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Your Beef: My ‘new’ Mazda is actually 18 months old

Published February 22, 2013
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Q: I just took delivery of a “new” 2012 Mazda 5 GS. The negotiations and vehicle pick-up went relatively smoothly and the car had 7 km on it when I picked it up. I received 7-year financing at 0 per cent as they were offloading the 2012 models.

Right after I picked up the car and started driving home, the trip computer showed that the average fuel consumption over the preceding 7 km was 25l litres/100 km. Does this mean that the car was abused by the dealer before I picked it up or is this normal? Obviously, the mileage is much better now that I’m driving it (10–11 litres/100km).

The automaker door-jamb sticker shows this Mazda 5 was built in May 2011, which means the car was just sitting outside for over 1.5 years. Is this normal/acceptable and could this cause me any problems with the car over time?

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A: Eli Melnick of Start Auto Electric (www.startauto.com) in Toronto replies:

“I would totally ignore the mileage figure for the first 7 kilometres. When a new vehicle comes off the production line, the car jockeys drive the heck out of it on the way to the parking lot and/or the car transport truck. This is done intentionally to “shake out” any bugs or problems that may need attention prior to shipping. In addition, it is obvious that this vehicle sat around for a long time enduring short drives on and off the transporter (possibly at steep angles to climb to the second tier) so the mileage figure is expected to be highly skewed.

If the current fuel mileage is normal then all is well.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the vehicle sitting around. Your full new car warranty period likely started when the vehicle was delivered to you (check the in-service date on your dealership paperwork).

I just hope that the discount you received was worth it. A lot of buyers believe that they’re getting a bargain when buying last year’s model, forgetting the fact that they have lost a year’s worth of depreciation on that vehicle.”

Eric Lai adds:

“Overall fuel consumption will generally be much higher for virtually all vehicles in sub-zero winter temperatures.

Buyers are cautioned on Ener-guide fuel mileage labels that their actual fuel economy may differ from the lab-test figure quoted.

On a similar note, South Korean automaker Hyundai and its affiliate Kia were hit with a $775 million lawsuit filed in the USA in 2012 after admitting to overstating the fuel economy on some of their vehicles. One million vehicles sold in the USA and Canada are affected. The company has agreed to compensate owners for the difference in fuel economy plus 15 per cent extra for the inconvenience.”

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