Monday 26 September 2016

The best cars to buy if you're expecting a new baby

Motoring experts Aidan Timmons and Eddie Cunningham

Published 17/08/2016 | 02:30

An estate car is ideal for anyone with dogs
An estate car is ideal for anyone with dogs

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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We have a 3dr 2000 Toyota Yaris with 108,000 miles. It has been a great car for us although it is now showing a lot of wear and tear. My wife is due to give birth next month so we need an upgrade asap. Our budget is €18,000 tops. We were looking at a Hyundai iX35, Nissan Qashqai or Kia Sportage. We would like fewer than 50,000 miles, ideally from 2010 onwards. Are these our best options? Are we realistic with our price? Also, it seems as if we can save around €3,000 by importing from the North. Is this safe if we buy via a recognised dealer? Would we need to do any checks before buying from a dealer? If we buy from NI this would mean we'd have to sell our current car privately meaning more hassle.

Aidan: I think you will have more joy selling your car privately. However, you are cash rich and time poor. So, what about buying the newer car outright and giving the Yaris to a trusted family member to sell on your behalf. Give them a nice cut out of it and then everybody wins.

A budget of €18,000 brings in 2012 registered Hyundai ix35s, but drop back to 2011 if you want something with lower mileage. A clean, low-mileage 2011 Comfort model might run close to the price of a 2012 with a bigger odometer.

Still, if the mileage isn't crazy on the 2012, you get an extra year's warranty out of Hyundai's five-year guarantee. The Sportage has seven years/150,000kms warranty and there is a better used selection this year, so keep on the lookout for EX models.

There is good value in the Qashqai, too. You should have a selection of old shape 2013 XE models at this money.

You won't go wrong with any of the crossovers/mid-SUVs. All perform well. Haven't you got enough going on without worrying about VRT, tax, provenance checks, etc?

If you are comfortable importing then don't let me stop you, but when the baby is crying and the car shows a warning light, remember that it is your local dealer who will pick up the phone and sort you out.

Eddie: I'd buy a Citroen C4 Picasso of as recent a vintage as possible. It is made for small/starter families (you do NOT need the seven-seater).

The Picasso has three child-seat anchor points in the rear row. I think you will find it more flexible than any of the SUVs - I'm not knocking them by any means. And there are plenty of good used Picassos out there. Buy one through a dealer, be it 'home made' or imported and insist on a year's guarantee. Even if that costs you a few extra euro it is worth it as you want as few hassles as possible for the next year.

And take Aidan's excellent advice on what to do with your current car. Get a family member to sell it for you. Concentrate on 'new' - car and baby. Our best wishes.

I am currently driving a 2013 Honda Accord Type S with 95,000km on the clock and am looking to trade up for a larger model. Two growing kids and a dog the size of a small horse (a bullmastiff) that travels with us a lot, would suggest an estate most likely. I was thinking along the lines of a 2015 Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series estate. I do a lot of city driving so it would be an auto transmission. Or would you suggest something else? Annual mileage is around 25,000km. Budget would probably be a max of €25,000.

Aidan: I like your estate choices. The A6 Avant is a honey. Looks the business, lovely 2.0 litre 177bhp diesel engine and the M'Tronic transmission is good too. SE models are perfectly well equipped.

The BMW 520d Touring is also a smart choice. There is a new 5 Series coming next year and I reckon there are quite a few people hanging on for it, so 2017 could be the year of great value in them. Something to bear in mind. M Sport models are the business and there's loads of torque from the 2.0 litre diesel.

You asked for other estate options so how about the Skoda Superb Combi. Regular feature on these pages for good reason; it's absolutely massive. Forget the bullmastiff, you could fit a Shetland pony in one.

The DSG automatic gearbox is lovely and if you find a 2.0 litre diesel version then you have a very close cousin to the A6.

A Mazda6 Tourer would be top notch, too. Tougher to find with an automatic transmission but if one exists on the used market, then you will certainly get a 2014 model for this money.

Eddie: Normally I'd come down heavily in favour of the Skoda estate that Aidan has mentioned but I see no point in putting you off your own preferences. Either the Audi A6 or BMW 5-series estates will do a great job for you.

Another with enormous space is the Mercedes E-Class which traditionally has been one of the most spacious cars on the market.

Selling your own is not going to be that easy - even though it is a great car and will go forever. I would check on the cost-to-change with BMW, Audi and Skoda dealers and then go for whatever is the best deal.

Yes, I am including the Skoda. It is a great machine.

My wife retired some years ago and I'm planning to retire later this year. We currently run two cars but aim to 'downsize' to one when I retire and would welcome your advice. My wife has a '08 VW Polo 1.2 petrol from new with 105,000km on the clock; NCT to March '18 and averages 15,000km a year. I have a '03 VW Passat 1.9D with 176k miles on the clock, NCT to February '17 and average 15k miles a year.

We live in the countryside near a town, envisage doing about 16k miles a year, have a budget of about €22,000 plus value of current cars, and need a mid-sized saloon/SUV with 5 seats, a good boot, ease of access/egress, reliability, economy, comfort and easy to park. While we like VW and are interested in a Jetta or Tiguan, we're open to consider other makes/models, would be happy with a high-spec 1-or-2 year old vehicle. Not interested in PCP. We'd love suggestions and advice on whether to sell the Passat and trade in the Polo or first sell both current cars privately.

And should we buy later this year or wait until early next?

Aidan: You are not planning to retire until later this year, which means you still need two cars for the time being.

However, there are some tasty deals at the moment and dealers will begin selling off their July 162-reg demonstration models in the coming months at attractive prices so I think you should start your enquiries now.

Are you in a position to buy the new car outright if the right deal was on the line and then recover the excess expense over your €22,000 budget later this year when you sell the two cars privately?

Neither will devalue by a great deal between now and then. The new Tiguan ticks all of your boxes but it will also stretch your budget. No matter, the old model is still a good buy and especially in Sport and Style trim.

The Honda CR-V is another great choice. You want something easy to park so be sure whatever you buy has parking sensors. They are a great equaliser when buying a bigger car than you are used to.

Also look at the Hyundai Tucson. Some Hyundai offers would put you close to a buying a brand new/nearly new model.

Eddie: You both have Volkswagens and for me that makes the decision easier and more straightforward. I think you are more likely to get a marginally better deal by buying a new Volkswagen. You should.

You obviously have a relationship with the brand and I assume there is a dealer near you.

So here's my suggestion: Put your case to the dealership. You want to buy the new Tiguan (it is considerably better than the old one) and let him/her work the details for you. Otherwise I think you are into messy territory trying to sell privately.

If that deal doesn't suit you go for a Hyundai Tucson. Tell the VW dealer of your plan to do so.

I'd do the deal for a 2017 model now. Boy, would a dealer love to be selling 171-reg cars at this stage.

I would hold your two cars until then or arrange for one to go earlier.

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