Letters: Long-term ownership reports

Letters: Long-term ownership reports

I’ve been thinking of adding long-term car ownership reports ever since I started this website. However, back in 2004, I only owned one (old!) car, and the car companies totally rejected the idea, especially since I was a nobody then (and I still am a nobody, but slightly less so). However, it seems local rags CAR ME and Wheels have convinced some agencies to hand them free cars for months on end. Their rosy updates and choice of cars are different from what I had in mind, so I am now trying again to secure a car for a long-term test, especially since I have a slot open for a sedan, now that my Merc is gone. Let’s see how it goes, although I don’t hold much hope. If I get no response, I’ll go buy a used sports sedan eventually. In the mean time, the long-term section will start soon, with reports on my two other cars, and one from a voluntary contributor. On to the letters.

Justin Kalinowski says: Hi there. I’m wondering if you have heard any other feedback regarding Mini in Dubai? I have a Mini Cooper 2007 bought new from the Shaikh Zayed Showroom 12 months ago – 1 week ago it blew up – literally! I had it towed to the showroom and even the mechanics said they have ‘never seen this before’. Naturally I’m assuming it is a manufacture fault. However – after 1 week BMW/Mini have still got my car sitting out on Shaikh Zayed Road (don’t know what I will do if it is towed by the municipality!) and – other than insinuating that it is my fault it blew up (I’m not sure entirely how!) they have completely ignored me. To top it all off – they told me there ‘was no courtesy car available’! So I’m carless and don’t know what is wrong with my car and don’t know if they will be fixing it under warranty, or when. As drivearabia.com is a car site rather than a consumer site I’m not expecting any ‘your consumer rights’ advice – but if you or any of your readers have had experience with BMW/Mini after sales service I’d like to hear from you. Thanks.

Would you like me to “try” and contact BMW’s PR people? I say “try” because they’ve been ignoring our requests for test cars for the past 6 months now. Good luck with the car, although I cannot find any data about the new Minis blowing up. The car is too new. – MHC

Danny Otanes says: Hi. I am on the market for a manual transmission car but, having visited a number of dealers, i discovered that no one seems to be selling them anymore (excluding the sti’s and evo’s of course). What’s happening to the industry? Is this just a temporary out of stock situation or have MT cars been “phased out” in this market. Thanks.

I think you can get a manual version of some cars, but it’d have to be special-ordered and you’d have to wait for half a year for the ship to come in. Dealers prefer to sell what’s in stock. – MHC

Ahmed Gehad says: Hello wish you all being in good health! E-mailed you before about the reliability of Dodge Charger. Actually I’m still studying the cars as my next new car is going to eat some of my small salary 🙁 ok! I’m thinking between the full options Altima and the basic Charger and the basic Hyundai Santa Fe since they are all almost the same price 85,000 DHS. Please advice me! I know that the Altima is one of the best cars but the streets in UAE are full of it and I’m driving a Kia Optima 4 cylinders 2006.5 model, and it might be not going to be a major change from my present car (talking about performance). To be honest with you my heart is keep flying to the Charger and I wish that you reply me and say “buy the Charger it is an excellent car” but i have to be logic and care about the future reliability of this car, what i mean is the technical issues which are going to cost me alot or the resale value so please advice! Thanks alot in advance in taking some of your valuable time to answer me.

The Charger is far from an excellent car. It does have much more character than your other choices though. See the car guide for potential problems. Beyond that, it is your choice. Compare fuel economy ratings and performance figures, and see what suits you. The Altima has the best resale. The other two, not very good. – MHC

Hashim says: Salam man, how are you? I visit your site from time to time and they are a good read for those who live in gulf countries. I am just a curious person. I want to know from where are you?Your name sounds like a south Asian type and once I saw an ad on your website about Donating to Bangladesh, are you a Bengali?Also I have noticed you diss Honda’s too many times on your site, I don’t mind in what you express but I do mind when good things are marked as bad ones. 🙂 Take care and keep driving.

You are right, I am Bangladeshi. I do not have any allegiance to any car brand just because it is popular. I write exactly what I see. And check out the Editor’s Choice page to clear your doubts over me dissing Honda. In all honesty, I diss Honda fanboys rather than the cars themselves. Honda hasn’t done anything worthwhile since “inventing” VTEC powwaah! – MHC

Aljoscha Haesen says: Hi there, great website! Any idea if and when the Ford Kuga will come to the Middle East?

It doesn’t seem to be in any upcoming plans, so it could take a good while, especially since it competes with the Escape. – MHC

Saqeb M. Iftekhar says: Can u plz test the Pilot? Also can you say how many trims are available because when I checked the website of Futtaim i could find only one trim (EXL)?

Honda says there are two trims, so check with the dealer. – MHC

Sep says: Hi, I am very impressed with the website, as a car enthusiast and technology fan I have to say the approach is unique and well implemented. One of the most truly useful and practical websites I have ever seen.

Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. – MHC

Shafiq says: Maybe im crammin up ur email box but this ones just to wish u a happy and blessed eid keep up the good work. Eid mubarak.

Thanks. Eid Mubarak to you too. – MHC

Send in all your praises, complaints and comments through the contact form.

What do you think?



  1. latest shots for Z370

    the rims are killing me 😉


  2. Damn never heard of a mini blowing up, although it might not be common it could happen, a leak here or a nut loose there cut have just gotten in to the combustion chambers or sumthing..|Even the battery another common issue..nyways bad luck man..

  3. Danni – there are quite a number of us here who would love to drive manual transmission cars. The dealers won’t bring them seeing as the demand for automatics are greater(due to the heavy traffic). A majority of the public here will not want to drive manuals as well therefore brining these kind of cars would not make sense. You may get basic spec models coming in with a manual transmission(Jap eco cars). A few dealers will be willing to order one of their top spec models with a manual, however you will have to wait a few months for the ship to arrive with the car as Mashfique has stated. By the way, I have done this kinda thing before 😉

    As for Mini/BMW, i feel bad for Justin Kalinowski. The other possibility for the car blowing up would be that another motorist may have thrown a cigarette butt out his/her car window which may have landed in the engine bay through the front grille, subsequently starting a fire. These sort of incidences have happened before. If i see people smoking in their cars I stay clear of them. Such people do not realise the harm they are doing by throwing a butt that could land in someone else’s car. As for the Dubai dealer they are absolutely crap!! All they do is charge for crappy service. You go to them with 1 problem and you end up with a car that suddenly has 5. I hear the dealer in AUH is quite good.

  4. h ttp://w ww.kia-world.net/index.php/2008/10/09/ssml-sound-sensitive-mood-lighting-installed-to-front-speakers-of-kia-soul/
    must check out the above link. its about sound sensitive lighting embeded in the speakers. you might think its nothing new but it is. the light goes all the way to the centre of the speaker and its factory fitted.

  5. just remove the spaces in the http and www

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