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Who has What Car? helped this month - November 2017

Readers contact our helpdesk every day with questions and appeals for help with car-related problems. Here are their stories

Words ByClaire Evans

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Volkswagen E-Golf

Electric car’s range discrepancy

Reader wonders if e-Golf will have long enough range

My ideal car has always been one that’s completely quiet, so I’m considering buying an electric car. I would prefer a Volkswagen Group car, so I was keen to read your recent twin test of the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf and was delighted with the result.

However, I was concerned to read that the real-life range you got from the e-Golf was just 78 miles. This is a long way short of the official 120 miles and worryingly close to my 70-mile daily commute. Please can you give me more details on the range achieved in your test?

Also, I estimate that, with a combination of Volkswagen’s scrappage scheme and the Government’s electric car grant, I could get around Β£10,000 off the price of an e-Golf. Should I buy one or wait until 2020 for the Volkswagen ID electric hatchback, which promises a range of around 300 miles?

Paul McCann

What Car? says…

Our real-world range figures for electric cars are based on a road test that involves the cars being driven side by side around a set route that contains a high-speed section and hill and city routes. We turn the radios off but have the air conditioning on, set to 21deg, then we drive the cars until their batteries are almost flat. This is how we got the 78-mile range for the e-Golf.

Our road testers say that, driven gently with the air-con off, the e-Golf could eke out 100 miles between charges. So, depending on the nature of your commute, it could be suitable.

The best way to find out if an e-Golf is viable for you would be to take one for a 24-hour test drive so that you can try your commute.

We’ve also tested the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid and found its electric-only range is just 15 miles.

If the e-Golf is a no-go, bear in mind that the advance of technology in the next few years is likely to make the ID far easier to live with. Today, our favourite electric car is the Renault Zoe, which has a real-world range of 138 miles.

Confusion over London T-Charge

Will Hyundai Santa Fe owner have to pay it?

I drive a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe diesel and need to go into central London. I’ve read that from 23 October drivers of pre-2005 diesel cars will have to pay an extra Β£10 T-Charge on top of the existing Β£11.50 Congestion Charge, but I’m confused by online articles that state that the new fee applies both to cars built and first registered before the start of that year. My car was built before 2005, but it wasn’t registered until June of that year, so will I have to pay the T-Charge?

Elizabeth White

What Car? says…

The T-Charge applies to all diesel cars that don’t meet the Euro 4 emissions levels, which became mandatory for all new cars sold from January 2005. Although your car wasn’t registered until after this date, it was built before it and, crucially, is only Euro 3 compliant, so you will have to pay the extra fee.

Read all about the new T-Charge

Kia dealer incorrectly promises smartphone mirroring update

Owner left out of pocket after miscommunication

I purchased a new Kia Cee’d Sportswagon last year and was told at the time by the sales manager that the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring functions would become available via a software update at a later date. I was told this information had come from Kia UK.

However, the update never came, so I raised the issue with Kia. I even wrote to Kia’s CEO to explain that I need CarPlay because my mother can only contact me via text messages since she had a stroke.

I got a reply saying CarPlay couldn’t be fitted to my car. The 2017 model comes with it, so I asked if a 2017 system could be fitted to my car, but I was told that it couldn’t because the wiring is different.

I then had an aftermarket infotainment system fitted at a cost of Β£1000, which I asked Kia to contribute towards. I was told that it wouldn’t do so. Since then, Kia has stopped responding to my complaints.

I think Kia should contribute to the cost of the aftermarket system. Can you help?

Mick Newbury

What Car? says…

We spoke to Kia and received this response: β€œKia UK is extremely sorry to hear of Mr Newbury’s unhappiness with the way his complaint about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto has been handled.

β€œFirstly, we must point out that at no point did Kia UK promise Mr Newbury that his vehicle could or would be able to be updated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software. We understand that Mr Newbury states he was promised this by his selling dealer, but our dealerships are individual businesses and as such cannot make any promises on our behalf. We don’t disbelieve Mr Newbury, but if he was given this advice, we are afraid to say that it was incorrect.

β€œSince these systems became available, we have sought to introduce them to our new products at the first possibility and, wherever technically possible, to make installation available to existing customers. However, in some cases, the hardware within a vehicle isn’t able to support the software and Mr Newbury’s is one such example.

β€œWe would also point out that we advised Mr Newbury of this. He then contacted our European COO asking about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto updates. Kia’s customer service centre responded to Mr Newbury by email and voicemail, making it clear that the AVN unit in the car he was due to take delivery of wasn’t compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

β€œWe’ve endeavoured at every opportunity to answer Mr Newbury’s complaints fully and honestly and advised him that he could take his issue to the Motor Ombudsman.

β€œWe believe Kia UK has acted properly throughout this matter and although we regret Mr Newbury’s dissatisfaction, we are not prepared to accept responsibility for a matter that was clearly explained prior to Mr Newbury taking delivery of the vehicle.”

What Car? feels there were serious failures in communication between Mr Newbury and the supplying dealer over the possibility of his car getting the features he wanted.

We’d advise anyone in a similar position to get written confirmation of when the feature will be available, if there will be a charge for fitting it and what will be done if it is not available. This could be used to back up a case for compensation of expenses incurred if the update was not provided.

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