26 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: My number one grand-daughter had finally saved up enough money and was looking very forward to delivery on the April 14 of a new Hyundai Kona.

She then got a phone call from the dealer to tell her that it could be months before she will get it.

The whole shipment of cars has been contaminated and there has been no more news to her.

As you would know it has shot her down and totally upset her.

Peter M

A: This problem has been happening since last October. It’s not the fault of the car companies, just a huge backlog in quarantine clearances because of contamination on the export docks involving leaves and seeds and other organic rubbish. All cars have to be checked by quarantine and then, if necessary, individually cleaned. The backlog is about 10,000 cars so there will be a wait, but there is nothing – honestly – that can be done by Hyundai or the dealership.

Q: I currently drive a 2012 Ford Fiesta and it’s been a really good car over the years.

However, after 206,000 kilometres and counting I feel that I’m ready for a change.

What can you recommend in the same category up to two years old and a budget of around $20,000.

Marsh P

A: The best small cars are now priced from around $24,000 so with your budget you’ll be chasing a near-new car with plenty of remaining warranty. Look first at the Kia Cerato for a good car and good value. As a fall-back, try a Suzuki Swift.

Q: I’m thinking of buying a Mazda3 G20 Touring Vision.

I want to know your thoughts and opinions on this car and whether it is worth the investment.

Kath C

A: It’s a good car, not the best value these days against the South Koreans – Kia and Hyundai – but definitely worth The Tick from me.

Q: I seem to be seeing there are daily occurrences of car fires.

Why do you think this is?

Harry B

A: The television pictures you see are not representative of mechanical problems – more about very big crashes and people burning vehicles they have stolen. The television stations are also jumping on any footage, typically from the USA, of electric cars on fire. So there is no change at all, and nothing extra to worry about, just people looking for sensationalist footage to draw viewers.

Q: I have a 2015 Ford XLT Ranger and still in very good condition and looking at changing over to a new Wildtrak.

I have heard that they are looking at producing a hybrid version, so should I wait a couple of years for this?

I have done 165,000 kilometres in my existing one which I have had from new and no major problems.


A: There is no firm timetable, or pricing, for a Ranger hybrid. So it could be a long wait with a premium price. Right now, the all-new Ranger is easily the best in class and it’s a good time to join the waiting list as there are already short supplies.

Q: I am looking at a second-hand ute around the $15,000 mark.

I’m thinking of a 4×2 Toyota HiLux and wondering if there are any pros or cons for reliability?

Rosco M

A: The HiLux is the benchmark and excellent on all fronts – except pricing. You will pay thousands more just for a Toyota badge, so also consider a Nissan Navara or Mitsubishi Triton with the same budget and see how much extra you can get.

Q: We have the first Tickford Ford Fairlane which is one of 105 built in 1998.

Would it be worth keeping?

Paul W

A: If you love it you should always keep it. But if you’re keeping it as an investment, you won’t see much of a return as the Fairlane models are not very collectable, despite being a semi-performance luxury car built in Australia.

Q: I am wanting to buy a mid-sized SUV that is good on fuel and very reliable.

I have a budget of $40,000 or less.

Look forward to hearing from you

​Ray O

A: There are dozens of potential contenders, although many including the best models from Hyundai-Kia-Toyota have very long waiting lists. Right now, the Nissan Qashqai is all-new and ticks the boxes for you, and should also have a relatively short wait. There is also a hybrid model which would be excellent if it you can stretch your budget a little for benchmark economy.

Q: I would be grateful for your views on the current Volvo XC40 B4.

I’m wondering about the driving experience and reliability and any other comments you might like to offer.

Kevin S

A: The basic design of the XC40 is getting on a bit, but it’s still a very good car and I’m impressed by the design and the way it works as a highway touring car. It gets The Tick, and also scores bonus points because the mechanical platform is also used by Polestar underneath it’s battery electric Polestar 2 model.

Q: We are very close to purchasing the 2023 Volkswagen T-ROC with the 2.0 litre engine and options with panoramic sunroof, R-Line package, electric tailgate and heated leather seats.

It’s costing $50,000 with a five-year warranty.

Do you think this is a good car and deal?

The only problem is some safety features will be missing, because of the circuit chip shortage.

Leonard L

A: You should put safety ahead of things like a sunroof, which will be worth zero on a second-hand vehicle. The T-ROC is definitely a good vehicle, and gets The Tick from me, but only you can decide if it’s a good deal.

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