Who has What Car? helped this month?
Readers contact our helpdesk every day with questions and appeals for help with car-related problems. Here are their latest stories...
Is Seat DSG gearbox right choice?
Reader asks about problems with VW Group gearbox
I’ve been looking to buy a small SUV to replace my 13-year-old Toyota Corolla. I will probably go for a Seat Arona, so I was glad to see you voted it the best small SUV of 2018. One reason for choosing the Arona is that its boot is big enough to take a golf trolley and a full set of clubs, as my Corolla does.
I’ve driven both the manual and automatic versions, and I like the auto. But I am worried about reports that the DQ200 DSG ’box fitted to the Arona has been unreliable, albeit in other cars. I understand it is used in the Audi A1,Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia.
Are you aware of a problem with this gearbox? If so, is it a historical one that has now been fixed and, if so, what was done?
What Car? says…
The DQ200 was prone to failure a few years ago. The gearbox used synthetic oil that, under certain circumstances, triggered a fault in the car’s onboard computer, preventing the driver from being able to select drive.
We asked Audi if the problem has been rectified. A spokesperson said: “We became aware in 2014 of an issue involving synthetic gearbox oil and its effects on the seven-speed S tronic gearbox. To rectify the problem, the synthetic oil was replaced with mineral gear oil and the gearbox control unit software was modified.
“By now, all affected vehicles should have been rectified unless we have been unable to trace specific vehicles/owners.” We also checked the data for Volkswagen Group cars fitted with this gearbox in our reliability survey and did not find that a significant number of faults had been reported.
Is a used Alfa Romeo a good buy?
Dad worries about reliability record of Guilietta
I would like your advice about a car my daughter is considering buying: an Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TB.
She has two teenage children and three dogs (one small and two medium-sized), and currently travels 15,000- 18,000 miles a year. Her budget is between £9000 and £10,000.
I have always been wary of the reliability of Alfa cars. Can you offer an opinion and possible alternatives?
What Car? says…
According to data from our latest reliability survey, the Giulietta appears to be reasonably durable for the first few years. It’s the 10th most dependable family car up to three years old, with the most common problem area reported by owners being non-engine electrics.
However, the Giulietta dips to 37th place in the table for four to 10-year-old cars, with owners reporting issues with engines, gearboxes and suspension.
Your daughter’s budget will get her a 2015 Giulietta with around 30,000 miles from a main dealer. Cars of this age will soon be out of the manufacturer’s warranty, so your daughter won’t be able to rely on Alfa Romeo to cover the cost if a fault develops. With owners telling us their average repair bills cost £300, we’d advise choosing a more reliable car and one that’s likely to be cheaper to repair.
Our favourite used family car is the Seat Leon, which is involving to drive, great to look at and one of the top 10 family cars of all ages in our reliability survey. A five-door example should be roomy enough for teenagers and dogs in the back, too. It’s also more affordable than the Giulietta, so your daughter’s budget should get her a 2016 1.2 TSI with less than 30,000 miles on the clock.
Which engine for the Octavia?
Newer or older engine - which is best?
I want a reliable family car with enough room for a double buggy during the week and a large suitcase at weekends. We do mostly short urban trips, with a longer cross-country trip once a month.
I am thinking of buying a petrol Skoda Octavia, but I don’t know which engine to go for. I have seen 2015 cars with the 1.2 TSI engine that have covered about 35,000 miles. However, this engine was discontinued in 2016 and replaced with a 1.0-litre unit.
Is there a massive difference in the performance of these two engines? If so, would it be worth paying more for a newer car with the 1.0 engine?
What Car? says…
Both engines are turbocharged, and they have decent performance (0-60mph in around 10 seconds) and good fuel economy (40-46mpg in our True MPG tests). So there isn’t any compelling performance reason to go for the 1.0 engine over the 1.2.
But there are other differences to consider; a 2015 car is cheaper to buy, but will only have a small amount of the manufacturer’s warranty left. That said, the Octavia scored highly in our used car reliability rankings. Safety kit will be more comprehensive on a newer car, though. If you go for SE L trim or above, it’ll come with automatic emergency braking and blindspot warning as standard.
Fair price for a company car?
Valuation query on a Mitsubishi ASX
I work for a charity and we have been asked by an employee who is soon to retire if he can buy the company car he’s been using.
I used your online valuation tool to obtain a price for the Mitsubishi ASX 1.6 Attivo ClearTec petrol with 69,000 miles and was given a suggested private sale price of £5586.
Our car has metallic blue paint, which the driver paid for. Would your tool know whether this car has metallic paint? As a charity, I want to make sure the driver pays a fair price.
What Car? says…
Our valuations, provided by Cap HPI, don’t take into account specific options a car might have had added when new. So your valuation will be the correct price for the employee to pay.