You want to know the 10 new cars we recommend you buy this year?
Let’s start with some first principles.
We hate electric cars, but putting that to one side we still can’t recommend you buy one. Yes, they are cheap on fuel (coal-fired electricity), low on emissions (but not while they are being made or the fuel) but range anxiety is real and build quality is crap (Tesla is recalling 365,000 vehicles including: the 2016-2023 Model S and Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles).
In Australia, Tesla has recalled more than 15,000 cars over faulty tail lights, a week before it had a recall because the “electronic power assist steering system may not operate as intended” – which, according to the Australian government: “A reduced or loss of power steering assist while driving increases the risk of an accident, causing serious injury or death to vehicle occupants and other road users”. Nothing to worry about there, eco freaks.
So, if you still want to buy an EV, buy it for city driving or as a second car. The best way to go electric in Australia is a hybrid. The cars we recommend – hybrid and real – are reliable, come from manufacturers you can trust (with one exception), safe and the dealers probably won’t rip you off (much) on service and parts.
The safest bet (as in conservative) is anything from Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi’s Diamond Advantage warranty is 10 years/200,000km. You need to have your car serviced by a dealer but a 10-year warranty is better than a kick in the pants.
The best small hybrid is the Honda Jazz but you can’t buy it in Australia, so go for the Toyota Corolla hybrid at $33k. Toyota’s build quality is not what it was but still better than most and Toyota meets our KPIs.
Most fun for medium money is the Hyundai 130N ($50k) and it’s $16k cheaper than rivals Golf R and Audi. For a grown up medium-sized car it’s the Skoda Superb sedan or wagon. Owned by VW and made in Czechoslovakia, Skoda has great build quality, great service and at around $70k pretty good pricing.
If you want a hybrid, then the Lexus ES 300h is the same money. I love Lexus more than I love Skoda but not as much as I love Porsche. I know Lexus is really Toyota but the build quality and service is world class. Spend as much as you like on a Lexus up to $250k and you won’t be disappointed. Oh, except the Lexus LX ($160k) which is really a Landcruiser and way too clunky. Yeet it. Buy a VW Touareg (like I did) and get a much better car for $64k less.
OK, time to move on to serious matters. Best sports cars. I hate Mazda but the MX-5 ($38k) is the best value for money sports car in the universe. Small plug here. Your Weekend Australian Racing Team will be at the Eastern Creek tip and racecourse the weekend after next for round one of the MX-5 cup. Shock of the year is that the Herring brothers and sons and cousins won’t be there to crowd out the podium because they have been signed up by Alpha-Tauri for this year’s F1 season.
Big plug for next weekend at the beautiful Winton Raceway when your WART team will be driving either an RX-7 or and RX-8 or and RX something in the first round of NSW Production Touring Cars. You can tell we are well prepared.
Just continuing the plugs, the old bloke and I won’t see you in Tassie until October. Targa boss Mark Perry says: “Due to the board of Motorsport Australia not yet being in a position to release the Targa Review Panel’s report, combined with the time it will take to implement any recommendations, Targa has made the difficult decision to postpone Targa Tasmania until later this year”.
OK other best sports cars are the Porker 718 Cayman ($122k), any 911 ($260k) and to my mind the already classic Chevrolet Corvette Z06 for only about $300k and I don’t even care if it has a warranty. Everyone talks about sex on wheels. The Z06 is better than sex and any car at twice the price.
Talking of sex on wheels or any other way you can get it, this year’s Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport should be R rated. Six classic Formula One cars from Europe including the 1972 Surtees TS16/02, the Shadow DN8, the Tyrrell 012, the Ensign N179, the Lotus 81, and the Hesketh 308-1, racing some of the finest historic race cars in Australia (sadly not the Phil Alexander WART MX-5) and Leon Ebeling’s 1962 Shelby Cobra 289, Steve Brooks Lola T70 Mk 3b, Ludovic Caron’s Chevron B31, a historic Le Mans competitor and Andrew Newall’s 1966 Chevron B6- a multiple world championship Car in which Andrew won the 2015 FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship.
Hope you understood that, I’m struggling.
F1 is underway with all the teams at the Sakhir circuit this week to try out their brand-new cars and less than brand new drivers. You know Danny R wanted too much money to get behind the wheel of a Haas. Team boss Guenther Steiner was caught on camera telling Kevin Magnussen “We can’t afford him, Kevin. He wants 10 f---ing million. Minimum!” So, Dan’s a reserve at Red Bull.
F1 keeps getting weirder. The big story on the official F1 website this week was Lewis Hamilton’s stylist, Eric McNeal, taking some time away from his New York fashion week preparations to give readers an insight into the thinking behind just a few of last season’s looks that McNeal himself styled for the seven-time world champion.
“It was one of the first collections at Ferragamo … so I just love seeing Lewis in these silhouettes. I love how flowy it is, and I love how confident Lewis looked in the look.” Please shoot me now.
Hold on. Maybe Ecker could help this column’s favourite rally and supercar driver, Shane van Gisbergen. No offence but Shane is not exactly the George Clooney of Bathurst. Just a thought.