Car Shopping Q and A

April 23,2018


Looking for a car to buy and you have many questions in mind? Well, our car expert Joe Hayek took his time to answer all of our community members' questions.


Here's a Q&A that might help you find your perfect car: 


Do you recommend facelifting an E class coupe 2011 to 2014?


No I do not recommend it for many reasons:


1) In 2012 I tried upgrading the headlights on my 2004 Mercedes C Class Kompressor. For the next 3 years the front light bulbs died every month or two and the wires were melting. Had I installed the original headlights, then maybe it would have worked perfectly fine.


2) Your car is more complex to work on and I am not sure if you can even change every single part with an original upgrade. You do not want any surprises.


3) It is not worth the time and money. Keep it original.


4) Another reason to take into consideration is if your insurance company will cover your updated face-lift on your car.


5) I believe it is not worth it.



What are the pros and cons of Subaru xv ? And which generation (by year) is better ?


The new face-lifted model is what I would go for.


- Pros: 


1) It looks better


2) It has better built quality and better road-noise insulation


3) Comes with more options


- Cons ( For all models )


1) Parts are only available at the dealer ( Like Mazda ) parts are difficult to find from 3rd party dealers.


2) It has a boxer engine, which gives the car a better weight distribution. The downside is when you want to fix the engine for whatever reason, it will take double the time to fix compared to other cars.


I am not sure what year they released the facelift model. I think in 2017, double check with Subaru. So if they tell you the facelift was released from 2016, then I would be any XV 2016 and newer. You can easily tell by the looks which one is newer ( bigger taillights )


Used luxury European car vs New basic Japanese/Korean car for a budget less than 22K in Lebanon?


European: 2014 BMW 328, 2013 Audi A6, 2013 Audi A5, 2014 Audi A4, 2013-2013 Mercedes C Class coupe or sedan, 2012 Mercedes E Class coupe or sedan, 2012-2013 BMW X5, 2012 BMW X6.


I would recommend the following: Mercedes, BMW, Audi.


New Japanese: Korean cars $18,000-$22,000: Toyota Corolla, Mitsubishi Lancer, Kia Cerato, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, Mazda 2 Sedan.


I would recommend: Toyota Corolla ( but new model will be released soon ), Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Cerato, Mazda 2 Sedan, Mitsubishi Lancer


Heard few negative things about Lada, you have anything to say about it?


Yes, buy a used one. A used one makes a noise and a new one does too. 


A friend of mine has a new one with 25,000km and he has already changed the brakes 4 times at the dealership.


Parts are cheap though, I believe there is someone who sells parts in Dora.


Any updates regarding 12th generation TNGA platform corolla hybrid?


It has been released in the U.S and many other countries. I would expect it in Lebanon by the end of the year. You better buy one as soon as it arrives and send me a pic of the license with your name on it because you keep asking me about it.


How long and what, in your opinion would take TESLA to come to lebanon?


I do not know. Maybe when hybrid and electric cars become popular in Lebanon.


Do you recommend hybrid cars ?


I think hybrid cars are okay. If you want to buy one, make sure you service it at the dealership until the warranty ends at least. 


Check out the E-MotorShow Coverage to know more about the hybrid and electric vehicles in Lebanon.



I want to buy an Suv. Dealer source, 20 to 27k. 


For 4WD you can find 2018 Kia Sportage, Suzuki Vitara full option, Renault Duster, Chevrolet Trax, Peugeot 4008, I think the Subaru XV 1.6 is available for $27,000.


For 2WD you can get: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Creta, Chevrolet Trax, Honda HRV, Peugeot 2008


Which one is better in your opinion? Sportage, Vitara or Subaru? 


- Subaru XV ground clearance: 22cm


- Suzuki Vitara Ground Clearance: 18.5 cm


- Kia Sportage Ground Clearance: 17.2 cm


Subaru has the best ground clearance and the best 4WD system. Then Suzuki Vitara, then Kia Sportage.


Does the faulty oxygen sensor affect the engine performance?


Yes, it does and most importantly it will make your vehicle consume much more gas.


What do u suggest when buying an e46 not m3? What things must be checked first to ensure I bought a clean, powerful and reliable bmw e46?


Well... first of all it would be extremely difficult to find a clean e46 ( especially M3 ). I went car shopping with my friend in 2012 to find a clean e46 and out of 10 cars we found 1. He bought it and owned for a couple of years with minimum repairs done.


I can give you some advice;


1) buy a manual, automatics usually have problems, especially an old one.


2) try to buy a 330. It consumes a bit more gas than a 320-325, but you will have a lot more power.


3) I highly recommend you buy the 2002 model and newer. 1998-2001 have weaker chassis and engines.


Which car do you recommend for 18k (used and new)? 


New: Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Seat Ibiza, Mitsubishi Lancer.


Used: Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Yaris, Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4, Mercedes C300, BMW 328


Can I extend the warranty on my suzuki swift sport? Currently 3 years 100k.


You have to check with Suzuki Lebanon very few companies in Lebanon offer extended warranty and it is usually something you purchase when you first buy the car.


Hyundai I20 2020 or Kia Rio 2019?


Very difficult question. They are both very similar cars, but the i20 is a bit more expensive, but comes with more features.


1) First the i20 was released in 2014 and was recently face-lifted in 2018. So I would expect a new model to be released in a year or two.


2) Hyundai gives you 6 years/120,000 km warranty plus Hyundai Home Service. Kia gives you 5 years/100,000 km warranty and 3 locations to service your cars ( maybe more ).


3) Based on my experience, Hyundai parts and servicing are more expensive than Kia.


4) I would see the cars and if possible test drive them. Check the options in details and then make a final decision.


5) BTW I think the 2020 i20 will save you mechanic fees for 2019 and 2020.


What do you think about the 1.3L Turbo engine? Will I start having problems after a short period of time? 


I think hybrid cars are okay. If you want to buy one, make sure you service it at the dealership until the warranty ends at least. I am going to E-Motor Show this week to learn more about hybrid and electric cars.


2) 1.3 Turbo? Are you talking about Renault? I am not a fan of French cars. Turbos are fine as long as you always use FULL SYNTHETIC oil. Currently, I own a 2011 Nissan Juke 1.6 Turbo with 165,000km and zero engine problems.

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