READER QUESTIONS: Why do I have to wait months for a car?
What's going on with Kia? If you want the safety kit ($1000) with blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert on the new Cerato S or Sports, you have to wait up to three months as examples are not in stock. Who wants to wait that long? You'd be better off buying a Mazda3 Maxx with the gear included or a Hyundai i30 with the $1750 safety pack. Nuts.
Andrew Bolton, email
Love it when people get fired up over active safety. Waiting three months isn't unusual to get the specification you want, so I wouldn't be too harsh on Kia. Consumer choice is a wonderful thing, so the fact you can option such safety kit is a plus … as is the ability to go shop from a rival brand.
Do you have any idea why we have at least one driver a week crashing because they got their pedals confused? I know it's sometimes through hooning and losing control but why so many older drivers so suddenly?
Patricia Woolcock, email
Pedal confusion is all too common, sometimes with tragic, fatal consequences. Blessedly, car companies are putting tech in cars to make it less likely. A harsh reality is pedal confusion is most likely in the elderly due to physical or neurological deterioration. The current requirement is for a medical check at 75; some say this is insufficient and there must be on-road retests. In essence, you choose if you're still safe to drive. Can you imagine letting teenage learners decide independently whether they're safe to start driving?
My car insurance renewal notice was for $726. I noted this was after a 65 per cent deduction for the no claims bonus and 17.5 per cent loyalty discount - without these, it would have meant a premium of $2014. I thought this a bit rich so got quotes from other companies, which turned out to be $923, $836, $828 and $671. I called my current insurer when I challenged their quote and they got cranky. Motorists, check you're getting a fair deal.
Gil May, email
Same thing's happened to me, Gil, and it's perplexing how many insurers aren't loyal to existing customers. Without doubt, shop around before renewing your policy - but check you're comparing like-for-like in terms of excess and policy inclusions.
FINE PRINT V FIXED PRICE
My Hyundai Tucson's 12-month service was $9 more than the fixed price servicing handout given to me when I bought the vehicle. It's due for its 30,000km service soon and I'm concerned that the price will be more than the schedule again. Are they allowed to do this or can I take it up with consumer affairs?
Ray Tan, email
In short, don't waste your time. Fixed or capped price servicing is a great thing in principle, helping us budget for service costs without nasty surprises. Your fine print will state that Hyundai reserves the right to change its fixed price servicing to allow for things like inflation and higher labour rates, fluids and parts prices.
WHAT'S YOUR PRICE?
I've had lots of trouble finding the value of my 2012 Mazda6. It has 80,000km and is in perfect condition. Any idea on prices?
Milo Martin, via email
In my mind, your car is worth what someone else will pay for it. It depends a great deal on your exact model. Type your details into redbook.com.au for a good comparison. A look at online classified websites suggests a value of $13K-$17K, depending on which grade you own.
HOT HATCH HUNT
I'm in the market for a hot hatch with manual gearbox - and, due to garage space restrictions, about 4.3m long. I've been looking keenly at the Audi S3 but there aren't many other manual hatches around. Can you please advise drive-away prices and options - but not VW as I think its design is 10 years old.
Roger Bramwell, email
Great question, you're welcome at my local pub car chat any time. The S3 is a cracking choice if you can afford the $65K sticker price. A BMW M140i ($65K) will be more mischievous rear-wheel drive fun. If you want to save cash (for fuel and tyre bills), try the Ford Focus RS ($48K), Hyundai i30 N ($45K), Peugeot 308 GTi ($50K) and coming Renault Megane RS 280 ($48K), all prices approximate and drive-away. Seriously, you can't go wrong. My current crush is the Hyundai for sheer value.
Re Fiat 500s. My mauve TwinAir also gets a lot of looks. On the flip side I have a 2014 HSV GTS, which I use very little around town as the Fiat is ideal.
George Ermer, email
You know how a Great Dane and a Chihuahua are both breeds of dogs, yet so monumentally different? That's your cars. Much respect.
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