Thursday 27 July 2017

What to do with two cars when we need to buy one? PCPs on used cars?

Toyota Yaris Hybrid.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

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 1990 Honda Accord automatic (2-litre petrol, fully loaded, sun roof, etc). I've had it since new. Last year I had the timing belt and distributor replaced and got two new tyres for the front. Most of my driving is short city drives. Some weeks I don't use it. All the electrics work; 86,500 miles. I do about 3,000-4,000 miles a year. NCT due June. My wife drives a 2006 Renault Megane Sky 1.4 petrol with glass sunroof, 65,000km since new. Most driving in town, short trips. Also timing belt and brakes done last year.  What do you think each car is worth? If we were to change one car which one? We possibly don't need two.

I presume any new car should be petrol. Extras like cruise control, reverse parking camera are a must, and possible sliding/sun roof. Getting in and out should be easier than at present as I have back problems. Maximum budget €20,000 plus trade-in. Should we go for a new small/medium-sized car (Kadjar, Jazz, Auris) or a more luxurious two-year-old second-hand (Volvo, Merc A-Class). Any other models you would suggest?

Aidan: This is not straightforward by any means. Neither car is worth a great deal and so you need to manage your expectations that your budget of €20,000 won't be bolstered much by trading in either car. However, you might discover some manufacturers are running scrappage offers, which includes a minimum trade-in allowance that would greatly exceed both of your cars' respective market values. Leave no stone unturned. The motor trade works in quarters and as the first has just lapsed, some new deals could be rolled out or extended. Have a look in the Peugeot, Hyundai and Nissan stables. If nothing is forthcoming, you might think about off-loading one car privately.

There are lots of permutations here. First, you drive an automatic. I assume you need at least one of the cars to be auto. Second, you have a bad back. You need to test every car thoroughly to make sure it suits because it is such an idiosyncratic ailment. Third, finding a used car that ticks the first two boxes that comes with a sunroof will involve a lot of shopping around. And last, you need to get rid of one of the cars.

Common sense prevailing, the Accord is probably the one to let go. However, it's an automatic. So let me give you a few options.

First, sell the Megane and buy a Yaris Hybrid. By the time you kit a new one out just right, you will have exhausted your entire budget.

However, you now have two automatics and a new car that will effortlessly devour short journeys for next to no cost as you glide around on battery power. The Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSi DSG (auto) is also worth considering. It's bigger than it looks. The Honda Jazz has a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gearbox and a tall seating position. Any of those three would be ideal. If you want something bigger ditch the Accord and look for an Auris Hybrid. Its modus operandi seems to suit your needs just perfectly with the possible exception of the sunroof. It's worth investigating though.

With such specific requirements, you are probably better off buying a new car. Plus, we didn't sell a great deal of petrols since 2008, so choice will be scarce. If you can live with having just one sunroof between the two cars, then the market is wide open for you.

Eddie: I'm going to suggest you wait a little. Just think: you have ploughed a lot of money into timing belts and brakes and keeping the cars in good nick so they are unlikely to give you trouble. And you drive less than you walk, by the look of things. So you are going to spend a lot on an occasional convenience rather than a pressing need. If I were you I would sell the Renault privately over the next few months. Then I would plan on trading in the Accord against a new Jazz (Honda v Honda) either by July or, better still, wait until January (171-reg). I think the Jazz will suit your back, your need for flexibility and space and frugality. I'd echo Aidan's sentiments and take plenty of time over this. But start by reducing numbers to one by selling privately. That makes choices much cleaner.

I really enjoy your articles and the motoring sections in the Independent each week. I was just reading Eddie's excellent article on First Auto Finance's used-car PCP plan. It is an interesting concept. Is 8.9pc a high APR in comparison to credit union (8.19pc), Skoda 0pc, AIB 8.45pc HP? But that's really not why I am on to you.

I was planning on upgrading the car this time next year but that article got me thinking it could be possible to do it earlier seeing as PCP is now available for cars three years old. I have a 2009 Audi A3 Sportback, 5dr hatch, 2.0 TDI, 167bhp with 103,000 miles (UK import). It has posed no problems; NCT passed October last. Do you know what kind of value would be put on this car? Having checked online I only see two similar cars asking between €12,000 and €13,750. I would be in the hunt for a similar powered car (2.0 TDI, 140bhp - 170bhp) but after that I am open to suggestions.

I like Audis (saloon, hatchback or estate) but I know they are on the more expensive side. I also like: Skoda Superb, BMW 3-series, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Volvo S40/S60, Hyundai i40. Total budget probably in the €25,000 range. I do up to 20,000km for commuting but often car pool: daily work commute 80km total.

Aidan: Some lenders are now offering PCP on used cars. This essentially works in the same manner as it does for new cars. A guaranteed future value and mileage parameters are set and monthly repayments are subsequently calculated.

However, just as it is the case with cars (in fact, even more so) the suitability of any finance deal for each person's own circumstances can only be determined by the individual. This is true for PCP, Hire Purchase, or a regular personal loan. Therefore, I encourage you to explore every option so you can best make an informed decision. Let's just work on the basis you have €25,000 and you want an efficient diesel.

Considering the new A4 has recently been launched, there should be a fairly healthy supply of used models to choose from. Most went for the 2.0 TDi SE 120bhp although there are a number of 143bhp versions around, too. Nothing wrong whatsoever with the 120bhp in my mind. I like how you've name checked the Superb. Excellent choice. With a 2.0 TDi and 170bhp, the Superb is a confident motorway cruiser. It's library quiet in the cabin. Rear passenger room is limousine-esque so your car pool pals will be happy. Try to find one with the DSG transmission and you've got a premium motor. The 3-Series is another smart choice. Again, I would advocate starting your search with BMW dealers as their two years Premium Select warranty package is attractive. You will find most purchased the 316d but if you want more poke, the 318d and 320d are the ones for you. Maybe even ask a BMW dealer to keep their eyes and ears open for one.

I think you've narrowed the list down to a competitive bunch by including the excellent Mazda 6. If you can find a 132 registered Platinum model you will have a lot of car for your money. The 2.2 diesel engine isn't the most highly tuned but you will not find it lacking. Lastly, if you like your A3 and want something similar then take a look at the A3 saloon. Again, most will be the lower powered 1.6 TDi versions but the 2.0 TDi was available, too. It's not as big as the others that I have mentioned but just like with the finance deal, it's all about how well it fits you.

Eddie: Yes the widening of PCP to 131-reg and younger is moving apace. The Volkswagen Group tell me their rates are lower (I quoted them in last week's issue) than those of the newest entrant. Just to point out, as you probably know, PCPs are effectively leases and if you 'own' your car you are giving up that status. Indeed you may find you have too much of a deposit and have the dealer hand you back money because around 22pc/23pc deposit is optimum. I'm not being negative here; just checking you are aware of the shift.

Do you need a bigger car? Would an Audi A3 saloon suit you seeing as you're trading in an Audi? Great little buy; yes a tad expensive but rock-solid re-sale value.

There should be a few coming back onto the market now. Much larger but omitted from your list is the Volkswagen Passat, much more in line with your level of commute, I think. How about a new Skoda Octavia? Lots of room, great diesels and well-specced. I have to say that's the route I'd go.

JUST TO SAY

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).

ecunningham@independent.ie

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