Letters: What to buy, what not to buy

Letters: What to buy, what not to buy


The latest batch of e-letters over the last two weeks are largely asking for advice on which car is best. Of course it depends on what you need rather than what the marketing people say you need. As usual, I also personally reply to all emails privately.

John says: Hi, I really like your magazine. Just wondering if you have done any articles on importing cars from the USA into the UAE/Dubai? Thanks.

Sorry, no. Although some used car sellers at Aweer Used Car Market in Dubai might be able to help you. Not the safest thing to do, since most of the American imports are flood-damaged or accident-cancelled, quietly repaired locally. – MHC

Mohamed AbuTaleb says: Dear Sir. Please advise me about off road abillity for LR2 and RX 350 as I’m going seriously to buy 4 wheel drive car. Thanks for your prompt response. Regards.

The LR2 can do a fair bit of off-roading, while the RX 350 is not built for off-roading. – MHC

Sumith Menon says: Hi, I read about this magazine and liked it. I live in Bahrain and was wondering whether you guys supply it over here. kindly please send me the subscription rates.

We are only online, and do not have a print publication. Thanks for thinking we are a magazine though. – MHC

Cesar says: It makes a long time that I have being reading your good reviews about 4WD cars. Thanks for being very professional and helpful. Now I am going to buy a 4WD and I would appreciate very much if you could give me some advise. I have three cars in mind, V6 Land Rover 3, V6 Touareg or Cayenne also V6. Both are almost the same price, 175 000, 182 000 and 178 000, respectively. Is there many difference between them when going offroad? Which one is the best for offroading and overall buy (quality, durability, etc)? Thank you so much for your kind attention and help. I will be looking forward for your reply. Best regards.

Among your choices, your best bet for offroading will be the Land Rover of course. It is also a fair bit bigger than the other two. I can’t comment on long-term durability though, as all three have had their fair share of electrical problems over the years. – MHC

Rehan says: Hi. Well, I really appreciate your reviews about cars but sometime you just need to pick up one car best for you based on Expert Advice, in that case Editor’s Choice can play a major role. I humbly request you to update this section with your positive comments about your favourite chosen cars & SUVs.

It would be easy to include the usual choices to the list, such as Accords, Altimas and BMWs. But the ones on the list are new cars that I really did find to be of impressive value. That is why it is a limited list. Although there are many good cars out there, those stood out for their feature-packed offerings and their price. – MHC

Zahid says: My dear brother. Please help me in the decision to buy an SUV. I narrowed down my selection to Mountaineer and Explorer. Price is not too different. They say Mercury company is better than Ford. Ford people say Mountaineer is an all wheel drive which is not good. Here in Saudi Arabia we have only two models for Mountaineer, basic and premier. Both AWD. What do you suggest in light of your vast experience? I will be much thankful to you for that. Please dont suggest to me Prado, I hate it as it was with my Boss and I hate its shape due to him. Regards and good wishes.

The Mountaineer and the Explorer are basically the same vehicle, as you may have figured out. The Explorer has the additional capability of low-range gearing along with the all-wheel-drive, so it is a better offroader. The only reason to go for a Mountaineer would be if you like its looks and you don’t do extreme offroading. Otherwise both are pretty much the same, except maybe for some small options which I am not aware off. – MHC

Ali says: Yesterday, While I was surfing web (autos.yahoo.com and nissanusa.com) I realize that the all new 2009 Murano with new style is on the way. As an experienced expert, would you mind tell me when will you expect it to be introduced to the middle east market?

Not sure when it will be launched since Nissan is quiet about it. My guess is after the summer, as most companies never release anything between now and September. – MHC

Ahmed Raza says: Plz guide me should I buy honda accord or nissan altima which is more reliable better and most important better resale value.

The Altima is a good car. But for best reliability and resale value, the Accord is better. Their long-term histories speak for themselves. – MHC

Rudi C. Joustra says: Dear Sirs, I find your webbased guide very good and useful and have started using it to obtain information for company vehicles. I miss however one very important aspect; a rating on vehicle safety, such as NHTSA/NCAP. Given the high number of accidents in the UAE, I believe you could provide the market a very valuable service by adding this category to your guide. Best regards.

It is a good idea and I had actually thought about it. But the thing is I cannot standardise these tests, since cars are different here and in USA/Europe, especially when it comes to number of airbags. For example, it would be wrong for me to list any KIA as having a 5-star rating when it comes with only one airbag here at the basic level, while the US model gets side-curtain airbags standard. Also, some cars sold here are available in USA, but not in Europe, and vice versa. Coupled with the fact that most people here have never heard of NHTSA/NCAP and won’t care to read that info, it leads me to not spend time compiling that data…for now. – MHC

To send in your letters, click here.

What do you think?



  1. dude…….do u get paid for all these vehicle testing …..?

  2. dude.. We also want to read other kinds of e-mails that you recieve and get angry when you read them :mrgreen: .

  3. Author

    dude…why would I get paid? Then I’d have to write only good things. Ads of course indirectly pay all journalist’s salaries. Although you don’t really see too many ads here, eh? Ads are good when we get them, but I do most of this work for free. As for stupid emails, I just delete them so it pisses off the loser who writes it.

  4. really the advise that was given about the safty tests is really good. i read your reply, and i understood your point. but you can give those results and mention that those results are for example(the full option model that comes with all air bags)…i think most of german cars(merc. and BM) are the same here as outside…and about the toyota or nissan or honda(what i know is that for example: the midsize full option cars and the upper levels are the same as outside) and i dont know if the american cars and the chines have also some cars that comes with all airbags???

  5. anyway. The safety systems in toyota cars is higher than other japanese brands, for ex. the ABS is standard in all toyota cars even the yaris and the LC got different type of ABS that you cant find it in any SUV.
    By the way, i heard from the dealer itself that the 2009 LC 5.7L will be available in here.

  6. lol and the other japanese cars don’t have ABS and airbags?

    what is special about this multiterrain ABS in LC? usually people try to disable ABS if possible while offroading. ofcourse coming up with a fancy name like *$*multi-terrain*$* ABS might seem attractive to some people who are just blind fans.

  7. ( people try to disable ABS if possible while offroading ). Thank you for proving me correct and yourself wrong, just look at the video about this multi terrain from http://www.toyota.com and then come and say the ABS in LC doesnt help while offroading.

  8. ((Thank you for proving me correct and yourself wrong))
    how does that prove you correct? 😕

    yes ive saw that video and it gave no information at all. but if you know anything about offroading then you will know that the best and fastest way to stop is by disabling ABS and using your good old foot, brakes and brain.
    ABS helps a lot onroad and no one can deny that. off the road it is more of a pain than a help. come back when you grow out of your blind love for toyota.

  9. thank you again for proving me correct. But i am sorry that i didnt make things clear to you. You are just saying – ABS makes braking worse while offroading – not even worth a commet from me to show this specially i have known it since i was 11. this advanced ABS play somewhat better than the classic one in some sandy areas.
    But all kinds of ABS might be risky while driving in hard offroads, thats why the ABS in LC automaticly turns-off when i turn-on one of high powored offroad system in my LC

  10. you seriously need to learn some english and develop some common sense to understand what people are trying to say

    ((i have known it since i was 11))
    ((ABS in LC automaticly turns-off when i turn-on one of high powored offroad system in my LC))

    that is exactly what i’m saying and you too agree that turning off the ABS is better while offroading. so that is why im asking you what this multiterrain ABS does? it turns off ABS when in sand? 😆

    ((this advanced ABS play somewhat better than the classic one in some sandy areas.))
    can you explain to me how it works? i didnt understand anything from that video of some guy driving a LC around sand from the toyota website which is supposed to explain what the multiterrarin ABS does. but you seem to have got it from that video.

  11. i dont know how it is work, my GX-R LC doesnt have it . It is just available in VX-R terms.

  12. ((Multi-terrain ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) automatically identifies road surface conditions and continually monitors engine revolutions and vehicle speed, instantly adjusting for wheel slippage regardless of surface conditions. Re-assuring and enhanced stability is delivered during in on-road and off-road driving.))

    that what i found about Multiterrain from my owner’s manual.

  13. isn’t that what the stability/traction control does?

  14. Come on ladies..take it easy..don’t put your knickers in a twist..
    both of you are going on and on about the same thing .. anyway.

  15. lol so this new **multiterrain** abs and the abs in other cars are the same?
    all im asking is what is so special about this multiterrain abs in the toyota? clearly the people who got excited seeing the term **multiterrain** abs don’t even know what it does. 🙄

  16. do you think that a big company like toyota will build something new that may costed them millions then it doesnt give any help…?
    Ok. What do you thing it is better? Building something might help you like this ABS, or fixing in your car someting like CVT that seems will get many issues specially with the clutch which itself the one of the main reason of destroying 100% the gearbox after lets say 5 years of driving?

  17. i wud simply put a switch to disable the abs so the user can disable abs while offroading 🙄

  18. your mind is outdated man 😆 . Many brands was using ABS switch in 80’s

  19. BMW X6 is the ugliest car in history.i wont buy it for $1.

  20. 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

  21. mash, did you notice any different between other SUVs and LC or LX while hard braking?

  22. hi people…i just want to tell assassin that the CVT “doesnt” have clutch that will be damaged after 5 years of usage…..you know that nissan cars espically the new cvt has a sensor if it feels the temerature of the CVT increases because of driving with a high loads on the transmission (high torque for a long time) the performance of it will be reduced so that even if you kick the accelerator pedal to the floor the gear will not ‘lets say will not down shift’ and you will feel that the car performance reduced. all of this for the safty of the trans. that you are saying will not live for not much….

  23. Author

    I really can’t tell differences in braking between SUVs since I test them each after so much time. All I can remember is they were all equally crappy, compared to a car, but adequate for daily driving.

  24. ((your mind is outdated man))

    lol its a simple solution 😉

    reminds me of a story i heard of how the problem of not being able to write using a pen in outer space was solved. the americans spent millions of dollars in research and finally invented a pen that enabled astronauts to write when in outer space.
    the russians just used a pencil 😉

  25. cb, i think you heard this story from a Robin William movie called (man of a year) . Am i right?

  26. lol no they really did make a pen that is able to write in space, underwater, under extreme temperatures etc. apparently normal pens don’t work in space. but i don’t know how far the story of it being made because they didnt think of using a pencil is true. the pen is called space pen i think. i remember browsing their offical website. going outerspace assassin? lol

  27. are you sure that this story is true, or you just took it from some comedy movie?

  28. no its not from any movie. i read that story on the internet. the americans did really invent such a pen. the people who went into moon had it with them. heres the link

  29. thatsit(mohamad), this sensor is also available in A/T transmission too called (OIL TEMP). when it appears from somewhere on speedometer, you will feel the car gets slower.

    I hope you are right about long-living time of CVT, but i believe it won’t live more than A/T.

  30. mash, have you done your M3 Roadster road test? Or you are trying to delay doing it till the Winter to show us its best results 😆

  31. Author

    Waiting for various aftermarket fluids ordered from USA. BMW is a ripoff when it comes to dealer support.

  32. assasin its a M roadster 😉

    mash u saw this video yet?

  33. Author

    Yeah, saw it long before but didn’t have it in mind when buying the car. Saw it again after I remembered it recently.

  34. While BMW is a great car, their Dubai dealer (AGMC) offers a horrible service. When I bought my 550i 2 years ago, they drumed up the BMW Online feature and didn’t spare an effort highlighting it. Since I bought my car, it never worked!! I took the car to service over 5 times and yet they haven’t been able to fix the issue. In the last 45 days alone, my car spent 4 full weeks in AGMC service center and the issue has not yet been resolved. They keep telling me that they have changed hardware and downloaded new software and waiting for a code to come from BMW Munich!! I have got that as an answer for two years now.

    I don’t know what they are doing but apparently, they have sold a feature that does not work, and they are simply waiting for me to give up on it.

    Instead, any decent company with respect for its customers would have apologized by now and even compensated the customer for selling him a feature that doesnt work and for wasting his time running back and forth to the service center and having him without his car for several weeks!

  35. where do u get the cars you test from?

  36. Author

    Directly from the car company.

  37. mash bro y u dont join hands wid gear one while u r testing cars while city7 show ingear is useless the quality of the show is not good. while u hav good thougts n better knowledge of normal cars n tunned up cars.well u doin good job for car lovers keep it up.
    bro want to ask u tht wch of the folowin is best luxury family sized suv
    escallade,merc gl,lx570,qx56,navigator

  38. Author

    Actually, back in 2006, we chased Gear One for a whole year to do something with them, but they just kept acting busy, or saying they have a show with “Wheels & Gears” or some such nonsense. We stopped bugging them when we realised the channel is a flop anyway.
    I’ve never seen the City7 show, and I haven’t seen that channel in a year now.
    I was approached last year by MTV Arabia to do a car show, but they disappeared after I sent the requested proposal. Since that’s how they plan to work, I didn’t bother following up on that either, especially after they acted “surprised” when I asked for money.

    As for your “family” car choices, I can’t say. I think the QX56 has the most space. Send me a proper email about your question so I can publish your letter for all to see, and I can go into detail.

  39. so any new plans,wch is next hot ride… go for any muscle now like mustang,charger or any other classic

  40. Good Day to you!

    After going thru all you r valuable inputs about cars here on your website, I can say that I am a more educated car-hunter now but I am really in a dillema on which one between 08Accord and 08Camry should I buy. Your reviews are both positive for the two but personally if you are to buy one of these, which one will you rather have? Main issue against Camry is the auto transmission problem scattered around the web but in general it still gets high points on reviews. Odd points against the Accord include louder engine and road noise plus there is no rear A/C vent. I am really confused now as to how to weigh things between these great cars. Can you please help me by giving your honest opinion about them?? Thank you very much.


  41. Author

    Not sure about the accuracy of those points, but America gets models with different specs. Basically, an Accord drives better all-round, but a Camry gets slightly better features, such as a trip computer and a marginally-better a/c.

  42. I must agree with the comments about AGMC above (Ammar Halabi)-they must be the worst dealership ever! I have seen many customers get fuming mad, and when they justifiably lash back at the staff, some “guy” (always the same man) comes in there to calm the situation down-and he speaks in a low, sombre voice so that you know if you mess with him, you are either going to jail or you will be deported. That usually works very fast.
    Thats the representation of BMW Customer Service in Dubai-nothing but bullying. Its shameful to say the least.

  43. hai,
    i work in Abu dhabi UAE , i do plan to get a car by the end of august 2010, after several enquiries and suggestions i have planned to get a audi A4 1.8T, cud someone advice me about this car,about the maintanance , the parts and the resale . thank you

  44. Author

    If you want a car with those priorities, Audi would the last brand you should be looking at.

  45. thanks for ur reply, but how do u rate the new audi a4 1.8T

  46. Can anyone give me a feedback on the Gargash Mercedes Service Centre here in Dubai. AGMC is complete crap and I’m seriously considering trading in my BMW530i with a Merc – just considering the Service factor alone!

  47. Audi A4= an average 15000km service for 2.0l would cost u AED 2,500

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