Saturday 3 December 2016

Large family saloon? AdBlue what is it? Penalising owners of loved older cars

Published 20/04/2016 | 02:30

Are owners of loved older cars penalised?
Are owners of loved older cars penalised?

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 really enjoy reading your weekly articles and generally tend to agree with the great advice you give.

I have a 2005 Honda Accord diesel with 250,000km. It's our second car, which I use for commuting mainly. Annual mileage is 18,000km and the majority of this is on a dual carriageway. Our other car is a 2015 Toyota Verso 7-seater, which perfectly suits the needs of a family with two children (4, 6), plus occasional extra passengers, grandparents, friends, etc.

The Accord has been brilliant up to now, but is starting to show signs of wear, so some potentially expensive repairs are needed. This, combined with the high road tax, has led me to conclude it's time to change it (reluctantly). I don't want to get into the trap of sinking money into repairs and holding on to car to justify them, and so on. Ideally I want a car that's reliable, good to drive, has a bit of go in it, and has good space for two children in the back and maybe a set of golf clubs.

My budget is €18,000-€20,0000 + trade in. What do you recommend, and what is estimated trade in value for the Accord? Also, regarding the diesel versus petrol debate, what type of mileage do you believe is needed to justify diesel over petrol?

Aidan: I would consider selling the Accord privately. It is probably beyond retail-worthy condition and you are not likely to get much for it by trading it in. Sure, there could be some prevailing deals that offer a minimum trade-in allowance but in they generally pertain to purchasing new cars.

Better to have cash in your pocket and have one less thing to factor into the buying equation. The whole market is your oyster so it boils down to whatever tickles your fancy. You have a very healthy budget that straddles lots of segments.

Your annual mileage and the nature of use of car probably sways the fuel type argument in diesel's favour. If you agree, and what to stay with diesel then start with the Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC.

Smashing car with seriously impressive fuel economy. I think it looks the part, too. It also has loads of power and torque so you won't notice much of a drop in performance from the Accord.

Look for 2013 plate EX models or maybe even a 14 plate ES if you would prefer a younger car. It's also big enough for your needs. The Kia Sportage is worth considering now that the new model is out and the availability of used versions will begin to free up. There is nothing in particular to watch for with the Sportage. Maybe try and get the EXS model because it has a full panoramic glass sunroof. Other than that, take the best deal for the one with the best history and mileage.

The Nissan Qashqai is another good choice. Loads of them around and a good mix of specifications and colours, too. If you want a large family/fleet size car with some oomph then go for a 2.2 diesel Mazda6; but make sure you get the 5dr liftback version. I have one and it swallows golf clubs. Rear legroom is good also.

If you can find a nice, clean 2.0 TDCi Mondeo then I think you might find all that you are looking for. Loads of grunt, the best engine in the range, and value for money makes the 2.0 litre Mondeo a sweet purchase. Other than those, there are a plethora of excellent Skodas (Octavia and Superb), Peugeots (2.0 HDi 508 fine car) and Toyotas (Avensis a strong performer). Sorry, I can't be more specific but you have a decent budget and fairly regular requirements. Narrow it down to size and style and go from there.

Eddie: Aidan has covered a lot of ground there. He's right: the world is your oyster. He's also right in saying you should sell the Honda privately. Doing so makes you a cash customer and that bestows big buying power for you. I have a feeling you'd like the Volkswagen Passat - you might stretch to an early version of the new one but, realistically you're looking at a runout model of the old one - lot of goodies on it. And I think you'd be interested in the Hyundai i40 estate. Yes estate. Loads of room, five year warranty from new that goes with the car to subsequent owner and loads of space in the boot. Oh! and with your mileage it is diesel all the way.

I'm hearing a lot about AdBlue for diesels. I own a 2007 Toyota Avensis which is going well but as I am thinking of changing to a newer one (2012 or so) I am confused about what to look out for in a diesel. Can either of you two gentlemen help me on this please as my budget is €15,000 and I want to make sure I have everything as should be.

Aidan: I don't want to get too bogged down in the Adblue conversation just yet because I am not sure it will affect you considering your budget and the car you are buying. And perhaps Eddie has already dealt with it on another occasion but in the interest of bringing everyone up to speed; Adblue is a fuel additive that is used to treat exhaust gases before exiting the car's tailpipe and entering the atmosphere. It is a liquid that has its own tank and requires refilling. Basically, it splits nitrous oxide into its individual components; nitrogen and oxygen. It is becoming more popular/necessary as emissions laws tighten further. The 2012 Avensis doesn't use AdBlue so you need not worry about it. When it comes to diesels, in general it would be useful to have a service record that has not skipped any intervals.

You need to ensure that you frequently give the car a proper and uninterrupted drive. Not least because a diesel needs to heat its exhaust up enough to burn out the soot that builds up. If you already have a diesel and have not had any problems then you might be overthinking this. However, be regimental with servicing the car to the point where you bring it every year for a check up regardless of when the mileage on the service book recommends. Parts and consumables expire and it is better to be vigilant about those things. As for the car itself; a 2012 Avensis is a fine machine. Forget AdBlue for the moment and go enjoy the car.

Eddie: No need to add to that. Thanks Aidan. Easy street for me.

Do you think that drivers with older cars are been penalised and that there seems to be emphasis on clearing our roads of older cars?

I drive a 15-year-old BMW 520i which I love. But I've noticed in the last 12 months it's getting harder to insure the car, although I know all premiums are going up. Also the value of the car is less than €1,000 but my car tax is €951 a year. My point been is that car owners who service, have a NCT and look after their older motor should be given a little slack.

Aidan: This is a touchy subject because on one hand it is an good thing to have lots of newer cars on the road, but on the other, this should not mean that owners of older cars are penalised.

There has been a technological explosion in the automotive industry. Cars today are more environmentally friendly, and safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Every generation of the car improves on all of these. We need to reduce our carbon footprint. But I agree about the cost of taxing an older, pre-2008 car. I don't buy for one minute the argument that the government tried to incentivise us to buy cleaner cars with its CO2 tax change in July 2008.

Balderdash! Cars were becoming greener for more important reasons than our tax change. However, I fear that nothing significant will be done as the average age of our national car park reaches the age when most cars became cheaper to tax. You have my empathy. My own motor tax is unreasonable if we expressed it as a ratio to the value of the car.

Eddie: As I have said to you privately, there is little hope I can see of the system being changed. From an Exchequer perspective it's bringing in lots of money. The sad thing is that many who have yet to feel the benefit of the Recovery are the ones who can least afford to pay the astronomical tax - or to change to a newer lower-tax model. I don't hold out much hope of a 'scrappage' scheme to incentivise people to swap their old ones for new - not with the way new-car sales are going. You sent me a picture of your car and it is clearly really well minded.

It is a shame you, and hundreds of thousands of others, are so heavily penalised.

Indo Motoring

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