Am I tied down with PCP? New car for my new job? Model for a new mum?
Aidan Timmons and Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham team up to help readers make the right choice with their next car. Aidan visits dealers all over the country to produce a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars. He is co-editor of Motor Trade Publishers, who supply a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses. Eddie is author of former best-seller 'Clever Car Buying'.
I have a 141 Tiguan under PCP ending next year. I'm wondering can you change car brands when it comes to the end of PCP agreement (e.g. Volkswagen to Mercedes, Toyota etc?). I'm thinking about a Mercedes A-Class. Next year I'm hoping to buy car with a car loan not PCP finance. What are your opinions on the new Tiguan and Merc A-Class or should I go back to a Golf? I always drove Volkswagen cars and wanted to try a SUV, but I think I will be happy with a car.
Aidan: You are under no obligation to remain with the same brand as before but things tend to be a lot easier if you do.
You are free to explore the potential of clearing the finance yourself or using the car as a trade-in and having the 'new' dealer clear the finance on your behalf.
The bit you really need to focus on is the amount over and above your Guaranteed Minimum Future Value that the competitor brand is willing to offer you. This will form your deposit on the new car. You need to be deadly accurate with your mathematics and understanding of the situation before you sign on a new dotted line.
Additional mileage and damage will reduce your GMFV but you won't know the full cost for certain until you price around. Also, timing is key. You will have to time the end of the loan period and the new deal just right. As for the A-Class, it's a lovely car. A lot of people buy the Style model now. Urban versions used to be most popular but the Style has lots of nice goodies that it never had before. I reckon a deal involving a new Golf Highline will be more seamless.
The likelihood is that your Tiguan will be valued higher in a VW dealership, thereby giving you a better deposit. Or perhaps find a VW/Audi dealership and look at a new A3. The new Tiguan is a fine machine but you say you don't want an SUV so stick with the others you have in mind.
Eddie: So long as you can pay off what is owed on the Tiguan along the lines Aidan outlined, there is nothing stopping you buying what you want wherever you want.
But remember the car you are driving is NOT yours. PCPs are glorified lease deals. Until you have paid off the remaining sum owed under your agreement (by whatever means), it is someone else's property.
I think the Mercedes A-Class is fine but I'd have no hesitation in saying, from what I can glean from your emails, that you'd be a happy owner of a nice Volkswagen Golf.
My car recently was damaged beyond economic repair and I need to purchase something new. I had a Toyota Corolla hatchback for eight years which I loved and in the last six months I was driving a 2008 Skoda Octavia premium 1.8-litre petrol which was also a nice drive for comfort and power in particular on the motorway. However, tax cost was huge.
I recently had a baby and the size of the boot is becoming more important . On average I take two long trips out of Dublin a month. I also use car for short trips and my car space at work is tight. I do an average of 15/20,000km a year.
My budget is €15,000 and have been considering a Hyundai i30 estate version. I would be grateful for any advice/alternatives you might have.
Aidan: I am glad you told us you will give the car two long spins every so often as I was beginning to think you should look at a petrol car, where choice on the used market is somewhat limited.
However, considering you can blow the cobwebs from your city driving, I think you have already selected a fine machine in the i30 Tourer.
It sold best in Deluxe trim and it is worth pursuing one of those as it features a greater level of niceties than the entry level Classic model.
At this budget, the premium for the higher specification models won't be that dramatic either. As a little aside, where it was typically the case (and still is for a lot of cars) that higher grade models lost a good deal of their premium in order narrow the gap to a lesser equipped model on the used market (where such premiums are not valued as highly) manufacturers are beginning to heavily subsidise the prices of higher spec new cars.
In doing so, we should begin to see a much better baseline trim level across all models and the new norm will be more generously equipped cars.
It is a general note for everyone to bear in mind. If you are buying a fresh used car, don't overlook the high grade models. They might just represent better value for money than you think.
As for alternatives to the i30, you could try the Kia cee'd SW. It is an estate, too. Your budget will buy you a 2013 (either 131 or 132, very little separates them anyway), EX model. Again, opt for an EX over the entry TX version. Kia's excellent seven year warranty means that you can drive a 2013 cee'd until 2020 (or 150,000kms) without a worry. For this reason alone, I reckon the cee'd SW is a real contender for you. Although it is a little smaller, I wonder if the Nissan Juke would be right for you. It's got a 1.5 diesel engine and really only sold in SV trim (you guessed it, higher grade). Great little car with a tall seating position and surely enough room for you, your little one, a buggy, a briefcase, and some shopping bags whenever you carry them.
Eddie: The Ford Focus estate is not a big seller but it's a cracking good car and if you're lucky enough to find one, you should give it a lot of thought.
Likewise with the Peugeot 308 SW. You should get a good diesel version of 131 vintage or thereabouts for the sort of money you have to spend. I think an estate is a really good choice for you, but I think the Skoda Octavia version might just be too big for your circumstances.
Great advice every week. I am after getting promotion in my job and can afford a small car now for my 30km commute each day (60km in total). I have €12,000 to spend. What would you advise? Keep up the great work.
Aidan: Congratulations on your promotion. A shiny new set of wheels is a great reward and symbol of your hard work so let's see if we can pick something that suits your needs. Your annual mileage means that you can drive a petrol car and I get the impression that a supermini might just fit the bill. However, if your commute is mainly through congested traffic and space is not the chief characteristic on your list of priorities, then look at the Hyundai i10. It is a compact city car but it is actually quite refined and well finished.
You will get a fresh Deluxe model with loads of warranty left and this means you have a pretty predictable cost of motoring over the next few years. A lot to be said for that.
If the i10 looks too small, then look at an Opel Corsa. There are loads of the old shape 1.2 petrol SC models around. Great car with good space and a zippy engine that will cruise on motorways just fine. The same goes for the Renault Clio. Opt for one in Dynamique specification and you will have a very solid machine with nice kit underneath you.
Some friends recently queried my recommending French cars based on an out-of-date impression of their reliability. Don't miss out on a lovely Clio if you are like-minded. They are solid cars.
The Ford Fiesta is a great choice, too. The 1.25 Zetec model is where you want to concentrate your attention. Just like the others I have mentioned, it has decent space, looks sharp, and will deliver fuel efficient driving in mixed use conditions.
With insurance being such a thorny subject, I reckon if you go for anything bigger than a supermini, you might end up having to shave your budget to pay for the increased premium. If you can get away with a small car then it is certainly the way to go; at least for now.
Besides, the Fiesta and other superminis are a lot bigger than before.
Eddie: The Hyundai i10 is extremely popular and benefits from a major, relatively recent, overhaul which you just might manage to get into. I like the Ford Fiesta too, but one that could do the business for you is the Skoda Fabia. Great little car, solid and well priced.