Can a Learner Driver Tow a Trailer?
Can a Learner driver tow a trailer? As is so often the case in Australia, the...
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Walk into a pet shop and there'll always be a pooch that's endearing but overlooked. The deterrent might be the price, or the markings or even the fact it's an exotic breed so it'll presumably take more looking after.
The same approach applies to new cars. Every segment has vehicles that are worthy but unwanted. They might look OK but you're not prepared to risk being ridiculed by friend or family for buying "that brand" or losing money come trade-in time.
For those who don't care about comments from their peers — or just want something different to the cars parked in every other driveway on the street — Carsguide casts an eye over some of the hidden gems.
The small car class is a budget-powered battleground. That extends from the price of the vehicle to the size of the marketing budget. Right now, Peugeot's 308 can't compete on either front.
Yes, it's the European Car of the Year but that doesn't mean much unless you can persuade potential buyers to try it. And the price puts them off.
A starting point of $21,990 has the five-door hatch costing $500 more than a base VW Golf and $1500 above the Mazda3 Neo. A resale value of 48 per cent after three years doesn't justify the premium, despite the latest car having a gutsy three-cylinder turbo engine, sharp road manners and a classy interior with the latest soft-touch plastics.
Badge envy is the Octavia's biggest handicap. It has to compete with the VW Jetta and Passat in the medium car segment — and there isn't enough price difference to steer buyers away from the better-known brand.
It's a lot of car for the cost: a $21,690 entry point puts it up against small cars and even the range-topping Elegance's $35,140 price is only a couple of grand over the base versions of the Mazda6 and Subaru Liberty.
It's also a good drive, but resale rates don't do the Skoda any favours — Glass's Guide has the average Octavia losing 56 per cent of its value after three years.
A lack of demand for large cars aside, the Falcon suffers from an interior in need of an update that will never come. The large Ford's swan song will be remembered as a well-engineered machine overwhelmed by motorists' desire to get into smaller or higher-riding cars.
Look no farther than the Ford Territory. This high-riding spin-off from the Falcon platform outsold the sedan at a rate of three to two last year. That says a lot about the market.
For the record, the Falcon is a lot of car for the money, especially at the entry asking price of $35,900. The Achilles' heel is resale of just 34 per cent.
Not even prestige brands are immune to our large-car phobia. BMW's 5 Series is suffering from the trend, compounded by the fact the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a newer, sharper tool with comparable pricing (until you reach the E63 AMG).
BMW has a new model in the works and rumours suggest base versions will use three-cylinder turbo engines, while the tech upgrades include autonomous driving, with the car capable of independently overtaking on multi-lane freeways.
That car isn't likely to land in Australia until 2017, giving Beemer another two years of sliding sales. In the meantime, prices start at $80,400 and the average resale is 51 per cent — still better than the Benz.
Sales of the French people-mover trebled with the arrival of a new model last year. It is still only selling about 20 cars a month to be dwarfed by the likes of the Honda Odyssey, Hyundai iMAX and Toyota Tarago.
Minor quirks — such as the absence of cupholders down the back — aside, the Citroen's $43,990 price compares favourably to the likes of a $45,490 diesel-powered Kia Grand Carnival.
A six-year warranty, above average road manners, a strong and refined diesel engine and a stylish cabin should be reason enough to put the Picasso on shopping lists, making the absence of a petrol variant the most obvious explanation for the Citroen's lack of traction.
The unloved large SUV has a lot going for it but a thirsty V6 petrol engine isn't earning it any friends in the urban jungle. The turbo diesel-powered all-wheel drive models are the pick and prices start at $40,490.
Inside, the cabin is classy and comfortable, while the ride and handling are well sorted for an SUV. The resale is solid at 52 per cent and the good news for potential buyers is a new model should arrive in April.
Until then, Kia will have to grind its corporate teeth as it watches stablemate Hyundai sell almost double the volume with the twin-under-the-skin Santa Fe.
Built to take a pallet in the tray and still ride in comfort with four adults aboard, the Amarok should be level-pegging on sales with the Ford Ranger. It shares the same squared-off exterior styling and has all the creature comforts of a new European-designed sedan. For private buyers, it ticks all the boxes.
It is also priced to please with the dual-cab 4WD versions starting at $42,990 and it holds its value well at 52 per cent of the purchase price after three years. In short there's a lot to like ... but buyers haven't taken a big liking to the German brand's well-appointed workhorse.