27 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: I would like your thoughts on the Chery Omoda 5.

I am looking for an SUV for around the $30,000 mark and I came across this drive-away for $32,680.

Bruce A

A: The Omoda is new and completely unproven. Chery is a Chinese brand that’s new to Australia and, although the Omoda looks funky and the price is good, it’s too early to have a clear picture on things like quality and long-term reliability. It will be a risk, so cross-shop it against the Haval Jolion – also from China – and the impressive Hyundai Kona from South Korea that also starts for less than $30,000.

Q: I would still love your opinion on the next-generation Kia Sorento.

I have only seen spy shots and not much else.

Would you know when it will be available in showrooms. Looking at the GT line diesel. Recommend? Would you expect long wait times still?

Finally, is it worth putting down a deposit to get in the queue early?

Michael S

A: It will definitely be good, but there is no detail yet and not even any official pictures. The likely launch timing for Australia is in the third quarter of this year, so if you’re keen it would be smart to lodge an early deposit. As for the exact model, remember diesel engines are going out of favour and the GT Line will be loaded with equipment which means a longer wait while global supplies of microchips are still tight.

Q: I’m keen on the new Honda Civic but my wife not so much as she can’t get her head around paying $55,000 for a Civic.

I’m sure if it had an Accord badge she would agree to purchasing it.

So, is it over-priced? And what is your opinion of the new hybrid anyway?

Tim C

A: The new Civic is an excellent car and the hybrid makes a lot of sense for short trips. Remember the Civic has now become as big as an Accord in the cabin, so it should be roomy and the quality is also great. Only you can decide if the price is too high, but Honda Australia has decided to go for loaded models with a higher profit margin ahead of its traditional place with high volume cars to compete with Toyota.

Q: I have an opportunity to purchase a 2019 Mazda CX-8 AWD diesel twin turbo with 160,000 kilometres in perfect condition.

All service done by Mazda.

I know the owner and his driving style which is non-assertive.

I’d appreciate your opinion and thoughts on the vehicle and asking price which is around the low $30,000s.

Vin S

A: The CX-8 has a great reputation, but the price seems at the high end and more like what you would pay from a dealer.

Q: I am considering purchasing either a Volkswagen Golf or a Peugeot 308.

I’m thinking either low kilometres second-hand or brand new.

It would be the high specification version but not the GTI Golf.

Which one would you suggest?

Matt S

A: It’s mostly about your driving style and needs. The Peugeot is smooth, comfy and great for long trips, the Golf is more about short-haul suburban work. And there is always a (small) question mark about French cars in Australian conditions with things like air-conditioning, as well as the dealer network. A long test drive should give you the answers but I would go for the Golf.

Q: I am thinking of buying a car from a wholesaler in Melbourne as my brother in-law knows them quite well.

Just like to know your thoughts from buying from them and any pitfalls need to watch out for.

Charlie B

A: You really need to be sharp on mechanical knowledge and do lots of homework on any vehicle you are considering. You will save money but need to be fully prepared and able to identify any potential faults without any warranty back-up.

Q: My son loves to go bush and up the coast so is looking for a first vehicle to do this with light bush tracks and some sleeping for up to $15,000.

He is considering a Subaru Forester, Toyota HiLux or Prado, Land Rover Discovery, Holden Colorado, Mitsubishi Triton or Pajero.

He wants an automatic diesel with airbags.

We understand service history is most important at this price range, and that these sort of vehicle’s maintenance costs are high.

The preference is Toyota HiLux or older Prado.

Alternatively, as a father, I would prefer him to be sensible like his sisters and first purchase a Honda CR-V or similar then a 4WD later

Mark D

A: What he wants as a first car, with his budget, is asking for trouble. Far better to get a small hatch like a second-hand Hyundai i30. The only sensible choice would be a Suzuki Vitara, as all the others will be super-high kilometres or a ute trying to be a four-wheel drive.

Q: I’m thinking of buying a 2022 Mercedes GLC 300 coupe, a dealer demonstrator, at $114,000.

It will be used for daily driving and weekend trips for my wife and I, not really a family transporter.
Any other recommendations in this class or watch outs?

Ralf K

A: If it makes you smile then it’s a good choice, but you should also look at the latest 2033 GLC to make sure you don’t suffer ‘buyers’ remorse’. There is nothing to worry about with a Benz, but for cross-shopping you should test drive a Porsche Macan and perhaps a BMW X4 just to be sure.

Q: I am looking at the petrol Subaru Crosstrek and the hybrid Toyota Corolla Cross.

My hesitation with the Crosstrek is the price for pretty standard features.

Interested in your thoughts.

Andrea W

A: The wait time for any Toyota hybrid is huge at the moment, typically more than a year, which tilts things massively in favour of the Subaru. The Crosstrek is well equipped even as a basic L model but Subaru, like Honda, is now going for a premium position with a price to match. There is also a hybrid model if you’re looking for economy in the city and suburbs, and remember it has all-wheel drive, but it’s definitely not cheap.

Q: Could you advise me on the possibility of buying a Mitsubishi ASX?

I currently have a 2018 Mazda3 with 75,000 kilometres.

It is good but feels little on the road and I need to feel safe.

I am in my 70s and also considering a second-hand Kia Sportage.

Jan A

A: You should spoil yourself with the excellent Nissan Qashqai, which is as good as it gets right now in compact SUVs. It will cost a bit more but is considerably better than the ASX, while secondhand prices for the Sportage are inflated because of the long wait for new ones.

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

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