Which new or used car suits you?
New or used which is best for you?
For some car buyers the choice has always been clear in the past......
They will buy a new car.
- They have bought the same make of new car every year or two regardless and have been happy with their choice so far. (This may need a re-think.)
- They trade up to the latest model through a buy back contract with the same dealership where they get a fixed trade in price for their car at a set time or mileage.
- They have been buying the same make of car for years now, they are happy with it, they enjoy driving it and the new one has something more to offer than the old model.
- They have used the same dealership for years and are comfortable with the service and make no matter what they sell.
New car buyers beware! Things have changed.
- Many big well respected brands are no longer being made by the original manufacturer and are being outsourced entirely.
- the quality of warranty and service has often dropped off as a result of the mechanics working on and servicing unfamiliar "branded" vehicles. Vehicles now manufactured in another country and not understood or respected by your local service mechanics often get second rate service.
- A financier or banker is deciding the next model to be made, and some guys in a third world country is then assembling it to cut costs further.
The other question remains for me ........., were these one brand new car buyers getting a great car and service every time after the smaller companies got swallowed up? ... or are they as green as grass and being shredded for thousands of dollars yearly?
Do they put it down to a run of bad luck when they suddenly need a new motor for their Renault because the dealer lied about changing the timing belt at the appropriate mileage because it is near impossible to get to it and change it?
Is it OK to expect the valves to get embedded in the pistons with under 100,000 on the clock because of bad new car service or pay extra for an inherent stupid design like in the case of one European maker who uses motors in many of their cars where the cam belt is buried behind two casings?
Up to $1200 dollars to change a timing belt on one of these !
With a propensity to dump the cam chain tensioner at 30,000klms, it probably needs the cam-belt replaced every three years or 30,000 klms to be assured of not destroying the motor when the cam chain tensioner dies. That is ......... if you don't lose a motor through running it dry because of poor re-assembly by the mechanic taking shortcuts. Happens all the time.
The idea is to avoid buying one of these puppies in the first place!
Some people will accept almost any level of service or new car problem but with knowledge you don't have to accept poor design or servicing is what I'm saying here.
VW Bug and babe
SS100 Jaguar (Swallow)
The motor industry now.
Personally I don't believe in the tooth fairy, and the above scenario mostly fits people who would not know a piston from a piss-tin and think their kids will never try alcohol.
Look it happens, there are good dealerships who fully support their customer when the new car they bought has serious problems, but bloody rarely since they are now servicing far too many "branded" vehicles!
A bit of slack can be cut for some of them, I can't recall any make of
car that has not made some mistakes, but so many are dead set lemons for one of a dozen reasons in today's ever changing automotive industry.
I have a few things I reckon are worth pondering before you part with all that money for a new car today.
Firstly you should be aware by now that the motor industry has been torn to shreds, with old brand names like Jaguar and so many others being manufactured by companies in countries that are pretty new to making quality high end cars.
Jaguar which was all hand crafted back when it was the transport of well healed Englishmen is now in the hands of the world's largest auto maker Tata in India.
I do not expect to see Jaguar become a legend again soon, and suspect the name will die along with all the others that have fallen by the wayside, or have come to represent something entirely out of step with their origins.
Honda Accord Euro
Which new car to buy in today's market?
Anyone who knows my background will know that I have owned quite a few Honda cars and bikes, and worked on many, building and rebuilding their motors for racing motorcycles and doing countless services and preventative maintenance on their cars.
Two major factors I consider to be good reasons for buying a new Honda ...... Reliability and minimal design faults.
Honda mechanical design and layout is good for long term ownership too, with easy servicing and high quality components. Plastic covers and wiring layouts are superbly designed, which means much easier re-assembly without plastic breakage and frustration in the workshop.
Used Honda resale values are very high for this reason amongst others. Brakes, exhaust and other major consumables are easy to service and long lasting as well.
The company is in stable ownership and spare parts are seldom a problem.
I have to say Honda have made a couple of poor design decisions like the rear hatch lock on the "breeze", the arm rests on the early "City Pro T", or "Life" as it was marketed in America, the fuel pumps on some early accords come to mind as well, but there have been others.
The same design fault list for many other brands is exhaustive, and I may write another hub about that too!
Tough, well built.
Subaru are owned by Fuji Heavy Engineering company, and what many may not know, is that they built high quality motor scooters back in the 1960's as well as machinery and other vehicles.
Their scooter was called a "Rabbit" and the 250cc "Rollermatic" .. (terrible name) had the best automatic transmission on any motor scooter available in the world in my view. The machine was beautifully designed and very comfortable and fast.
Like the Rabbit, the boxer or flat four cylinder motor design that Subaru decided on for their cars, and ran for so many years got better with time, but was always remarkably reliable.
The early air-cooled Volkswagen and Porche had boxer motors too and they were good also. The Porsche having superior crankcases, proven by VW's cases misaligning after one too many rebuilds.
The Subaru engine is very well engineered. I believe up to the standard of the famous "Goldwing" Honda motor in their touring bike range. I have owned two of these bikes, and the motor is near indestructible and beautifully supported and aligned crankcases is the secret to longevity in both the Honda and Subaru motors.
Works of art both of them. Not just likeable engineering, Lick-able engineering! Some metal is just so beautifully treated it makes me want to lick it!
I got to love so many alloys in my youth from my fathers love of melding metals. This was heavily re-enforced by my motorcycle experience, especially moto cross bikes when all the magnesium alloys and dural components got their start in motorcycle racing.
Subaru's earliest model cars still keep going, and their standard of engineering has always been exemplary as demonstrated by the longevity of their products and the associated reputation the company enjoys world-wide and especially in Japan.
The company has stable ownership and few spare parts problems.
The current line up are well designed, well proven products with a strong resale value and long life.
Their "Forester" is a fine vehicle, and the other models including the super fast WRX are now very strong. There were some weaknesses in the drive train of the WRX, but they are sorted now. As for their sedans? I like them very much.
Nicer ride than many other cars in their class too.
BMW have been very innovative of late getting great fuel economy and low emissions from their petrol and diesel engines.
The 5 series has been a favourite car of mine since being presented with one the first time in Malaysia, where I used a top of the range with the little 2 litre motor allowed in Malaysia.
It went very well despite the small motor size, and I later drove the same car with a 4 litre V8. It was very sweet, with a great engine management system that provided an idle Rolls Royce would have been proud of.
The company is stable, makes the excellent BMW Mini replica and their flagship sedan is probably one of the worlds best. BMW parts can be expensive, and sometimes delays are experienced with drive shaft components and other technical parts that are not commonly replaced otherwise spare parts are fine.
The complex computer reporting is very good and also provides an accurate history of the cars past problems when purchased used. Sensors servos and electronics are reliable and well integrated, well made and long-lasting.
I would not buy a top of the range BMW new. If you are cautious you can save 30- 50k on new price for a current series with little mileage.
The smaller BMW sedans, rag tops and coupes have strong proven drive trains and are well sorted. I would not be so keen on their Z4 as it has a history of drive train problems, mainly a weak clutch and some gearbox problems only reported by people who tried to drive them hard, but not a good sign.
R8 Audi behind the wheel
If you can afford an Audi you probably won't be disappointed. I do not like their little 2 door "TT" much as it looks better than it delivers, I first drove the early model which sounded great but was downright gutless!
The bigger donk helps, but it is no more exciting to drive than a Renault sports car, which I find dead boring.
The rest of the range is very nice, the 8 is absolutely first class to drive, if a little firmer than you might expect in the suspension. The power is awesome as are brakes and handling.
The company is owned by VW, (not a bad thing necessarily,) but too much movement in the camp for me to be confident in this brand's future.
The cockpit in the 8 is a drivers dream of placement... up to a point.
Looking ahead through the beautifully sculptured steering wheel, the vital information is right where it should be, but the fine dials although classy are too hard to take in at a glance compared to some much cheaper rides, not great in my book, more readable dials would help.
To your side are a jumble of controls as messy as any of the other top priced cars, so no win there. But to drive? Beautiful!
The 8 is throaty, fast, smooth and quiet. It reeks of class, but the interior although great in some ways with superb seats, just is not what it should be. The interior design looks modern but the layout feels a bit dated to me.
Hyundai Genesis coupe
Yep! A Korean in here! The Hyundai range was basically the old Mitsubishi drive train originally and was a bit weak. The drive train on many models inherited weaknesses from their designers and they were not something you wanted to keep too long!
Their small car named the "excel" in Australia has always been fairly good. Not flash but good basic transport.
Their Sonata 4 was a dog in my view. I bought a new one and sold it at 35,000 klms as I could feel both the motor and transmission were no longer crisp. First signs of a "soft" car.
The transmission gave trouble from day one, and continued to miss-change all the time I owned it.
I sorted it before I sold it, but got nowhere until I spoke to the CEO for Australasia and they sorted it in one day.
I had been telling them for over a year. Throw the bloody valve assemblies away and fit real ones!
The newer Hyundai is another matter, challenging Japan with good assembly and quality materials they have come a long way. Although very good and getting better, they are not a Honda, no where near it. You get what you pay for if you're lucky, and you can get lucky with one of their vehicles by getting a lot for your dollar.
Good for the money.
I would buy a new one, and have even bought one of their KIA Carnival people carriers for my daughter. I reckon it is no Honda either, not by a long stroke!
It feels soft. It is like the Hyundai used to be. Average build quality, OK interior, noisy overworked little motor, soft transmission.
Dead in 5 years I reckon. It was cheap though and it was a stop gap!
I would not buy a Toyota at this time despite their great track record and some great cars, they are in so much trouble over safety, and I would suggest quality control could be a problem.
It has always been my belief that the current jamming accelerator problems are electronic and may be near impossible to trace. I do not trust the explanations made by the company, but watch this space. At some time they will have to solve the problem of stuck accelerators and we may find out the truth.
To be honest I am not a fan of either the new Corolla or the Camry either for that matter!
I hate the way the Corolla feels under hard acceleration! It has far too much throttle steer. Much more than most of it's other front wheel drive competitors and the motor performance is ordinary as well. It feels too heavy and lifeless to me.
The Camry I have issues with the exhaust rotting out too soon and some niggling design faults, but mostly it is just dead boring!
2011 RX7 Mazda
Since I first drove a Mazda in 1967 I have had a love hate relationship with their idiosyncrasies. I am not a Mazda offionada because of this bias, and have only worked on a half dozen or so of their vehicles.
Their little 1500 was very pretty with a body design by Bertone, the same people who designed the beautiful Alfa Romeo Veloce and the beautiful "boat tail" spider.
The Mazda 1500 had those same lovely soft lines, so modern at the time. The look aged well, the motors not so well. They had a habit of needing a lot of valve clearance adjustment for a single overhead camshaft motor, and piston oil ring life was a bit short.
Mazda made some great innovations like oscillating air vents, and interior niceties, but usually were relatively low in power output and fairly heavy for their engine performance.
Very early Mazdas always felt like they needed another half a litre of engine size to me.
Some of the early 2.4L coupes had ignition problems mainly caused by the combination of a high powered coil and a weak black-box on the distributor, otherwise a strong well made coupe.
The RX4, R100 rotarys were an interesting idea though, and very fast! The RX7 was a legend in it's time, but the rotary has never been sorted since it's introduction by Wenkel in the ugliest of cars ever seen in this country the NSU RO80. They died enmasse from oil seal failure until Mazda purchased the licence to use the design and solve the problem...... to a degree. They still had problems with engine life, and were far too thirsty,
The new Mazda although not my choice, would seem to be well sorted out in general and well made. They have some great concept cars including a 3 cylinder turbo of one litre that should get close to 100mpg. They are doing great things, I just suspect that others are doing it better.
I have fallen out with the body styling on Mazdas from time to time. They have made some ugly mothers again lately, sorry Mazda lovers, I just am not a huge fan.