Letters: Give up ethics for a few days of fun

Letters: Give up ethics for a few days of fun

Volkswagen just sent me a press release (since I guess I am still on their mailing list) about the spectacular international launch of the new VW Golf in Iceland, and how more than a thousand journalists attended from around the world. It is almost as if they are rubbing it in my face that I didn’t get invited to this free trip (although I know they didn’t mean to). As a gift to them, I put up the 1999-2006 Audi TT in the car guide, complete with fun facts. Expect some 5-star reviews of the Golf in local magazines in the coming weeks, just like the reviews about the “amazing” Renault Koleos from a Moroccan trip and the “flawless” Dodge Challenger from an American trip. In all honesty, I probably would’ve rejected these trips simply because I don’t have half-a-week to waste in some foreign luxury hotel just to go on one pre-planned test drive for a few hours. But I don’t mind being asked, just to gauge the importance of this website. I have only received three offers for free trips in the last four years. I sent my PR guy for the free F1 trip to Bahrain by General Motors in 2006. The other two were also trips to neighbouring countries, for a GMC Acadia drive in Oman, and a Lamborghini Murcielago track-drive in Qatar — both of which I rejected. Time for more letters.

Nikil Justine says: Hi, I’m buying a good car for the first time. What is the best buy between honda civic & honda accord? I want to know which car is more reliable n resale value. I know for sure it’s a japanese car. I was thinking of honda civic 2009 full options. What is your verdict? Or is there any good car that match in that category? And please note the price list so that i can compare b4 purchase.

Both the Civic and the Accord are reliable and have high resale values, so don’t worry about that. Buy whichever you can afford. – MHC

Jeremy John says: Good Day. I am a big fan of the website – it is really good. However, I am somewhat disappointed by Mashfique H. Chowdhury’s comments at times, which sometimes shows his ignorance regarding the workings of a car – I am sure you could find someone who has an automotive engineering background and perhaps edit in some of his comments as Mr Chowdhury’s writing is quite entertaining, if not concise and consistent.hope you take these comments as constructive criticism. Regards.

You’ll have to point out any mistakes, as others have done before, so I can correct them after verification. The non-technical nature of the articles will continue though, as 99% of the people who shop for cars don’t car about deep details. I’d like to think my level of accuracy is reasonable, considering I write for free (and I am a one-man editorial team), while I see the most embarrassing mistakes in leading local car magazines that they pass off as fact. Send me a list. – MHC

Jeremy John replies: I see your point, that what comes as second nature to me might not be so to other people. I don’t really want to nit-pick, but issues like the cars not meeting manufacturer’s acceleration claims should be the rule rather than the exception. Something as silly as adjusting tyre pressure can have a material effect on the ride and handling. I would also like to enquire whether you have a checklist that you perform on every car so that you could judge a car as objectively as possible e.g. quality of door closing, height of boot loading lip etc.
I agree that other magazines in the Gulf are not professional enough and that this is probably the best available here.
I was not aware that you write alone, and hence some of your comments in the articles are fair given that you do not discuss the content with anyone prior to publication.

I think I’m doing pretty well if that’s the only criticism you could come up with. Thanks for your points though, and I am always open to corrections. Keep in touch. – MHC

Juan de Carlos says: Hi. First, I would like to thank you for all the valuable info we get from your web.Unfortuantely, the prices of the cars are very outdated. In some cases by 25%. This may lead to disappointment in some cases. Thanks. Best Regards.

True, and I’ve been meaning to do at least a mild price update for all cars, which I’ve already done for some popular brands. I’d say calling the dealer is still anyone’s best bet for the ever-changing price-of-the-week. – MHC

Jeet Anand says: Dear Sir, I am planning to buy an SUV (x-trail) or sedan (Altima). I would be required to drive to abudhabi or RAK regularly from Ajman on duty. What is your suggestion. I have never driven SUV so far. Hence I give more weightage for suv. and heard that new X-trail looks better than the 2008 models. Please advice. One more doubt, 2009 x-trail, do they come with a bose cd player as in Altima.

Yes, the European X-trail will debut here soon, although there are no other details on GCC specs. All known info is in the blog, if you search. It is up to you whether u want to wait for it. – MHC

Jeet Anand replies: Dear Mr. MHC, Many thanks for your mail. I would request you to suggest whether I shud go for X-trail or Altima. My requirements are long distance driving (take on average 300 to 500ks everyday), comfort, safety. As I had communicated earlier I have never used a SUV till now, my preferences are a bit in favor for X-trail, but my other friends are suggesting that Altima wud be better saying that it is much comfortable to drive a sedan than suv, incidentally they own pajeros. Hence i request you to make reply in this regard.

The X-trail is just a tall car rather than a true SUV, so expect it to be as comfortable as the Altima. Can’t comment on other aspects until the X-Trail is launched though. – MHC

Aleem Shariff says: Hi, I read about your review of the LC70 and understand that these are only sold in some countries within the region. I used to have one in the UK and think it is an amazing truck…yes the ride quality is really bad but it is still a beast…and amazing. If you do know whether these are sold here i would appreciate it if you could please let me know. Thanks.

It is sold by Toyota dealers in Oman, although I am not too sure if they are still available. I’ve also seen brand new ones at the Awir Used Car market in Dubai. – MHC

Mark Hidasi says: Please can you provide info on were to get rear tray canopy/hardcover for the L200 pickup. Thankyou.

I dunno. – MHC

Send in your comments, stories and constructive criticisms via the contact form. As always, I usually reply to all relevant emails personally. That last email above was not relevant.

Signing out for the end of Ramadan. Eid Mubarak!

What do you think?



  1. you have a review of the LC70!? I must read it!!!
    BTW, I’d choose civic over accord, although i dont like both, because long cars like accord are crap to drive in todays crowded driving spaces and parking lots. Not that the civic is tons better for that job but atleast the better of the choices Nikil offered. I’d rather drive a smart fortwo

  2. Author

    There isn’t exactly a review of the LC70, but it is in the car guide. By the way, Boris, you can post links here to those stories which you emailed me about. Best if you put those links in Letters pages and under Kia stories, to keep it relevant.

  3. no hurry for those links. July 2010 is very far away. 😀

  4. i think LC70 is still sold by nuaimi motors in ajman..the last i remember was seeing some brand new LC70’s outside the showroom.

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