Saturday 23 September 2017

New car for baby? Hailing new taxi? EV or PHEV? Qashqai change?

 

Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius

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'. 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 drive a 151-reg Volkswagen Golf Highline 1.2 TSI with annual mileage of 15,000km. Nine months of the year is mainly short-journey city driving, covering 800km a month, but during the summer we cover up to 2,500km a month. The PCP contract is expiring in the new year and will start over again with another PCP. We have a baby arriving in October so we need something with a bigger boot and more space in general. Want to stay with petrol. I was considering a SEAT Ateca Xcellence or something similar in that price range. What is your advice?

Aidan: This is quite straightforward. Your PCP deal will not automatically roll over and start again unless you specifically choose that option. I am saying that more for other people's benefit than yours because I sense that you are on top of things.

It is always best to start your homework early with PCP contracts. You will be busy with your new arrival in October and I bet you won't come up for air again until the New Year at the earliest. Don't let it get to the eleventh hour before crunching the numbers. You are free to change brand if you like but it would make your life easier if your Volkswagen dealer is also a SEAT dealer.

However, there is no harm in talking to your existing dealer now to see if there is something they can do.

If you change brand, you need to accurately coordinate the expiry of your old contract with the start of a new one. I would have assumed a Golf to be an eminently competent car for a family with one child.

Still, there is no faulting your logic to move to an Ateca considering your PCP contract expires one way or another in 2018. The 1.4 TSi engine in the Ateca is proving hugely popular in Dublin, so that's yet another reason why you should start your enquiries immediately.

Eddie: I'm surprised someone hasn't been on to you before now about your next PCP. But because they haven't, you should be proactive.

Another Golf is good for now but maybe another baby might be coming along within three years so you are as well to go the Ateca route. It is well-priced and is a nice package.

The 1.4-litre petrol is probably your best bet. Check on the APR to make sure you're getting the lowest interest rate possible.

I'm a taxi driver and drive an 05 Grand Chrysler Voyager 2.5-litre turbo diesel manual 300k miles on clock. I will need to change next year and will look at all options.

I am interested in a 6/7 seater hybrid or a decent 4dr family saloon, perhaps electric. The new Tesla model 3? Mileage is approx 40,000km a year. What can you recommend?

Aidan: Forget the Tesla Model 3 for now. Worldwide demand and a "hellish" manufacturing schedule (Elon Musk's description, not mine) mean we are unlikely to see it arrive here until 2019. It's an incredibly interesting car from an even more intriguing brand but, alas, your timing does not align with production rates. You need to decide if you want seven seats or an electric car. Right now, you can't have both. The Prius+ is a 'five-plus-two-seater' and might just be the trick for you but the rearmost seats won't be much use for adults. I have spoken to a lot of taxi drivers who own Prius' and they fawn over their hybrids.

Some taxi drivers use the Nissan Leaf but I think its suitability depends on how active you are. I always think it would be a shame to potentially turn down a lucrative fare because you might run out of electricity but it probably comes down to your management of the battery. There is a new one next year so wait to see what improvements are made to the battery. You seem to have an aversion to diesel but I urge you to consider the Skoda Kodiaq. There is a petrol version if you really want to break the mould of the typical taxi-car. Get your enquiry in soon as 2017's allocation has been filled, and 2018 will likely sell out fast.

Eddie: The Tesla 3 is only a 5-seater at best and won't be here until 2019 at the earliest. I'd urge you to go for the Prius hybrid 5-seater. I see loads of Prius taxis here and a huge number in London. I'm assuming most of your driving is in urban areas. That's where hybrids work best. Keep it simple: buy a Prius.

I came back from Abu Dhabi last summer to zero no-claims history after a two-year lapse. I will need to travel max 400km for work, and ultimately need something for short hops and to get down to the south east the odd weekend. Room for a bike somewhere is a must. I would be keen to get an EV, but as a renter in Dublin a PHEV might suit better. I've an eye on a Mazda3 or Volvo C30. I don't really know what the longevity of a hybrid is like or its maintenance needs. What are my best options for €15,000 cash on a PHEV and normal car?

Aidan: I will be blunt; you can't yet buy a used PHEV for €15,000 and an EV won't cut it for your 400km work needs. You say you mainly need a car for short hops but I get the impression you will wear a groove into our motorways a fair bit, too. I think you need a diesel car.

I presume a bike rack will fit on the back of a Volvo C30 but it has a glass boot so perhaps investigate that further. However, I think you need something more practical. A Mazda3 is a good shout and your budget should find you one of the first-of-the-new-model Mazda3s on a 142-plate.

It has a 2.2 diesel engine, which will sound like overkill for you but it would be great on those long trips with work or with your bike when travelling to the south east.

Another option is the Skoda Octavia. You would really benefit from the combi/estate version but the regular hatchback is fine too. Your budget should get you a 2015-plate model in Ambition trim. It was the volume seller so you should also have plenty of choice within those parameters.

Eddie: Forget EVs and PHEVs for now. You're doing a lot more mileage than you think; 400km for work alone is 20,000km a year. Buy a Skoda Octavia Combi (estate) diesel, or buy a KIA cee'd estate diesel, or a Ford Focus estate diesel. That way, you get room and frugality. And there should be decent model choice at your budget level.

I have a 2009 Nissan Qashqai 1.5-litre diesel. I do 18,000km a year. I am really happy with it but would like to change next year. The new Qashqai interests me. I am also seriously looking at the new Leaf. Most of my driving is short trips with the occasional 80-mile trip to Dublin. Maybe when the new Leaf details are known you could give me and other readers some advice on it. My budget is €23,000 or PCP.

Aidan: Nissan is remaining tight-lipped about the new Leaf so keep a watchful eye on Eddie's reviews in the coming months as he is sure to get the scoop on what's happening with it.

Until then, do nothing. You won't have to wait much longer to get the low-down.

Unless the Government increases the grants on EVs in October's Budget and/or Nissan reduces the entry level price of the new Leaf, then your €23,000 is unlikely to buy you a brand new car in the new year.

So, until the new Leaf's pricing is announced, you would be better to explore options for financing one costing somewhere in the late €20s.

If the idea of the new Leaf wears off on you, then you will certainly be well catered for in a new Qashqai; whether you decide to opt for petrol this time around comes down to how you use your car.

Eddie: The current Leaf 24kWH costs €21,490. The latest, longer-range version (172km claimed) starts just under €27,000 so there goes your budget (brand new Leaf next year).

Same outcome with Renault's Zoe - €23,480 for the shorter-range version and €27,000 for the 41kWh (400km).

Nissan have facelifted the Qashqai and should be taking in plenty of decent cars against it for 2018.

I think their 1.2-litre petrol version would suit you perfectly. Or you could go for a Toyota Auris hybrid. Probably best to stick with Nissan this time. Next time around, maybe go fully electric.

JUST TO SAY

WE love getting your enquiries but can't reply to all queries in as full a manner as this due to time and space restraints. We try to deal with as many as possible via email. But you can help us help you if you make sure to include the following critical elements in your query:

* Total budget

* Annual mileage

* Size of car required (number of seats)

* Present car (make, model, year and mileage)

ecunningham@independent.ie

Indo Motoring

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