Thursday 8 December 2016

Changing to SUV, hatchback options, we want a hybrid, second-car needs

Published 02/11/2016 | 02:30

Charging an electric car with the power cable supply plugged in.
Charging an electric car with the power cable supply plugged in.

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'.

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I am in my sixties, retired and drive a 2010 VW Passat 1.6 diesel (mileage 60,000km). My average mileage is about 8,000 a year. I bought it at a year old. My wife and I are usually the only travellers. My budget is around €12,000.

I don't need, nor want, diesel again. I am attracted to the new Suzuki Vitara GL+ 1.6 petrol - price, size, equipment level, driving position, etc. I have also noted the 1.0l petrol Octavia as reviewed by Eddie recently, as being close to my budget. I would like your opinion on these and any other suggestions you could make. Perhaps the new Peugeot 3008 SUV? Finally, given my low mileage and my current car well cared for and in good condition, should I hold on longer than 2017? Thank you in advance and looking forward to your advice.

Aidan: I do not think that you should keep your car beyond 2017. You are in a position to change and have not mentioned experiencing any age or mileage related remedial works. So, you have had relatively cost effective motoring. Best to keep things that way. Besides, as you mention, your mileage does not warrant driving a diesel car any more. The market is also receptive to clean, low mileage, well-minded diesel cars; as yours sounds. And if all of that was not enough, there are strong offers on ex-demo, ex-rental, and fresh used cars, so you might fare very favourably in the market at present. Holding out until early 2017 is a sensible option as well, as you will avail of an extra six months to a year's warranty compared with buying now (depending on whether you buy a 161, 162, or 171). Also, you would need to ensure the saving today is sufficient against depreciation of the plate through the turn of the year. Weigh up your options and preferences. The Octavia with its new 1.0 litre TSi engine sounds good. It is probably close on size to your Passat, but it will be quieter, just as peppy, and much better suited to your driving.

It sounds as though you can comfortably buy the car outright, and for me, that is a better option for you than a PCP.

The Vitara is a fine car in its own right and if you like the look, price, height, and drive then those are all good enough reasons to buy one. The new 3008 SUV might be just out of budget, but the 2008 could very well fit the bill. Definitely worth a close look.

Eddie: I've just driven the Peugeot 3008 SUV and if you can manage it , I'd see it as the car you'd like and appreciate. However, it will cost you - this is an educated guess - from €27,000 and I'm not sure your budget permits. Don't overstretch please. The second-best bet is the Octavia, though my fuel-consumption figures on test (6.1litres/100km, 46.3mpg) have been criticised by a couple of owners as being too low. Nice car though. And yes, change for 2017.

The car I am looking to trade is a 2007 Ford Focus LX Connection 1.4, 5dr hatch petrol with approx 150,000km on the clock. I am looking for another 5dr hatchback, similar engine size. I do about 12,000/year. My budget would be €6,000 in addition to whatever I get trade in. Could you recommend some options?

Aidan: I think you might need to sell your own car privately. Give a relative or a friend a few euro for doing it for you if it's something you aren't comfortable doing yourself. At this budget, and considering the age of your car, if you buy from a dealer I think you will fare better by having cash in your pocket. Regardless, let us go with an approximate budget of €8,500. The difficulty now lies in finding another petrol car as this budget brings you into 2009/2010 territory when diesel was more popular. So, a safe bet is to start with the Toyota Auris. Look for a 2010 model with the 1.33 litre engine: the 1.33 costs less to tax. I am confident enough the Auris is so well suited to you that I could stop right there, but for variety, also look at the Honda Civic 1.4.

Eddie: Can't argue with Aidan on that, but I think a Kia cee'd 1.4-litre (try for a good 2010 EX model) would do a job for you, too. Get whatever you can for your own on the market. The dealer will give you little or nothing for it. In terms of choice, I'd put the Civic first, Auris second and cee'd third.

I would love some neutral and sound advice - as received previously - about a possible car change. Our second car is currently a 2010 VW Golf Plus Comfortline, 1.6 diesel, with 120,000km; road tax €200. Going perfectly. Doing a lot less km now due to a change in circumstances. New annual km should be 7,000km to 8,000km. We would like to change to a hybrid of similar proportions due to style and type of driving now; school runs plus occasional long weekend trip. Would need to stick with a manual. We have a budget of €5k/€10k (at a stretch). Could also go finance for newer option. Any suggestions please? Would it be worth cost of a change? I know you will suggest a petrol of some kind - throw some in to the mix if you consider them suitable.

Aidan: You can't stick with a manual if you want a hybrid. They are all automatic. Besides, what's wrong with an auto? They don't require any learning of new skills to drive. Secondly, I have to work on the basis that you are adding your budget to the value of your Golf, so you have somewhere around €18,000 to spend. This brings in a 2014 Auris Hybrid. The older version has a small boot, but the newer generation is better. Forget the base spec and go for the Luxury model.

However, and not to beat the Auris drum too loudly this week, I think you should look for a 152 plate new model 1.2 litre petrol version. It is a lot of car for the money and you get manual transmission and a fresh product with a lot of warranty remaining. You probably won't spend a massively discernible amount extra on fuel either.

I'm not intentionally avoiding hybrids; it's just that there aren't a huge number of options, so I think you should look to the SEAT Leon. I think that car is underrated. Good engine, loads of boot space, nice interior, solid chassis, quiet, and refined. What more can you ask for? Buy the SE model.

Eddie: Who else is doing hybrids at that level other than Toyota? You fancy a hybrid. So it's the Auris. Simple. I'm not happy with you going on finance for it. I think/hope you won't need to if you get a few euro for your car.

We are looking for a second car for our family. We bought a 161 Hyundai Tucson Executive this year and are happy with it. It does my commute as well as weekend trips to our parents etc, approx 15,000 miles pa. We want to change my husband's car (second car); he loves the height of the SUVs. He currently has a VW Bora, but since driving the Tucson wants a SUV. He has been looking at the Nissan Juke and Opel Mokka, but the smaller SUVs tend to be just out of budget. I've suggested MPVs like Renault Scenic, but he loves the SUV styling. I was wondering if a petrol Qashqai would be a good alternative? We would love some other recommendations. In summary: Total budget: €12,000; annual mileage: 8,000; need 4dr, 4/5 seats; present car: VW Bora, 2004, 1.4 petrol, 100k miles.

Aidan: Yes, the Qashqai is the way to go here. Good number around and ticks all of your boxes. No point in buying an MPV just because it suits your budget. Your husband still has to be happy with the car. As for sturdiness; you won't have any complaints. The Qashqai doesn't suffer from spongy, over sprung suspension, so it won't tilt or roll that much in corners. Most are XE models, but if a good value SVE model comes up, jump on it.

You could also look at the Skoda Yeti. Good trim levels on them and an ideal second family car, but they are hard to find in petrol.

At this budget, even if you could make a diesel work, you wouldn't have much more choice as the ix35 and Sportage are out of reach and the Tiguan, RAV4 and others are probably too big. There is a petrol Mitsubishi ASX, but like the Yeti, it is rare. Stick to the Qashqai.

Eddie: Ditto.

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