Why are car interior colours so boring?
Any colour …?
Re black interior trim. I'm in the market for a Ford Mustang but I refuse to place an order while black is mandatory. Ford dealers don't seem to care. The irony is the 1964 Mustang introduced the joy of optioning the car however you wanted it.
Frederick Auld, email
Any interior colour as long as it's black is definitely the go with Ford's Mustang. I agree, it's not good enough. Just look at sports cars of old with their beautiful cream, red or tan leather seats. You could go to great expense and have your Mustang aftermarket trimmed to a colour of your liking, or simply shop elsewhere. How about a BMW M140i instead? Cheaper than a V8 Mustang GT, nearly as quick and you get a greater selection of cabin colours.
A black interior is dark, hot and claustrophobic. Getting the beige interior for my Mercedes Benz SLK was just as important as the Cubanite silver exterior. I'm also perplexed by the popularity of black paint for car bodies, especially in Australia's hot summers.
Peter Hoycard, email
Agreed. Too many buyers choose conservative colours for resale purposes. It's your car; get the colours you want.
Three pedal hero
I'm looking for a manual SUV or sporty hatchback. My budget is $35,000-$40,000, so what would you suggest? I've been looking around but nobody seems to sell manual cars anymore.
A Duong, email
I feel your pain. It's a travesty that so many new cars, including ostensibly sporty jobs, have no manual gearbox option. Don't drivers enjoy the engagement that can only come with three pedals? If you're seeking fun, a hatch will always outdo an SUV. My pick is the Hyundai i30N, available only with a manual gearbox. I've seen some advertised for under $40K drive- away. The Ford Fiesta ST ($27,490) or Suzuki Swift Sport ($25,490) are bargain funsters, while the VW Golf GTI Original is currently $38,990 on the road. All will bring you joy.
Made in China?
Should I buy a new MG3? Are they any good?
Joshua Connor, email
A few people have been seeking similar advice, having been tempted to buy an MG by the sharp drive-away prices. The MG3 can be had for $15,990 on the road with auto gearbox and seven-year warranty. Incredible on paper. Ask for an extended test drive, sample the build quality for yourself and compare the rivals, such as the Suzuki Swift or Mazda2, which really don't cost much more.
In our retirement my wife and I have decided we'd love to travel around Australia. We have a Jaguar XE, which we presume would be unsuitable, so wonder what we should buy? I'd prefer a Land Rover but I'm told the only vehicle to have is a Toyota LandCruiser. We plan a nine-month trip and would like to keep the vehicle as an everyday car afterwards.
Bob Conkey, email
Totally depends on what sort of touring you want to do, Bob. You can circumnavigate Australia entirely on bitumen, so why not take the Jag and spend your nights in hotels, motels, cabins or camping? If you want to go deeper off-road, I'd agree the LandCruiser is the pick. Should something go wrong there are more Toyota dealers in the wilds than Land Rover. If your heart is set on the British option, get a Land Rover Discovery. Entry-level SD4 S for $72,250 will suffice, can tackle serious off-road tracks and be a joyful daily driver on your return.
Box of trouble?
Everything I've read about the Toyota Corolla's continuously variable transmission suggests it has the potential to fail or there are risks with it. What's your opinion?
Peter Mitchell, email
Toyota recalled Corollas with the new Direct Shift CVT late last year, so yes, there are concerns. That shouldn't dissuade you. Toyota's just announced a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for its new cars, rising to seven years for engine and gearbox if serviced at a Toyota dealer. That gives solid peace of mind, plus Toyota's is one of the more satisfying CVTs to drive.
Any one for Golf?
I'm looking at three versions of the 2016 Volkswagen Golf: GTI, GTI Performance and GTI 40 Years. Which would you choose? Is there any reason to go for a manual now the dual-clutch auto is so good for stop-start traffic and changes gear faster?
Mark B, email
Go the GTI 40 Years for proper driving thrills. More power, a limited-slip differential and exclusivity make it the one to own. If it'll be a traffic-snarled city slicker, pick the auto. If you plan more enjoyable drives, as you should, it can only be a manual. It'll be a collector's item one day in that specification.