Saturday 27 May 2017

Going to buy a used car next year? Here are our best picks depending on your budget

You should check out any prospective purchase thoroughly
You should check out any prospective purchase thoroughly

Tens of thousands of you are planning on, or thinking about, buying a used car next year.

As we receive (and are delighted to address) so many requests for advice on what to buy each week (see Back Page) we challenged each other to come up with our own Top Used-Car buys under a number of different price, and age, brackets.

As you will see we agree on some and don't on others.

But we do hope it will be of help to you.

It goes without saying - yet always worth repeating - that you should check out any prospective purchase thoroughly (have someone who knows about cars do it).

Make sure there is no outstanding finance on it.

And make sure the seller - if not a dealer - is above board. Private sales are potentially far riskier and you have less comeback.

Finally, the price ranges we've worked under are flexible and depend on mileage, spec and condition so you might need a few euro more to get your car in some cases.

Bargain hard. Best of luck.

Around €5,000

Aidan: Mazda2, Honda Jazz, Opel Corsa.

At this budget, reliability is key. You could nearly weld the bonnets shut on the Mazda2 and the Jazz, they are so reliable. Forget about specification, and buy one whichever has the lowest mileage and verified service record.

The Opel Corsa is solid and cheap to run and there are loads of them so you can afford to be choosy and wait for the right one to come along.

Eddie: I would replace the Corsa with a Toyota Yaris (excellent car). Only problem is how old does it have to be to get it for €5,000? And I'd agonise over having a Ford Fiesta in there too. Great car.

€10,000

Aidan: 2011 Toyota Auris 1.33, 2011 Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi, 2011 SEAT Leon 1.6 TDi SE.

Toyota sold a lot of high spec Auris Sport models in 2011 so keep your eyes peeled for one of those with the excellent 1.33 litre petrol engine. The Focus changed model in 2011 so you can buy either the old or new shape.

If you want loads of kit, go for the last of the old models. Everything came as standard on them. The Leon is brilliant value for money and SE trim is generous.

Eddie: I'd put a well-minded 2011 Honda Civic ahead of the Focus and Leon. So that would mean dropping the Leon. Sorry Aidan.

€12,000

Aidan: 2010/11 Nissan Qashqai, 2012 Kia cee'd SW, 2013 Dacia Duster.

Although it is starting to get a little dated looking now, one of the benefits of the Qashqai being around for so long is that you can buy one at nearly any budget. Great product that is in steady supply nationwide.

The cee'd SW makes for a great family car with potentially a little manufacturer warranty left on it. Admittedly the Duster is an odd choice but your money will go a long way in one so it is worth considering if you want a young, diesel car with loads of warranty left.

Eddie: You've got me there. I think all three make a lot of sense in a strange sort of way. Let's agree on just this one, okay?

€15,000

Aidan: 2013 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, 2012 Peugeot 5008, 2010/2011 Ford Galaxy.

€15,000 is a popular budget with families looking for something to tackle the school run, sports activities, and trips down the country.

The C4 Grand Picasso is a good buy. Go for VTR+ or Edition models. The Peugeot 5008 only comes with good equipment levels and is a proven performer.

The Galaxy is a big enough seven-seater to accommodate adults in every seat. More expensive new so you will have to buy an older one. You will need a bigger budget for an Alhambra but it's worth pursuing

Eddie: Hard to argue with that people-carrier line-up. But I'd put in a Hyundai Santa Fe if you could find one. Good buy. Peugeot would have to make way. Tough, tough call.

€18,000

Aidan: 2014 Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDi Ambition, 2015 Peugeot 2008, 2012/2013 Lexus CT200h.

Solid build quality, excellent interior space and a brilliant diesel engine makes the Octavia a great choice. Look for a €18,000 low mileage 2014 plate Ambition or Elegance model.

The Peugeot 2008 is a goldilocks car; not too big, not too small, just right for a lot of people. Good engine choice, too.

The Lexus CT200h is a stylish hybrid, and perfect for anyone commuting in traffic and prefers an automatic.

Eddie: This time I've got three of my own: A 131 Volvo V40 (solid, stylish), 141 Toyota Corolla (great saloon), 141 Mazda3 (goes forever).

€20,000

Aidan: 2014 Hyundai ix35, 131 Nissan Qashqai+2, 141/151 VW Golf 1.6 TDi.

The ix35 used to be in short supply on the used market but thanks to the new Tucson, there are loads being traded in.

Skip past Comfort models and opt for an Executive if you want all of the goodies. The Qashqai+2 is a five seater with two additional rear seats for exceptional circumstances (space is tight). Useful, rare, solid family car. Volkswagen sold a lot of Highline model Golfs in the last few years, and so they make a great purchase on the used market.

The interior and quality of the materials age extremely well.

Eddie: Good choices. I'd take a look at an Opel Zafira Tourer instead of the Qashqai+2 (for room) and add a Skoda Superb (for even more room) instead of the Golf.

€22,000

Aidan: 2015 Honda HR-V, 2015 Renault Kadjar, 2012/2013 Audi Q3.

I've all SUVs in this price category.

The HR-V is a tidy machine with good space and a choice of petrols or diesels.

Go for a 152 plate 1.5 litre petrol or 1.6 litre diesel ES model depending on your budget and requirements.

The Kadjar shows how far Renault has come. The 1.5 litre diesel engine might be old as the hills but it is reliable. The shape is modern and the ride is compliant on bad Irish roads.

The Q3 is a great entry point into the premium brand and would make a good start if you eventually see yourself in the new Q2.

Eddie: BMW's 1-series is vastly underrated. There's a lovely drive in it.

I've criticised the Mercedes A-Class (well, just one specific version) but it's a decent alternative too.

And you'd get a lovely Golf for that money.

€25,000

Aidan: 2015 Audi A3 saloon, 2015 Toyota Rav4, 2015 Skoda Superb Combi.

The A3 saloon is a brilliant car with refinement and quality materials. Holds its value tremendously well, too. Interesting choice in petrol with the auto transmission, if you can find one.

The RAV4 in Luna trim will tackle family life regardless of whether you are ferrying kids and buggies, or grandkids and golf buggies.

Skoda sold a load of Superb Combis before the new model arrived so keep your eyes peeled for high spec Elegance models.

Eddie: The A3 saloon is a package and a half, I agree.

But I'm not as big a fan of the Rav4 as I was so I'd pick a packed-to-gills runout 2016 Hyundai ix35 instead.

I've already picked a Skoda Superb so I'm plumping for a totally underrated 2013 Lexus IS300h.

€30,000

Aidan: 2013 Range Rover Evoque, 141 BMW 5 Series, 151 Mercedes CLA.

The Evoque is super stylish and ageing gracefully. You will have to stretch a little over €30,000 to get the Pure Tech model but it is worth it. Most are 4WD but there is a basic 2WD Pure model as well.

There is a new 5 Series out next year so watch for loads of nice used ones being traded in.

They should be competitively priced, too.

The CLA is a Mercedes back to its best. Great shape, engine choices and refined interior. Go for an Urban model.

Eddie: Can't let the opportunity go without recommending a Volvo XC60. Great car. Goodbye to Aidan's Mercedes CLA for me. Like the idea of the other two.

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