Budget: €7,000. Our Mission: Pick a car for a young driver
Here are three more we think you should consider
Aidan Timmons teams up with Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham to help you make a better decision when buying a budget used car. Each year, 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: Aidan. Big response to the previous €7,000 piece. Can we conjure another three?
Aidan: Eddie, just like last time around I reckon the best choices have been covered by the €10,000 segments a few weeks ago. Drop back a year or two on those and there are great choices. But here are some different options, each with their own merits.
HYUNDAI GETZ 1.1
Background: Not many people will have the Getz on their shopping lists but it deserves consideration as it is an affordable motor. It's not exciting and doesn't look as good as some rivals but it's a straightforward, honest run-around.
Engines: The 1.1 petrol is unremarkable. The best thing about it is that it will always do what it's told. You don't even have a diesel option to divert you from the most sensible choice, either. Tax and fuel consumption are low. It's a budget buyer's dream.
Residual values: The Getz' trump card. You will find it hard to match the value for money here. If you can find one, a 2009 model is within reach. They were phased out in 09 and the market fell to pieces then too so 2008s are more common. Expect it to hold its value as most superminis do at this budget.
Cabin: There isn't a whole lot going on in the cabin, I'm afraid. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the rare Deluxe models. Hyundai even fitted some of them with sunroofs. Other than that, you've got a bland and fairly featureless interior to live with. But it is sturdy and stands the test of time.
Choice: The typical Getz customer was also of an older generation so many cars will have low mileage but might come with a few dings. The Classic model is basic but more common.
Watch out for: Signs of neglect. Little cars that don't cover vast distances can sometimes be subjected to going forever without a proper service. Try using an industry recommended engine treatment to blow out carbon deposits.
Mileage can often be deceptive; if a car has only been driven short, low-gear distances or journeys with lots of clutch work, the wear and tear can be significant. Check. Interior can be awful drab. Be prepared.
KIA RIO 1.4
Background: Technically, this isn't a medium family hatch but it is a big 'small car'. What it lacks in style it more than makes up for in reliability and value for money. Kias have been reliable for far longer than they have been pretty so don't expect envious glances from other motorists except from those broken down on the side of the road.
Engines: The 1.4 petrol engine found in most Rios at this price is a capable little unit for the size of the car. Models from competitors such as Ford, Opel, Toyota and VW have smaller and more efficient engines but the Rio matches its rivals when it comes to comfortable motorway cruising. The 1.5 diesel is miserly on fuel and is a little rocket.
Residual values: In 2012, the new model Rio was introduced – quite substantially dearer than the old model – so anyone trading up either had to pay more to make the jump or got generous trade-in allowances. This helped old Rio values from falling too hard; 2009 petrol models shouldn't be out of reach on this budget.
Cabin: Opt for the higher spec EX model and you will get alloys, air con and front fogs. The interior isn't the dreariest place to sit – there is lots of budget-end black plastic but thankfully Kia had the sense to break it up with some silver trim around the steering wheel and radio fascia.
Choice: Rios didn't sell in huge numbers so don't expect to find one at every dealer. But Kia dealers love them and actively seek them to be traded back in. There is a 4dr saloon version but I think it makes the car look older than the hatch. The boot in the hatch is more convenient too.
Watch out for: Nothing, really. Older, higher mileage petrol cars can burn a little more fuel than fresh versions but it's not a major cause for concern.
Not a patch on the more expensive successor but still a good car. Try non-Kia dealers for one – that's where you could get a real bargain.
MAZDA 6, 1.8-LITRE TOURING
Background: I always agonize over which family saloon to choose much more than I do for the other segments because these are inherently older and more prone to ailments. So, I've gone for a car I owned for three years and still consider to be the best used family saloon on the market at this budget.
Engines: The 1.8 engine needs to be worked hard to get anything from it so it suits owners who enjoy visiting the red line frequently. Funnily, the 2.0 is more fuel efficient and less troublesome but the 1.8 costs less to tax and is more common. Either way, petrol Mazda 6s are far better than diesels.
Residual values: Thankfully, at this budget someone else has suffered the brunt of depreciation. Being a large petrol engine car (by Irish standards) means it has limited appeal. You might sneak into one of the newer shape 2008 models at this budget but I'd resign myself to getting the last of the older model 2007s instead.
Cabin: I was fortunate enough to find a rare 2.0 litre TS2 (Touring Sport 2) model which came with cruise control, a sunroof and Bose surround sound. Find one of these and you're in for a treat. Regular Touring models have alloys, multi-functional steering wheels and air con. The boot is enormous and rear passenger room is better than most other cars in this class.
Choice: At this budget you will see models called, Comfort, Touring and Executive. Be careful here as in October 2006 the Comfort (base model) was renamed Touring (higher model). The Touring then became known as the Executive. So if you find a 2007 Touring, it is most likely the lower grade. Higher spec models make around €500 more than entry levels so it does make a difference which one you choose.
Watch out for: The diesel engine has a bad reputation for blowing turbos and packing up due to the wrong grade of oil being used and some additional filters not being changed. The pistons in the front brake calipers can seize too. It happened to me and was a costly fix but other than that it took whatever I could throw at it.
You need to be super careful buying a large car like this for budget €7,000 money. So much can begin to go and give trouble. You need to bring your mechanic with you. Definitely.
Eddie: Thanks Alan. More next week.
The values quoted should be used as a guide only. They refer to the selling price of a vehicle in proper mechanical condition and with average mileage from a dealership. Mileage, availability, exact specification, trade-in allowances and the condition of particular vehicles can result in higher or lower values being sought by a dealer