7 April 2024

Ask the Expert

| Paul Gover
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Hyundai Tucson

How does Hyundai’s Tucson stack up against Kia’s Sportage? Photo: James Coleman.

Q: I am wanting to purchase a Mazda MX-5 and would like your opinion on what generation or year I should focus on.

I don’t mind if it is the 2023 model down to 2000, but is there a standout model that is a ripper?

Would appreciate your advice as I know how much you love them.

Marianne Curnow

A: I nearly bought an MX-5 myself at the end of last year, and know the only one NOT to buy is the NC – the third-generation car – as it got heavy and a bit blunt. If it’s your first convertible, or you are worried about security, the folding hardtop models are the best ones. But, in every case and any case, they are a great toy car for fun driving.

Q: Which would you suggest is the better buy when it comes to these two performance cars – the Hyundai i30 N and Skoda Octavia RS wagon?

Only my wife and I will be in it, along with our two grandkids in child seats occasionally. We currently have a Skoda Kodiaq so it would be an easy transition into the Octavia, and we loved everything about it except the excessive road noise intrusion.

I’m very familiar with Hyundai’s N cars, having test-driven an i30 N hatch and owned an i20N for a short while.

Now the Octavia is dearer than the i30 sedan and has less power and ”theatrics” than the i30, but we love its looks and familiarity.

The Octavia seems more sensible, but the i30 seems more fun even though the Octavia made me smile lots on the test drive

John Tubb

A: I’d go for the Octavia RS – every time. It’s a far more grown-up and refined car, as a base, which means the fun stacks on top. Yes, it costs more, but it’s a ripper car. I put my car-head nephew into one and he loves it. On the noise front, of course a car on sports tyres will have more noise than your Kodiaq, but once you get through the first set of tyres you can easily change to something quieter.

READ ALSO Hyundai reckons today’s SUVs are all too same-same … enter Iron Man

Q: I have, I believe, heard you say over many years that a Ford Everest is built over the same chassis as a Ford Ranger.

My good friend, an Everest owner, has a different opinion.

Can you clear it up for me, please?

John Goldsmith

A: The Ford Everest is a spin-off – perhaps a spin-up – from the Ranger pick-up program. The mechanical basics are shared, including the chassis. It’s the same story for the Toyota HiLux/Fortuner.

Q: I want to buy a fun car for the beach and I’m considering a Volkswagen Golf convertible.

It’s a 2007, with a two-litre engine, six-speed auto with 97,000 kilometres for $11,000.

Your thoughts, please?

Ken Jolly

A: That is a very old car, even with relatively low kilometres. Get a pre-purchase inspection by the RACV to check for faults, and ensure it has a full factory service record. If you love it, you’ll probably buy it. But also consider a Mazda MX-5, even though it’s a bunch smaller.

Q: Is there any sedan on the market that will replace the Aurion Prodigy V6?

Do we have to now look at an SUV and if so, what would you suggest?

Debra Eustice

A: Head straight to your nearest Skoda dealer and check out the Octavia and larger Superb. They are both excellent sedans, also available as station wagons, and Skoda is part of the Volkswagen Group so a known quantity with a solid reputation.

Q: Can you please advise me what I can do with my brand new Kia Sportage while I’m away from home for two to three months?

I have been told I can put it on trickle charge, or disconnect the battery, but I’m worried how this will affect the electronics.

Do I just leave it sit for that period of time?

My neighbour offered to start it up and run it for a few minutes but I don’t really like that idea as I think it will do more harm than good.

Tess Rutland

A: Starting without driving is a non-starter, as it does nothing to warm and lubricate anything beyond the engine, and short trips will not be much better. It will be fine to sit, provided you hook it up to a trickle battery charger. Lots of exotic cars spend their lives mostly parked without problems and the brand I can recommend for trickle chargers is CTEK, which supplies Ferrari and Ducati among others. You can get a basic model from around $80.

Q: We have a 2015 Hyundai Tucson and I want to update to something newer.

Would you suggest another Tucson or the Kia Sportage, please?

Gordon Miller

A: Hyundai and Kia are part of the same company so, under the skin, the Tucson and Sportage are the same. What you need is a test drive and price comparison. Generally, a Kia model will be slightly more ”sporty” in the driving feel than a Hyundai. On pricing, the Kia has a longer warranty but you need to crunch the sums for exactly the same specification. So, basically, it’s a win-win for you.

Q: I have a 2022 Kia Sportage but when I purchased it I was informed that Kia does not print an owner’s manual and it is only available online.

When I completed the after-sales questionnaire, I noted my dissatisfaction with this and offered to pay for a hard copy to keep in my car but never received a reply.

Is this unique to Kia or are printed manuals going the way of the dodo?

Saving resources is all fine and well but some of us dodos like to have a printed information source to work with – personally, I would be happy for it to be an ”option”, for which I would be willing to pay.

Lisa Humphrys

A: Lots of carmakers have stopped printing owner’s manuals and, sadly, Kia is one.

Q: I have a 2014 Kia Sportage, which uses more than one litre of oil every 1000 kilometres, which has been the case for a while.

The vehicle has had all regular services, which shows that it is taking 15 litres every service interval.

As an example, I did 1600 kilometres in three months and had to put in 1.5 litres.

Could you let me know whether you’re aware of any issues with this vehicle?

Amanda McGinn

A: All engines use some oil and the latest oils, which are very thin to help when the engine is cold, make things more obvious. There have been owner complaints for more than five years and most makers, including Subaru and Volkswagen, say it’s not unusual for a car to need a top-up of around a litre for every 1000 kilometres. So your car is likely to be fine, so just keep an eye on the dipstick – as everyone did in the days of old-fashioned ”service stations”.

READ ALSO A little character goes a long way

Q: When I bought my first performance car about nine years ago, a Subaru WRX, you highly recommended that car and I have thoroughly enjoyed it from day one.

I am now looking at upgrading to a Hyundai i30 N premium DCT.

Would you recommend this car? Reviews so far have been positive.

Gilbert Yallappa

A: The N cars from Hyundai come highly recommended. Just for comparison, and perhaps something more aspirational, take a test drive in a Volkswagen Golf R. It’s so popular in Australia that it now outsells the Golf GTi, which has been a hero car since the 1970s. No reason not to buy the i30, but it’s always good to have something to compare.

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