3 October 2023

Ask the Expert

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By Paul Gover

Q: I have concerns with my 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan.

It has done about 60,000 kilometres and I have it serviced every year at 15,000-kilometres intervals at the dealership where I purchased it.

Between each service the oil light comes on and I have to attend the dealership to have the oil topped up.

I have had an engine replaced in a previous car, once before, under warranty due to a very similar issue. My concern is the oil consumption will eventually lead to me having to replace the engine outside of warranty.

Within the last 12 months the dealership have made, and are handing out, ‘One free oil top-up’ cards at services.

I have raised my concerns with the dealership service manager and they insist that it is completely normal and is within specifications, but I do not see how it is acceptable to purchase a brand-new vehicle and be required to top up the oil between services.

Steven Beasley

A: Why would any car run for a full year without an oil top-up? And how often do you check the oil – something which has always been the owner’s responsibility since the dawn of motoring.? Modern cars have spoiled people. From my experience over more than a decade, checking for other owners, it’s normal for a Volkswagen to use up to one litre of oil for every 1000 kilometres. The ‘Top-up’ cards are likely a loyalty scheme as much as any precautionary measure.

Q: I’m thinking of buying an 8-10 year-old BMW X6 SUV with around 100,00 kilometres and a turbodiesel engine.

Is there anything I should be wary of?


A: The X6 is just an M5 in a fancy suit. No known dramas and a good choice.

Q: In December 2016 I bought a brand-new 2015-build Ford Everest Titanium and have since done about 100,000 kilometres and always had it serviced at Ford.

It just had what the Ford mechanic called a catastrophic turbo failure, possibly a bearing going through the turbo and then the whole engine.

It’s going to cost over $22,000 to fix, and I will only get a 12 month-20,000 kilometres warranty on it.

They can’t tell me why it happened and they can’t ensure that it won’t happen again.

The mechanic contacted Ford but they said they won’t fix it as it’s out of warranty.

I am thinking that, even if I do get it fixed, I should get a new car. What would you recommend as a replacement with 6-7 seats, under $80,000?

Jacqui McCulloch

A: Bad things sometimes happen and for no reason. If you have always serviced through a Ford dealership, you can request a ‘loyalty contribution’ which usually produces a 50 per cent contribution to the parts’ bill. But you need to go directly to customer service at Ford Australia. There are lots of large family SUVs, with the Hyundai Santa Fe as my top price in that price range – but if you can stretch a bit the Genesis GV80 and Volkswagen Touareg are definitely worth a look.

Q: We have a 2019-build 200-Series GXL LandCruiser that has a sooty black exhaust.

We took it to our local Toyota dealer in Geelong and they had it for a day linking it up to a computer and testing it. They say there appears to be a problem with the Diesel Particulate Filter, which is what we suspected as friends have had a similar issue.

Results have been sent to Toyota to have them assessed, which may take up to eight weeks before the dealer gets a reply, and then there will probably be a further delay while the parts are secured, and the job done, which takes 2-4 days.

In the meantime, we have had to abandon our plans to use the car for towing, as we do not want to be in a situation of the car going into limp mode whilst towing. We have had the car since new and it has only done 58,251 kms and we’re very unhappy that It is going to take so long to rectify this situation.

We realise that Toyota are probably not in a hurry to spend approximately $11,000 on the fix, under warranty, but it does seem to be an unacceptable time frame if the parts are available, particularly as we understand that this problem has been the subject of a Toyota Service Bulletin.

Karen & Jeremy Bowler

A: So you think a multi-billion-dollar company would delay your work for the sake of $11,000? Do not rely on the dealership, but take things directly to customer service at Toyota Australia. It’s a known problem and they are being as helpful as possible. But there are still giant shipping delays on car parts, at all brands, which could be delaying things. Also remember there are lots of vehicles with the same drama.

Q: When Lexus first appeared, critics joked that it was a jazzed-up Toyota Camry with a fancy badge, but no-one laughs or jokes about the Lexus brand now.

I am a very happy early adopter and purchaser of the Hyundai fully-electric Kona Highlander, which I purchased brand-new in June 2020.

As I am in the final year of my lease, I am thinking of upgrading one of our other family cars and am considering Hyundai’s own ‘Lexus brand’, Genesis.

I know that Genesis is not considered posh in South Korea and that most taxis there are from that brand.

Genesis does not have much traction here in Australia and sadly, we saw Infiniti (Nissan’s ‘Lexus brand’) fail in Australia, whereas Infiniti is super popular and a terrific seller in the USA.

So I am asking you for your opinion and experience, as the only downside of my Hyundai Kona Highlander experience is that it is a bit small for my needs and requirements.

I would want something of the promised size of the Genesis GV90 but not sure of its arrival date in Australia or the pricing.

Charlotte Berger Frajman

A: Genesis is doing great cars and the battery-electric GV70 is a ripper mid-sized prestige SUV. No reason to think the bigger 90 would be any different, but there is no confirmed plan. As for Genesis in Korea and Australia, remember the first cars – so popular with hire car drivers – were actually part of the Hyundai line-up, before Genesis went fully ‘Lexus’ with a separate luxury division.

Q: My wife is wanting to buy either a new Kia Cerato Sport or a Hyundai I30 Active.

Is one better than the other?

Which would you recommend?

Paul Purches

A: Those two are the same car under the skin, as Hyundai-Kia is one company in South Korea. The i30 has a slightly better reputation, but the Cerato Sport is a slightly sportier drive and Kia has two extra years of factory warranty. Drive both before you decide.

Q: I am on the verge of buying my son’s MG ZST 1.3 turbo from him as he doesn’t want it anymore.

It’s only done 2500 kilometres and was purchased brand-new in June.

He prefers the new Hyundai i30.

I have read so many reviews on the MG and, for every glowing tale, there is an equal number of horror stories. Just wondering what your thoughts are? I have a nagging doubt as to performance and reliability with the MG.
I have been spoilt by driving a Toyota Camry RZ 2014 for the last nine years and it has performed flawlessly. Typical Toyota.
David Puddy

A: MG is a cheapie Chinese brand and the sales success of the ZS is based on price. Your son selling after just 2500 kilometres should be an alarm bell. The Camry is a vastly better car, but yours is very old and the MG will have much better technology. Help your son, definitely, but the ZS is not a Toyota.

Q: I’ve had the mid-spec version of the Isuzu MUX-LSU on order since December last year.

Firstly it was arriving July this year, then September, then December, and has been put back again to February next year.

Does this seem to be the average wait times?

It’s nothing special, other than being Obsidian Grey.

Are all dealers having the same issues? Is it component issues, freight issues . . . does anyone really know?

It annoys me with the amount of advertising they do, as their Model Year 2023 was released December last year, but won’t be available to me until next year.

I’ve heard the new model is being released next year, but am also guessing that won’t be available when they say it will be…

Kerrie Yeates.

A: All brands are still having big delays, from factory problems after Covid through to shipping delays and then quarantine backlogs at Australian ports. Your experience is not remotely unusual, although that is no help with the frustration on delays. Isuzu has even been changing arrival ports to try and get vehicles faster.

Q: I’m looking at buying a hybrid SUV car for around $40,000-60000 and was originally looking at a Toyota RAV4, but looking at a two-year wait.

At the most I’m happy to wait up to six months so have you any suggestions?

A good-quality hybrid medium SUV.


A: You should go for the Nissan Qashqai hybrid. It’s a classy affordable SUV and uses a different hybrid system where the car always runs electric, with a combustion engine to charge the battery. Definitely a good choice and the wait list should be shorter than Toyota.

Q: I have had an order for the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 in for nearly 18 months, so I follow a few Silverado facebook pages and am getting very concerned with the number of reports of engines blowing up, especially in very young new utes.

Everyone still seems to love the utes, but I’m getting very concerned about the whole inconvenience of the likely ordeal should the motor blow.

I chose the ZR2 for its kinda ready-made off-road capabilities, whilst giving me the towing (caravan and horse float) power. I will take the ute touring/off road.

Also following some RAM pages and they don’t seem much better.

I have noticed the Ford F150 base model is cheaper, so maybe I modify that later for off-road.

Should I just roll the dice with the ZR2? It does seem that once the motor blows and is replaced it’s smooth sailing thereafter, I just don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere when it happens.

Matt Dixon

A: Somewhere on the interwebs there is a horror story about every make and model. It’s a digital rabbit hole, and it’s also a proven fact that more people complain than praise a car – or even a restaurant or hotel. Are the engine failures even in Australia? Local owners have made zero complaints to me so I fail to see how it’s “rolling the dice”. So the Ford F150 is cheaper, but have you investigated delivery times or engines?

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