Wednesday 26 October 2016

Qashqai? It's no contest; buy used or PCP new? Biased? Yes, in your favour

Independent advice desk

Published 06/07/2016 | 02:30

Our experts put themselves in the position of the car buyer when giving advice.
Our experts put themselves in the position of the car buyer when giving advice.

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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In your view how would a 2015 Qashqai 1.2 petrol compare to a 2007 Tiida 1.6 in terms of road holding ability and comfort and response time in overtaking?  I am thinking of changing to the former.

Aidan: I will try to keep this straightforward by not adding any more cars to your list. The Qashqai's 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine produces roughly the same power as the Tiida but it outperforms it when it comes to torque. Torque is the surge of power you feel when you accelerate and overtake.

I won't get into the physics of it but basically, the more the better. The Qashqai has 190Nms of torque, whereas the Tiida has 147Nms. The Qashqai is slightly heavier but probably not enough to negate its power gains over your Tiida. As for road handling, the latest Qashqai is surefooted. It is a little bit lower than the model it replaced but the seating position remains tall.

It is well built and makes for an effortless drive. Its gearbox is good, the clutch is light enough not to exhaust you in town traffic but yet has enough resistance so that it doesn't feel vague or spongy. Of course, all of this is relative so I advise you to take a petrol Qashqai for a spin and determine if it meets with your requirements. I would also be interested to know if you share my opinions on it, so keep us posted and tell us how you get on.

Eddie: No contest. Qashqai by a billion miles. The 1.2-litre is perfectly good enough so no worries there. Frankly I stifled a smile at the 'road-holding' and 'comfort' bits. The Tiida isn't at the races. It was/is a thoroughly functional car with about as much appeal as a van (but goes forever). Buy the Qashqai and stop worrying. Enjoy.

I have no car at the moment because I didn't need one and my partner's got us around when we required. I have been studying prices a lot because while I have up to €17,000 at my disposal I'm thinking of taking out a PCP. What I find from prices published in the papers and on online is how little difference there is in the price of a 141 and what a new car would cost me each month. Should I spend my own money on a good two-year-old or buy a 162? Eddie seems cautious or negative on PCPs so I am wondering if I should just buy. I am going to buy either a Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia or Toyota Yaris.

Aidan: I am afraid I have more questions than answers but that is a good thing because I think you need to do some more homework on car finance. I would like to know what cash deposit you have and your own personal preference for car ownership.

Do you know, today, that you ultimately want to own the car outright at the end of a finance deal? How long do you want to keep the car for? Would you like to regularly trade up to a new model every 36 months or so? If you have a large cash deposit (somewhere north of 30pc of the purchase price) and think that you want to own the car after an agreed loan period, then Hire Purchase and buying the car outright might be the way to go.

There is loads of information available on PCP but the gist is that you finance an agreed rate of depreciation on the car after the initial deposit has been paid.

The reason the cost of a two year old and a new car on PCP looks so similar is for this very reason. The two-year-old car on regular HP is at a higher rate of APR but geared towards the final payment resulting in you taking full ownership of the car to dispose with as you please (or keep driving it).

The PCP deal is financing the gap between the purchase price (less a deposit) and a Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (set by the lender/manufacturer/dealer). There is still an optional (important to note 'optional') final payment required in order to take full ownership. I can't say if one finance option is better than the other. Only you can decide that. What I can say is that you won't go wrong with any of the three superminis you are considering.

Eddie: Buy the car unless you are getting more than 4pc on deposit for your money and if you are you might let the country know with whom because the banks are paying nearly zero percent (they know how to charge heavily for a loan though). You will own the car and be putting your money to use rather than have it lying there doing nothing. Now if you can get a bigger return than 4pc/5pc you should do your figures and see about a PCP. But I think you are a Ford Fiesta buyer. Just an instinct.

I think you two boyos are biased. Ye are always plugging the same brands. I won't tell ye what I drive because ye'd say ye have mentioned it too. It's becoming predictable what ye are going say but here goes anyway - if ye bother to publish this. My wife needs a new car, three or four years old, that will take three big children (12, 14, 16) to school in the town on her way to work. Our existing car is nearly beat. I'd say we'd stretch to €15,000 with the credit union loan and a few bob we've saved. So what should we buy? I have a small van.

Aidan: I am reminded of the saying "when you are explaining, you are losing", but just in case your sentiment is shared among others let me dispel any myth that we are biased.

Firstly, there aren't any right or wrong answers. Readers ask for our opinions and that's what they get. I have given this much thought and considered if we really are guilty of being repetitive so I counted all of the unrepeated models we recommended over the last four weeks. We averaged more than five unique cars per question. Not sure if that is good or bad but it sounds fairly impartial to me. The fact and reality is that we always put the reader first. We will be damned if we try to encompass all models purely on the grounds that somebody else thinks that we should name-check another manufacturer at some point lest we appear biased towards one or another.

That, and not what we do every week, would be utterly disingenuous to readers. There are so many more reasons for recommending a car than we can possibly expand upon in each question. And don't forget we have to deal with readers with different budgets. A model from 2012 might not be the same model in 2013. So if I recommend it two weeks in a row, am I guilty of recommending the same car? You might say 'yes'. I would tend to disagree. What if the reader missed a similar recommendation from the week or two weeks before? We need to address each reader's needs from square one. Now, with my throat well and truly cleared, let's tackle that family motor for you. First off, good budget; loads of choice here. Go the MPV route, it makes most sense. Your money will go furthest (because they start life cheaper) in a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso or a Renault Grand Scenic. The Grand Picasso is more readily available so choice of mileage and colours will be better. Throw the Peugeot 5008 into the mix here too, because it's so similar in performance to the Picasso. The Ford S-Max is a bit more stylish and the build quality is excellent but like-for-like model years will cost a little more than the others. Ideally a Galaxy would be great but they were mid-forties brand new compared to early 30s for the others so you will have to buy an older one and that could (not will) mean more mileage. If you are anti-MPV, then look at the Mitsubishi Outlander seven seater. Cracking engine and good space with a tall seating position. Often overlooked but a very good proposition. The Nissan Qashqai+2 is worth looking at as well. Still reckon you're probably best off in a Grand Picasso in terms of availability, running costs, specification, price and desirability when the time comes to trade it back in. Best of luck with your decision.

Eddie: Aidan and I conferred, as we always do, on every aspect of your query. Look, it's simple. We put ourselves in the place of the person enquiring (I reply to dozens each week privately too). The only bias is towards the reader. However, your criticism is welcome as well as the (99pc) kind words. I think you would fare best of all with the SEAT Alhambra. It is the best priced and has an excellent diesel engine. Check for wear/tear, mileage but it's a great old bus and was always value-for-money.


WE love getting your enquiries but can't reply to all of them in as full a manner as we'd like 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).

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