Advice on a Captiva, an Audi and a Quest

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Justus Visagie our resident Car Doctor
Justus Visagie our resident Car Doctor


Bobby: I’m considering buying a 2015 2.2L Chevrolet Captiva. It’s diesel and automatic with 96 000km. It’s a great drive, but I’m concerned about automatic gearbox issues and spare parts, since the Captiva has been discontinued. Also, there is no motor or service plan, so am worried about big replacements coming up soon.

I’ve heard these big components usually get replaced at about 100 000km. I can take one of those extended two-year warranties, but they don’t cover everything and have limits on the large components.

At that mileage, the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system will probably require a clean-up – have a workshop dismantle the EGR system, intercooler assembly and boost pipes, and remove any signs of soot in any of the components.

Failure to do so will eventually result in poor performance, excessive fuel consumption and accelerated turbo failure. Do not remove or blank off the EGR system, as it performs a crucial role in containing engine and exhaust gas temperatures.

Regarding the gearbox, that particular six-speed automatic isn’t known for serious failures or design flaws, so we’d only recommend a transmission fluid replacement with automatic transmission fluid that conforms to General Motors’ (GM’s) requirements (make sure of that point), and a gearbox filter replacement if possible. It should last a good long time with manufacturer-recommended maintenance. Replace the engine’s oil and filters at the same time, and check for cracks or signs of perishing in the alternator/AC/coolant pump drive belt.

GM withdrew from the local market in 2017, but committed to supplying spare parts for a decade after leaving the country – that means there are about seven years left before you won’t be able to obtain OEM spare parts, by which time you’d probably have sold the Captiva. The good news is that there is decent local aftermarket support for GM’s products from, among other places, Goldwagen.

In short, provided the vehicle is in good condition to start off with (according to the manufacturer’s requirements), and with future maintenance occurring according to schedule, a used Captiva can offer stunning used-car value that should serve you well.

The A7 Sportback runs a 3-litre turbo-charged petrol engine, 250kW and 500Nm, and needs just 5.3 seconds to sprint from zero to 100kmh

Simon: I drive a low-mileage 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS that I want to swap for a new, sporty four-door car, after we were blessed with an addition to the family. My wife drives an SUV, and I have no interest in owning one.

Porsche’s Panamera is an excellent family express, but, at more than R1.6 million for the base model, it won’t be an equal swap. I’m estimating the value of your GTS at about R1.35 million, which will buy you something quite special from the same extended family – an Audi A7 Sportback.

This achingly beautiful coupé-style sedan, which is still quite new to South Africa, is Audi’s answer to the equally desirable Mercedes-Benz coupé-sedan, the CLS. These cars fuse the low-slung body style of a two-door coupé (like the Ford Mustang) with the practicality of a sedan. In contrast to most coupés, they have spacious rear seats and, thanks to the rear doors, it’s relatively easy to get the kid(s) in and out.

The luggage area is large and should easily fit a pram and nappy bags under the hatch. You can even fit a mountain bike in there if you tumble the rear seats forward.

The A7 Sportback runs a 3-litre turbo-charged petrol engine (250kW and 500Nm) and needs just 5.3 seconds to sprint from zero to 100km/h. It’s not as quick as your 911, but it’s no slouch either. It’s a safe, gorgeous, silk cocoon of a car, which strikes a satisfying balance between sports coop and luxury sedan.

Order the optional air suspension for a ride as soft as a baby’s cheeks.

At R380 200 to R433 700, it’s no longer the people’s car it used to be

Joe: I was going to trade my 2015 Hyundai Elantra for the new Toyota Corolla, but they are more expensive than I thought. What other options should I consider?

The new Corolla is an exceedingly good car, with the comfort and quality of a small Lexus, and prices to match. Well, almost. At R380 200 to R433 700, it’s no longer the people’s car it used to be. A more affordable option is the locally built Corolla Quest, which is a resurrection of the preceding Corolla model.

Though not as polished as the latest Corolla, the Quest has a lot to crow about, including stability control, at least three air bags (depending on the variant), Bluetooth, front and rear electric windows, a fairly powerful engine, a service plan and Toyota reliability. Prices range from R265 200 to R333 900.

Have a car question you’d like Justus to answer?
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