Considering a change – including potential hybrid – as I’m about to retire and would like something that allows me to tow a four-berth van, also with some longer trips.

Space and reliability are critical, and hybrid is a consideration given we want car to last 6-10 years.

Ross C

A: You are spoiled for choice, but are likely to be going for some sort of SUV. Nissan has just updated its whole SUV family and there are some great cars, two with its own version of a hybrid drive system. Head there first to look at the small Qashqai and larger X-Trail, which are both available with the e-Power hybrid system.

Q: I was just looking for some advise and recommendations for a family-sized SUV as I currently have a Mazda CX-3.

We have a newborn baby, so we were wanting something that would fit a pram in the boot and a car seat and my partner is 6-foot-4 and he can’t sit in the front seat with the car seat behind him because of the lack of leg room.

We were looking for value for money, economical with petrol. Happy to buy second hand and we were wanting to trade-in the Mazda at the same time.

What were your thoughts on the Nissan X-Trail? Would it be worth buying new or second hand is pretty similar features?

Jaimi G

A: The Nissan X-Trail has just been completely overhauled and renewed, making it a class leader and an excellent choice. Go for the new one because it is vastly improved and will tick all your boxes.

Q: I currently drive a 1997 Corolla Seca hatchback and have been the only owner.

The car is now having transmission issues and I would have replaced it in 2020 as intended but COVID-19 hit and the cost of new and used cars went sky-high.

I have $30,000 to spend on my next car, which needs to work with my hobby of competing in dog agility and obedience events.

I need a car that has boot space to fit in all the stuff I take to the trials that include dogs crates that folded-down measure 90cm x 70cm, gazebo, chairs, cooler bags, travel bags etc.

Michele M

A: There are lots of small SUVs that should work for you, but look first at the Kia Stonic and Hyundai Venue. Both are in the small SUV class, but should match or better your Corolla for space.

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

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