autos’s Motoring Agony Column 14-03-2020 | Motoring News – Honest John

In’s Motoring Agony Column 14-03-2020 we look at electric cars, DVLA classifications, luxury used cars and best used buys for mature drivers.

Should I buy a petrol, diesel or electric car in 2020?

The lease on my Mercedes-Benz GLC is up soon and since it’s the most comfortable car I’ve had in 50 years of motoring I’m tempted to buy it at £23,000 with only 30,000 miles on the clock. However in normal times it would still be worth something in another three years time, but given current views of diesel, would it hold any value? Would I be better looking at a new Jaguar I-Pace, in the hope the batteries will increase distance available within a couple of years?

Richard Cross

It depends what you use your car for, really. We wouldn’t recommend changing your GLC for an i-Pace if you cover lots of long motorway journeys. Equally, it might be wise to change your car if you cover lots of short journeys which aren’t suited to a diesel. It’s difficult to say what’s going to happen to residual values for diesel cars but, if anything, the drop in new diesels being bought today might mean there’s more demand for second-hand examples in the future. As a compromise, we’d suggest swapping your GLC for a newer version, perhaps with a petrol engine.

Should I worry about my Hyundai Tucson’s engine rattle?

I have just bought a 1.7 diesel and it makes a loud rattling sound from around the engine bay. I’m told by the dealership this is nothing to worry about. What do you think?

Glen Connolly 

Did the dealer inspect the car before coming up with this diagnosis? If not, we’d demand a full mechanical check from the selling garage or a refund. The Tucson has had reported issues with the clutch that can in turn result in problems with the dual mass flywheel (DMF). We would be concerned that this rattle is a sign that all is not well with the DMF.

Honda ~Jazz ~(1)

Need a roomy hatchback or estate for regular 5-mile journeys – what do you recommend?

We’re looking for a reliable roomy estate/hatchback that can fit a small dog crate in the boot and a medium dog crate on the back seat, which preferably has a 60/40 split. We don’t commute to work, so the journeys would be several 2-5 mile trips in and around town per week, with one 44 mile trip on dual carriageway/motorway either weekly or fortnightly. We have a 2009 Ford Focus 1.4 Diesel at present, which has the perfect amount of space (a 2007 Ford Fiesta has the minimum amount of space that we can get away with). Budget is up to £4000, or a little more if required. What do you recommend?

Sue and Neil 

First of all, we’d recommend a petrol for your needs. A Skoda Octavia estate would be a very practical option. You could also consider a Fabia estate if you’d prefer something smaller. We’d also recommend a Honda Jazz – it’s an extremely versatile and dependable little car.

Which electric car charger is best?

I have ordered a Tesla model 3. I want to use the OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) grant to get a wall charger for my driveway. It is a little confusing with all of the options regarding the chargers themselves as well as the independent installers. Do you have any guidance on the best types of wall chargers to go for and recommended specialists in different regions?

Mark Coker

BP Chargemaster and Pod Point are two of the biggest suppliers of home charge points. They will both send out qualified engineers to install your home charger, as well as guide you with the OLEV grant.

 Fuel -pump -petrol

Why is my car’s fuel economy so poor? 

I have a Corolla, which was built in 1999. Recently over the past few months I have noticed that the fuel economy has gotten worse. The last time I refuelled I had 220 miles from a tank. The regular garage found no problem but suggested the fuel filter might be the problem . Your thoughts, please?

martin bennett

The fuel and air filters are the usual culprits. If they get blocked or dirty then it forces the engine to work harder. Likewise, check the tyre pressure as underinflation will also harm mpg. When was the car last serviced? If it’s more than 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first) I would get it booked in with your local garage.

Can I reclassify my pick-up as a car? 

I use my pick-up truck as a 4×4 family car. Can you tell me why it’s classed by the DVLA as a commercial vehicle? I’ve tried to get this daft classification changed, but they’ve refused to do anything about it. What can I do to challenge this? 

Steve Rash

Pick-up trucks are, by their very design, commercial vehicles. Almost all will carry one-tonne and tow huge loads when hooked up to a braked trailer. And this means they are classed in a similar category to vans. I can’t envisage any scenario where the DVLA would be willing to change it to a car, simply because you do not use it for its intended purpose.

Volkswagen ~Phaeton ~(10)

Audi A8 vs Volkswagen Phaeton – which is better? 

I am thinking of buying an Audi A8 or Volkswagen phaeton as a retirement present for myself. I would be buying a 2011, 2012 or 2013 model. I plan to keep it for three years before moving it on. Which would be a better buy? 

Dave Saunders

The Phaeton offers very good value for money as many people don’t know what it is and would prefer a premium badge. That said, the Audi will probably be easier to sell on when you’re done with it. We’d recommend looking at both and buying the best one of either you can find. Be prepared for high running costs, though – it might be worth getting some servicing quotes first.

Best £12,000 car for an elderly driver?

My elderly neighbour requires a petrol automatic car – something similar to estate or suv. He likes to fish and still travels around Scotland. He has £12,000 maximum to spend. What cars would you suggest he considers?

John Thomsom 

A Honda Civic Tourer would be a very reliable and practical choice. £12,000 will get a tidy example from 2017. If your neighbour would prefer an SUV, we’d recommend the Suzuki Vitara.

To see more Ask HJ Q&As, click here


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