Are three-cylinder engines louder than four-potters?

I'VE NOTICED new small cars with three-cylinder engines, which I've read can produce more vibration and noise than a four-cylinder. They're cheaper to make and have better economy. Will they get noisier and vibrate more as they get older. Would that be covered by warranty?

Alexander Aich, email

Tasty turbo triple: VW Polo 70TSI Trendline
Tasty turbo triple: VW Polo 70TSI Trendline

I'm happy about the rise of the three-cylinders; the off-beat thrum is a joy and usually more characterful than a four-cylinder. The turbo triple in the Volkswagen Polo, for example, is punchy and has a lovely engine note. As long as the triple is well maintained, it should match a four's life expectancy. Any increase in noise and vibration as it ages should be along the lines of any engine. We've had three-cylinders long enough now - in cars and motorcycles - for manufacturers to find and eliminate any fundamental flaws.

 

TICKLED PINK

My 2012 Honda Accord Euro is a great car but it's turning pink! Paint is Milano red and if I polish it, it looks a million bucks. But four weeks later it's back to pink again, mainly on the bonnet and boot. It's quite poor to do this after six years, even if the car spends a fair bit of time in the weather. The dealer advised me to talk to a smash repairer. Any clues?

Mark Newton, email

Honda's Milano red is a stunning colour but it appears many owners have suffered the same fading. I spoke to Jo Seeger Smash Repairs in sun-kissed Hervey Bay and was told once the fade begins it's too late. "Prevention is the only way, so make sure you wax your car a couple of times a year and if possible don't leave it outside," says Julian Seeger. "When paint starts going chalky, a polish will bring it up, but not for long. Only a respray will properly fix it - and that's expensive."

 

EXPENSIVE TASTES

Lexus RX: Singular styling
Lexus RX: Singular styling

What's your view on a 2014 Lexus RX450h Sport? The Lexus dealer has one with 50,000km in showroom condition for under $50K. I've owned new and used vehicles but never anything in the prestige range. I don't look at Europeans due to service and parts cost.

Philip Carson, email

Hugely comfy, well made and chock-full of standard kit, the RX450h Sport is rare but appealing, especially if you like the styling. The price is no steal but dealer backing is a plus. It's just out of factory warranty (probably why it was traded in) and the 2014 model is the previous generation. If you drive it and love it, go for it - but haggle on the price. You'd be wise to cross-shop a BMW X5, Audi Q7 or Range Rover Sport. The Lexus should be cheaper to own.

 

BENT-EIGHT BUYING

I've owned a Holden VN Commodore SS since new and have been looking for a replacement, preferably a V8. This will probably be my last car so I'm not really concerned with cost. A Chrysler 300 or Ford Mustang seem my only choices but I am concerned about service and any problems. Or should I just keep the VN as it appears to be appreciating in value?

Graham Smyth, email

If you don't have huge loyalty to your VN, Graham, time to unload. Performance, luxury and safety have moved on massively since the late 1980s and you can get a good price for your SS to put towards your new V8. If you don't need huge cabin space, go for the Mustang V8. The Chrysler is showing its age. Ford's five-year warranty and reasonable service costs make it my pick. Plus it's such wild fun. If money's no object, stay loyal to GM/HSV and try the new V8 Chevy Camaro.

 

ALL MAPPED OUT

Cadillac CTS: Rare right-hooker in Australia
Cadillac CTS: Rare right-hooker in Australia

I have a 2008 Cadillac CTS, which I love, but the navigation is not functioning as there are no maps installed. Can I get a disc to install maps for Australia? My Holden dealer doesn't seem interested and GM in the US told me
I had to sort it locally.

Len Waites, email

Proper rarity, the CTS, Len. The global financial crisis halted its planned Australian sale but not before 89 right-hand drive examples landed here in 2008. Buy an aftermarket satnav for it rather than battling for new maps. Windscreen or dash-mounted versions are cheap and will have better resolution than your Caddy's screen. You could splash out on an aftermarket in-dash version that'll be bang up to date.

 

LOYALTY COUNTS

I've had my 2012 Honda CR-V since new. I'm happy with it but am thinking of updating. You run comparison reviews of medium SUVs but don't seem to include the CR-V as an alternative to the Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail, VW Tiguan and Kia/Hyundai. Are they better than the Honda?

Jack Coffey, email

Honda CR-V: Previous model was easy to like
Honda CR-V: Previous model was easy to like

The medium SUV market is flooded so sadly we can't compare all contenders. If you have enjoyed your CR-V then there's no reason not to go with the new one. A completely new model arrived last year. It's well priced, looks good, rides well, has a powerful enough petrol engine and is backed by a five-year warranty. Try some rivals first.

 

IAIN CURRY GETS ANSWERS

Write to motoring at cars@news.com.au



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