10 used cars that are worth checking out this 162-reg summer
Most weeks Aidan Timmons and Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham pick out 10 top used-car buys. Aidan is co-editor of Motor Trade Publishers, who supply a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses.
THE new car market is due another uplift next month when the 162-reg plate season begins.
However, there are benefits for those of you looking for a used or 'new-to-you' motor, because many new-car buyers will use their existing motors as trade-ins.
Now is a good time to start making enquiries with dealers to get a heads-up on what they are expecting to have on their forecourts in a few weeks time.
With that in mind, Aidan has come up with 10 recommendations spanning a range of vehicle segments for you.
Aidan: I have left it at 10 so I can explore them in more detail but if you have any specific questions about anything that is not listed, we are always happy to answer your questions here every Wednesday.
There is something about a supermini with a 4cyl 1.25-litre engine that seems to fit just right. Most buyers from 2013 onwards bought the Fiesta in Zetec trim. Very few Titanium models were sold.
Expect to fork out more than €11,000 for a 131-registered model but gaps in residuals are tight enough so you might find that another €1,500 is all you will need to jump to a 141 model. The Fiesta's residual values perform well so it makes for a sound used car buy for those who worry about depreciation.
Peugeot built the 208 to have a smaller footprint than the older 207 but with better space inside. There is a broad choice of engines: 3cyl 1.0 litre and 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.4-litre diesel.
There is usually a healthy mix of every type on the used market. Stick to Active models if you want a few more goodies than the entry-level Access. The 141 registered models should come in at around €12,500 for a 1.0 litre Active with average mileage. The 1.2 makes a bit more. If the mileage reading is low, then expect to pay a little premium. It will be worth it, though.
This is one of the easiest cars to recommend from arm's reach because it stacks up so well.
The latest generation was launched in 2013. There is a good blend of petrol and diesel models. The 1.33 petrol version is a credible option for anyone not doing high mileage. And the 1.4 D4D diesel is frugal with plenty of power for most drivers.
Luna models are more desirable but a low-mileage entry level Terra model should never be overlooked. Many of the older shape 2012 models were nicely kitted out in Sport trim. Don't be surprised if a good 141 diesel Luna with the right mileage and comprehensive warranty is priced in the late 'teens'. These things are sought after.
Despite being replaced this year, the outgoing Sportage still looks fresh. Used models were scarce for a long time and values were buoyant as a result. The latest model should be in strong demand for the 162 registration plate so perhaps we will see better availability of the older model on the used market.
When it comes to reliability, Kia models are typically strong but, just in case, any remainder of the manufacturer warranty should provide ample piece of mind.
Depending on your budget and the age of the Sportage you can afford, different specification names will be available but look out for EX, EXS and EXL models as being particularly well equipped.
The current model Octavia was released in May 2013 so the first thing to note is that if you are in the market for a three-year-old Octavia, you can have your choice of two different generations.
It also means that a lot of people who bought a new model Octavia in 2013 did so from July onwards and so we might expect to see good representation on the used market from these cars being traded in. The Octavia is a fine package: good engines (1.2 TSi and 1.6 TDi), great specification (Ambition and Elegance models are best), excellent interior space and good ride quality. Nothing more to be said on this one. It's a no-brainer.
Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
This has been a firm favourite with Irish families. It starts out a little cheaper than some rivals but holds its value well on the used market. The VTR+ models are worth pursuing. The latest model was launched in 2014 and it is crammed with tech. The C4 can generally take a beating but as with all used MPVs, have your wits about you when it comes to inspecting older ones. Check for damage to doors and interior trim. The 1.6 diesel engine is used widely throughout the market with other brands. Now is a good time to buy an MPV before there is potentially a rush on them at the end of the summer as the school gates reopen.
Mazda tends to make cars that straddle different vehicle segments and the 6 is a prime example of that. It's large, spacious and seems to punch in the compact executive class but it is priced nearer to a large family saloon segment. Interestingly, the saloon is longer than the estate. The present model is chiselled and handsome and its 2.2-litre diesel engine makes it a comfortable cruiser. Platinum models (briefly called Sport SE when the latest 6 was first launched in 2013) are the most sought after. Expect to spend around €26,000 to get into a 141 registered Platinum model. Mazda customers are loyal to the brand so start your search with their own dealers.
The CLA helped reignite the Mercedes brand. It is a smart 4dr coupe that has an extensive range of engines and specifications. Petrol models are going well in our cities and in some cases can make as much money as diesel models. The CLA 180 petrol and CLA 200/220 diesel Urban models are popular and there should be a healthy mix of manual and auto transmissions available.
Used Q5s comes in various guises so there is a wealth of choice to suit many budgets. Initially, the Q5 was only available with Audi's four-wheel drive quattro system but later came a two-wheel drive model. The pick of the bunch is a 2.0 TDi 143/150bhp SE or S-Line quattro. Even better if there is an S-Tronic version. There are some 177/190bhp versions but expect to pay a premium as many were S Line models too. What a machine. The Q5 is a fine performer with broad appeal and never hangs around for long in dealer stock so be quick if you find a nice one.
Known as "The Boss", the X5 is an imposing machine on the outside and pure serenity inside. Last of the old model 131 registered 3.0 xDrive M Sport models are still fetching good money, particularly in BMW dealerships as they offer 2 years manufacturer warranty as part of BMW's Premium Selection package. The X5 has a slick auto transmission and a high-quality interior. If you are spending close to €60,000 and only intend using the SUV for urban and motorway use, then you might just sneak into the first of the newer shape 2.0-litre diesel SDrive (2WD) models. Third-row seating was an option that most people fitted and it tends to hold its premium over five-seat models.
A brief mention of a few more to whet your appetite.
If you are looking for a high seating position and loads of functionality, check out the Opel Meriva.
Supermini buyers wanting something a bit different should look at the Honda Jazz.
The VW Golf still takes some beating. Check out one of the last of the old model Golf 6 Match models from 2012.
The Nissan Qashqai is always a sound bet as a family car.
Used Audi A3 saloons are excellent for anyone looking for a bit of class in a compact frame.
Hyundai ix35s should be plentiful considering the success of the new Tucson.
Premium SUV buyers should not ignore the Range Rover Evoque. Get one in Pure Tech trim if shopping for a three-year-old.
Then there is the excellent Audi A7 - no list is complete without it.
And finally, if you want something for town and city driving, check out Toyota's hybrids. They can range from a Yaris to an Auris, and up to a Prius and Prius Plus.