7 November 2023

Ask the expert

| Paul Gover
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The Porsche Cayman GT4 RS is an all-out road racer from one of the world’s great car companies. Photo: Supplied.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 RS is an all-out road racer from one of the world’s great car companies. Photo: Supplied.

Q: I need help as I’m unsure which car to pick. I’m looking at Porsches, the base and S and GTS. Not sure about the EV range. Or perhaps a basic Boxster 718. It’s just me and the husband.

Mary Christodoulou

A: You’re very lucky to have a Porsche budget and the 911 is the iconic car and the one to get. The GTS is the best package and a car to love. The electric Taycan is very quick, but also very big and too much when you only need two seats. The Boxster is lovely but the four-cylinder engine is underwhelming.

Q: We are confused about our next step. Should we buy a big ute for touring and a sedan or SUV for our other car? My husband and I are in our mid-60s and are looking to buy a large four-door ute. We currently own a 2016 Toyota Sahara LandCruiser which has done 200,000 kilometres and our Toyota dealer has told me he can get at least $75,000 for it.

We also have a 2022 GLX four-door LandCruiser ute which has done 7000 kilometres. We are not happy with this ute, but should get in excess of $90,000. Our son has a 2020 Sahara LandCruiser that we could buy from him that has done 100,000 kilometres.

What is your opinion on 1500 RAM versus Ford Ranger versus Chevrolet Silverado versus VW Amarok versus Toyota HiLux? We are looking at comfort, ease of driving and towing capacity. We do have a long caravan to tow, which we currently tow with the Sahara with ease.

Bernadette Bulmer

A: The LandCruiser is the benchmark for large SUVs and no pick-up, not even the Ford Ranger, will be a match for comfort and long-distance driving. The RAM and Silverado are just plain huge, terrible for parking and not great for the economy. Too many people buy a pick-up for the wrong reasons. The best advice would be to get your son’s LandCruiser.

Q: My husband is looking at purchasing a Subaru Forester 2.5i AWD and would love your opinion on the car. He will be wanting it for city and country driving and also some off-road/track driving. At present, he drives a 2007 Nissan X-Trail. He is also wanting your opinion on the Subaru Forester Hybrid L which he knows will not be available until next year. Is it worth waiting?

A: The latest Forester is a lovely car and will easily do what he needs and wants. Definitely more enjoyable than an old X-Trail. The hybrid will be helpful if most of the driving is around town, but you also need to weigh up the extra cost.

Q: My wife and I are looking to purchase an SUV for pulling a 3-tonne van with a ball weight of around 250 kilos. Was thinking of the Ford Sport Everest but we may need to fit rear airbags in the suspension. My heart tells me Toyota LandCruiser 300 but my head and wallet tell me Ford. We would appreciate your thoughts on how the Ford stacks up for towing and reliability. My wife does not want a big car so looking for something to be an all-rounder for us.

Darren Wright

A: Anything to tow three tonnes will not be small, as you know with the LandCruiser. An Everest is an SUV based on the Ranger pick-up, so not as refined as family-focussed SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe. It will be fine for your needs but you wife is likely to be disappointed.

Q: I am looking at buying a Musso Ssangyong for myself and an MG for my partner.
Should I?

Paul Salv

A: Both are midfield players, at best, but are good value. If you’re buying on a budget they will do the job – but don’t expect a class leader.

Q: Can you please offer any recommendations for a used car? It will need to be big enough to accommodate two child seats and a pram for children aged two and four. The budget would be about $20,000. Thank you for any advice you can provide that can steer us in the right direction.

Sharron Dragon

A: Don’t be suckered into an SUV, as you can get the same space, more convenience and much better value in a sedan or station wagon. A Skoda Octavia wagon would be perfect and is much under-appreciated in Australia, so prices are not too high.

Q: Can you recommend three or four medium-sized cars mainly do short trips? I need to have a boot for a medium-sized dog and I have three kids. Medium range price.

Maryann Smith

A: The Skoda Octavia will be brilliant, but you’re probably confusing a car with an SUV. If you’re buying new, the latest Nissan Qashqai is a good car and great value. Best to test drive an Octavia wagon against the Qashqai as you will be surprised by the comfort, space and convenience in a traditional station wagon.

Q: I drive a Peugeot 508 and was initially looking at another sedan but have decided on a small SUV instead. Currently, I like the Kia Seltos, Kia Niro Hybrid and the Mazda CX-30. Would you recommend any of these or is there something else I should consider with a price limit of $60,000?

Nicole Bush

A: If you’re already in the Peugeot family you should definitely test drive the 5008 and smaller 3008, as they are classy with great comfort. The Seltos is considerably smaller but fine as a city car, and the CX-30 is nicely equipped, but don’t overlook the impressive new Nissan Qashqai and consider waiting to get the hybrid model.

Q: I have an 80-year-old friend and she drives a six-year-old Mitsubishi ASX and wants to buy a new car. She wants something smaller and is looking at a Kia Stonic. What are your thoughts or a suggestion for an alternative?

Mark Posch

A: The Stonic gets The Tick from me but she could have a long wait as it’s very popular.

Q: My son is after a new cheap ute. Are these utes from China any good? He is looking at GWM and LDV. Which is the better one? Or are there other Chinese brands worth looking at? The ute won’t be a workhorse or tow anything heavy.

Marlene Devereaux

A: The Chinese pick-ups trail well behind the class-leading Ford Ranger, but are affordable. Based on feedback from owners, the LDV is the better choice.

Q: We have a Kia Cerato, which is a great car but just a bit small now for what we want. We are perhaps considering a Kia Sportage or a Mitsubishi ASX.
I was wondering what your thoughts on these vehicles are or would you consider something else of similar size? We could only go used.

Shane Garland

A: The Sportage is the right choice and there will be plenty around to suit your budget.

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