26 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: Can you please tell me why different dealerships charge different prices?

I have a Hyundai i30 Activ and I need to replace the pollen filter and air-conditioning sanitiser.

One dealership wants to charge $248 and another says $139.

Melanie R

A: Dealerships, like all businesses, set out to make money. How they do it varies incredibly, by brand and location and size of dealership and so much more. But does the list of ’service items’ on the official service schedule include the pollen filter and sanitiser? Perhaps not, as this story of thing is another way to over-service to boost profits. So you might not need them replaced. In any case, depending on the age of your Hyundai it should have capped-price servicing for everything on the schedule.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Hyundai Venue and Kona for my teenage daughters?

Andrew D

A: The Venue is the smaller model and is the right pick for first-time drivers. It’s easier to handle and park, and will also save money. There is plenty of time to upgrade to the Kona when they are more likely to need space for family motoring.

Q: I’m just wondering if you can give me some advice on a secondhand ute, as I’m looking at a dual-cab ute that drives like a car rather than an off-roader.

Also need lots of legroom if possible. Both my son and myself are 6’5.

We live in country Victoria and would use it for general stuff, like moving wood and rubbish.

John K

A: Not one of the latest pick-ups in the one-tonne class drives like a car. Closest is the Ford Ranger. You could chance one of the old Commodore-based Crewman utes, but it will likely be very old with high kilometres, so the best bet is a Ranger.

Q: We are considering buying a new Hyundai Tucson Elite SUV.

Have you heard of any negatives about this vehicle?

Bruce C

A: Only one – a very long delivery delay. For a comparison, check the impressive new Nissan Qashqai – with a much shorter wait time.

Q: I picked my Skoda Karoq up in February this year and amongst features I wanted were the optional extra safety features.

I was dismayed when I received an email from Skoda Australia, telling me the adaptive lane guidance, traffic jam assist and emergency assist would not be fitted.

Personally I prefer to have the car as it should be, rather than accepting any compensation.

Is there any advice you could provide on the matter please?

Heather P

A: Your car has everything it needs for a five-star ANCAP safety score. And Skoda is not the only one doing ‘de-content’ work on cars. The extras are part of the move to autonomous cars, not something you will need in everyday driving. The Karoq will be fine, and very safe, as Skoda would not have provided an unsafe car. In this case, it would have meant a long delay to get the car fully loaded because there is still a giant global shortage of computer chips.

Q: My trusted vehicle, a Toyota RAV4 2010 model, has been so good, for so long, and I love it, but it has done very high kilometres and has serious transmission problems.

I feel it is time that I need to look at the option of replacing my vehicle.

Looking for your advice on suggestions of used car makes and models which could be a good replacement.

I need reliable, safe, and strong, comfortable, seating up high as with the RAV4, Melbourne driving, regional holidays, pack camping gear, long drives, and to safely pick up the grandkids.

In the meantime, I don’t have a car.

Fran S

A: The Kia Sportage will be a great choice, since prices for secondhand Toyota vehicles – and the RAV in particular – have soared. Also consider the Sportage’s twin from Hyundai, the Tucson, for a value comparison. As a third option, probably good on value, the Suzuki Vitara is a hidden gem.

Q: Just wondering what you thought of the new BMW X1 20i?

I’m coming out of a 2016 X3, so it’s about the same size.

Lisa T

A: The X1 is vastly different to the X3, sharing its basics with Mini models so more car-like and generally quieter and more refined. I drove an X1 recently and liked it, so it gets The Tick from me.

Q: In May 2017 I purchased a new 2016 VW Golf 92TSI Comfortline 1.4-litre 7 Speed and I have had the car serviced annually.

The factory warranty expired on 28 July 2019.

I took the car for its 90,000-kilometre service and was informed that the ‘Oil Separator’ is leaking and requires replacing at a cost of $830.00. This was indicated on last year’s service report but no-one pointed out to me that it had to be replaced.

My car has only done 21,503 kilometres and, admittedly, is out of warranty, but is there any chance that Volkswagen will have it replaced for me free-of-charge as a loyal VW customer.?

Mary D

A: Volkswagen, like most brands, can do what is called a ‘loyalty contribution’ if you’ve been loyal to them with servicing. It’s usually only the parts, but better than nothing. Best to contact VW Australia directly, but also push for help through the dealership as well.

Q: I have 2017 Ford Ranger Wildtrack 3.2 and unfortunately the engine has died after 140,000 kilometres.

Injector failure has meant hole in piston three and associated damage to turbo and injectors etc.

I’m really disappointed that Ranger flagship from Ford has died after 4 1/2 years.

Is it worth pursuing Ford for some compensation on this matter? During my period of ownership I have met all servicing requirements and I have been advised that Ford have some responsibility to help in this matter.

Chris M

A: Provided you have not modified the vehicle, and serviced through the Ford network, you can ask for a ‘loyalty contribution’. You need to go directly to customer assistance at Ford Australia, not just rely on the dealership. And the repairs will need to be done at a Ford dealership.

Q: I would like to know more about the Cupra.

I am wondering whether the initial plaudits about the Cupra are being reflected in the marketplace because, since I first became aware of this car, I have only seen one on the road.

Does this remain a worthy consideration?

Russell F

A: Cupra is a sporty brand in the Volkswagen family, but only just getting established in Australia. So don’t panic about spotting cars on the road as it is very early in the Cupra story. The cars definitely get good reviews and the Born electric car has just landed to very positive reviews.

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

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