Q: We are looking at a second car and I drove an MG5 and quite liked it and so [I’m] now considering buying one. I have two questions for you however: 1. How can it be sold in Australia when I just read it has zero stars for collision safety? 2. What will happen to [its] future resale value as I would imagine dealers may not want to trade it in?
A: The MG5 has to pass Federal Government requirements, which it does, but ANCAP is a totally separate organisation and program with its own 5-star rating system. If you’re talking collision safety, you need to look specifically at the results for impact testing. ANCAP does heavy markdowns if a vehicle does not have the latest ‘anti-crash’ systems, but does not split results between protecting the occupants and protecting cyclists and pedestrians, or even having windows that operate under water. As for the MG itself, the brand is too new in Australia to get a proper read on reliability or resale.
Q: I am being told that the colour I want in a Suzuki Jimny XL, ‘Kinetic Yellow’, is not available even though I have seen pictures of them. Do you know if this is correct?
A: The bright yellow you love is available on the regular Jimny, but not the five-door XL, here in Australia. The decision was taken to limit the number of colours down under, to make things easier for the Suzuki importer, and it missed the cut. The only solution for you would be to get a vinyl wrap on the car.
Q: I purchased the new Hyundai Kona premium, delivered last September, and was advised there would be an update for the wireless Apple CarPlay. I have contacted the dealership and was advised they have no idea when it’s coming. Do you have any information on this?
A: The official reply from Hyundai Australia is: “We had technicians testing wireless Apple CarPlay in market (i.e. in Australia) late last year; if all goes to plan an OTA (over the air) update is expected to be released for Kona and 2024 Sonata customers in the coming months.”
Q: Sadly after 19 years I think it is time I moved on from my 2004 Subaru WRX, that I love, with 181,000 km on the clock. I think I should try and sell my Rex privately to get the best price and [I’m] also thinking that at this stage in life (I’m 61) it’s time to be my own boss and try life as an Uber driver. So I am thinking that if I get a newish car, advice from some people is I should definitely be looking at a hybrid for this. From research so far and a budget – I’m thinking around $30,000 (depending on what I get for the Rex) that my best option would be a Camry Hybrid. Probably around a 2017-2020 with around 80,000 [km] on the clock. Thoughts please?
A: You have landed on exactly the right car, as the Camry Hybrid ticks all the right boxes for Uber work. Especially the excellent air-conditioning and the boot and back-seat space. It should give you a big push for a five-star driver rating. As for selling the WRX, you will probably be flooded so sell it yourself but be vigilant against possible scammers.
Q: I would like your opinion/advice on the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Highlander and Kia Sorento GT-Line petrol automatic. I have been driving a 2018 Mercedes-Benz C250 and love the safety and electronic gadgets. I was going to upgrade my C250 to the C300 or GLC300 but prices are too high for me. I have test driven the Santa Fe and Sorento and like the Santa Fe’s drive and Sorento’s tech gadgets. In my view the Santa Fe has better quality finishings than the Sorento but I wanted your opinion. Also, Kia dealers told me that the diesel option is the way to go with [the] Sorento as [the] petrol version is almost impossible to get, but I don’t like the diesel engine noise.
A: Are you aware that Hyundai-Kia is one company in South Korea? So the two vehicles are essentially twins – under the skin. Based on your dislike for the diesel engine, go for the Hyundai, which is also a smart choice with so many people wanting a hybrid. Just be prepared for a long wait on delivery.
Q: I am 50 and finally can drive a car I want to drive with no kids and just me and my fur baby. I’m looking at crazy fun cars: Mazda MX-5, BMW 1/2 Series, Mercedes SLK, Audi A2. All convertibles, two or four doors but compact. Looking at used, demonstrator, possibly new. Your best pick and why for $60,000 maximum, please?
A: It’s very hard to go past a Mazda MX-5, but it’s only a two-seater and can be noisy and a bit harsh on a long highway run. The SLK is a nice, relaxed touring car, the BMW sporty models are best if you’re choosing for driving enjoyment.
Q: [We] would appreciate some feedback on run-flat tyres. We have a Mercedes-Benz GLB250 standard with run-flats but, as we live in the country at Phillip Island, are having trouble sourcing replacements. We would like to fit standard tyres [and] understand we would have to buy a spare alloy rim and tyre, which we accept. Are there any problems we should be aware of? Our insurance company has approved [the choice] but [the] Benz dealer [is] making it hard with so many safety reasons why not, however it does not affect the car warranty as tyres are not included.
John & Kaye Boreham
A: Run-flats are not great for rural Australia and it should be relatively easy to switch to a conventional tyre that suits your car and rims. But beware as some cars have specific run-flat alloys and you might have to buy five new rims in addition to the tyres. The Benz dealer is working for the Benz dealer, not you, and you should check other Benz models that don’t have run-flats as proof. Finally, check there is space for a full-sized spare in the back of the car.
Q: Just wondering if I can have your advice on what car you would recommend to buy an 18-year-old boy who will be getting their licence next month. As it would be their first car we are looking at spending up to $10,000. Any advice?
A: The Suzuki Swift is a great starter car and would be a smart pick on that budget. But also buy the boy a proper safe-driving course as that’s the best thing to do, even beyond 5-Star safety, to protect him on the road.
Q: I currently drive a Holden Commodore SV6 2016 wagon and am looking to replace it with a new car. I do like my Commodore but feel it’s time to replace it. I have around $60,000 to $70,000 to spend and have a small camper trailer and enjoy getting away, but I don’t go four-wheel driving beyond some gravel roads. I do a reasonable number of kilometres of highway driving for work and I feel like I need to go down the SUV line as that’s where the money is being spent making them the best at present. I look forward to hearing from you to see what you recommend; I have test driven a new Ford Ranger and like it but [I’m] not sure if that’s the way to go.
A: Who says SUVs are best – and definitely not the Ranger which is a truck when you are coming out of a car. My first stop would be a test drive with a Subaru Outback, which is close to the station wagon layout of your Commodore, with modern safety, comfort and infotainment.