Monday 24 November 2014

I’ve inherited an RR Evoque. It’s a dream but doesn’t suit my family needs. What should I do?

Published 06/08/2014 | 02:30

Range Rover Evoque
Range Rover Evoque
Skoda Superb
SEAT Alhambra
Kia Sportage

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 have just inherited a 131-reg Range Rover Evoque with only 8,000km on the clock. I have three small children, an 09 Galaxy and a tired 97 Golf ready to be scrapped. My gut reaction is to sell the Evoque immediately. It has not-so-child-friendly white leather trim and €750 annual tax. Fitting two booster seats and a child seat is a struggle. However, the Evoque drives like a dream. So what should we do, the Evoque can’t substitute the Galaxy so can we justify keeping it as the family ‘run around’?

 

Aidan:  You’ve got some interesting options here. Ordinarily dealers don’t buy cars outright from customers but the Evoque is particularly sought-after within Land Rover dealerships and I have it on good authority that an exception could be made in this instance.

Perhaps bring it to the Land Rover dealer who sold it to the person you inherited it from and enquire if they are interested in buying it back. I won’t prejudice a transaction by valuing the car here but you’ve got to imagine you haven’t inherited a car; you’ve inherited the sum of money the car realises.

Now you have a decision to make. Do you use all or some of this money to buy new cars?

Eddie, you help this person blow their budget on fancy new metal and I’ll do what I do best and play it safe.

Here’s an eminently sensible option. Upgrade your Galaxy to a 2011 model. This could cost around €10,000 depending on the mileage and condition of your own car. You’ve now got a newer full-time family car for a relatively small outlay. If your Golf is roadworthy, give it to a charity. We’ve done it in our family and it’s a wonderful feeling helping others.

Then take another €10,000-€15,000 and buy something like a 2011 new-shape Ford Focus 1.6 diesel.

You might get a great deal on an upgrade of the Galaxy and a straight sale on the Focus from a Ford dealer.

Then, pocket the remainder of the money from the Evoque for a rainy day. I’m an advocate of managing risk and in this instance, you maximise your budget to reduce the risk of expensive running costs from a car you didn’t consciously choose to own. Or you could listen to Eddie.

Eddie: You have three cars. You need two. The Golf is for charity as Aidan says. Dispose of it. Now you have two cars. Sell the Evoque ‘straight’. It will be bought by any dealer worth their salt. With the money, trade in the Galaxy and buy a brand new SEAT Alhambra people carrier (built on same platform as the Galaxy only less expensive, lots of spec and super-comfortable). Then buy a new/nearly new Kia Sportage, Hyundai i35, Nissan Qashqai. Now you have two ‘new’ cars; both stylish and practical, both up-to-date, both practical and family friendly.

 I think, with a little bit of juggling you can do it.

Do us one favour here? Let us know what you ultimately do there is a lot of interest in your query?

 

Eddie, I currently drive a 2004 Toyota Avensis 1.6 petrol. I am thinking of changing to a 2011/2 reg. My budget is €18,000-€20,000, including the sale of my own car. I average about 12,000 miles a year and am not sure if I should change to diesel. I usually travel on my own during the week but at weekends there could be up to four adults, some elderly. I need comfortable front seats as my back gets tired on long drives.

 

Eddie: This is a question more people are asking as they try to get out of an old car into something fairly new.

Aidan: Typically, I don’t consider covering under 15,000 miles annually to warrant purchasing a diesel. But your budget dictates that diesel is probably most sensible and affords you greater choice. Firstly, take a close look at the Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTi. Your budget should easily buy you a 2012 model in SC trim. This was the most popular level of spec and provides a fine level of creature comforts.

Most of the niggles associated with the Insignia were ironed out after the initial launch models in 2009. In any case, ensure you receive as comprehensive a warranty package as possible. From your perspective, it’s the Insignia’s seats that are the most noteworthy feature as Opel lay claim to an award for safe backs from a group of German chiropractors.

Did you know that aside from the engine, the seat is the most expensive component in a car? The only issue might come from the sloping roof line restricting headroom for taller rear passengers.

Eddie will laugh at me as I always recommend this car but the Mazda6 is difficult to surpass. It’s enormous, so space won’t be an issue whatsoever. The last of the run-out models in 2012 (and even some 131s) came with phenomenal levels of spec. Watch out for models called Premium and Sport SE. The latter is rarer but handsomely shod with goodies.

You won’t have to stump up much extra to buy one of the old shape 131 plates but you’ve got to decide if you want an old model with the same reg as most new models. Personally, I wouldn’t be bothered by it. The 2.2 engine is excellent. Annual tax is €280; so it’s less than your Avensis and the car will run forever so long as you ensure it is maintained properly. The wrong grade of oil and neglecting to change the filter in the sump will wreck the engine.

Lastly, I think you should consider the Kia Sportage. It starts out a little cheaper than the others I’ve mentioned but such is the strength of its residuals, you won’t be able to get a 2012 at this money. A 2011 is perfectly fine and should come with warranty until 2018. Saloon owners are increasingly converting to crossovers and the Sportage is chief among the reasons why. EX spec is the one to choose. When it launched in 2011 EX models were fitted with a sunroof which became an option thereafter. The 1.7-litre diesel engine is plenty powerful and frugal and I reckon that it’s spacious and comfortable enough for your requirements.

Eddie:  I’ve paid close attention to two phrases: ‘three adults’ and ‘elderly’ and I’m plumping for a Skoda Superb for you. It has more rear seat-space than the Mercedes S-Class (my claim, my experience of it), has a great 2-litre diesel engine, acres of boot room and the rear seats are easy to access.

Okay, it might look a bit large for you during the week but you need that rear-space at weekends. I’d take a 2011 version if needs be. There’s lots of safety and comfort equipment. And pricing should be decent because they gave the latest version a big facelift last year – tell them that. The seats are big and strong.

Check that the driver’s seat has the sort of adjustability you require for your back. No car is worth a curse if it doesn’t ‘fit’ you. I think Aidan’s choices are excellent and sensible too, so you have plenty of choice. I just think the Superb ticks a lot of boxes for you.

Email: ecunningham@independent.ie

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