Tuesday 20 February 2018

Newer Golf? Change Picasso? Different Audi? Dearer diesel? Octavia hatch?


Skoda Octavia
Skoda Octavia

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 hope you can set me on the right path. Budget: €18,000/€19,000. 10,000 miles a year; 5dr, 4 seats required. Current car a Golf CL 2004, 98,000km; NCT to 02/18. Due to young family and some trips to the west I want to upgrade to a newer petrol Golf. I'm looking at a few options: 2015 1.2 HL inclusive of trade-in; Import UK Match edition 1.4 TSi and sell my own car or wait til later in the year for a better deal as current car is running well. With the facelifted Golf coming and the MK VIII due in 2018, I am unsure what is the best course of action.

Aidan: The Golf has just been given a mid-life improvement, so my guess is a new one won't land until 2019. Effects on residual values from the launch of a new model Golf are not that dramatic and they dissipate as you go down the line, so I would not let it dissuade me from buying a used one this year. The best reason for waiting would be to save a few more euro and get your budget to break the €20,000 mark. Currently, you will struggle to get a 2015-plate Highline. Residual values in today's market means every extra €1,500/€2,000 or so buys you a fresher registration plate. So, it makes sense to hold-off for a few more months. The Golf revisions are not major and so the original MK 7 still holds its own against the upgrades.

Scour the market and see if there is anything suitable now. If not, ask your local dealer to look out for the cleanest Highline or even Edition-R Golf they can find. Let them do the work for you instead of flying to the UK yourself and potentially getting into trouble. There is no shortage of Golfs here. Perhaps sell your car privately anyway and approach a dealer as a cash customer.

Eddie: I'd be tempted to go now. Sales are low enough, there isn't much activity and dealers will be delighted to see you. That should mean a better deal all round. Update and enjoy the summer.

My wife drives a 2006 Citroen Xsara Picasso 1.6 diesel, 190,000km, from new. Timing belts done last year; well maintained but we are wary of big bills and the NCT is becoming a struggle. It has been relatively trouble free and is pleasing to drive but is becoming long in the tooth. Should we stick or go? Looked at Hyundai Tuscon but it's too big; we are getting on and children have left (almost). Want to downsize but don't like the new Citroen. Petrol, diesel or hybrid? We expect mileage will be lower with more city driving. Budget: €20,000-€25,000 with trade-in. New/used; would consider UK import. Prefer something with high seating of Picasso and versatility of MPV. Really confused over what way to go.

Aidan: You covered, on average, 17,000km a year in your Picasso. Now you will be covering fewer kms, mainly around town. You can probably go for a petrol. If the Tucson is too big then its counterparts almost certainly are as well but look at a 1.2-litre petrol Nissan Qashqai anyway. It is better to look at space in the car than look for it. The Qashqai is roomy without being huge. You can easily afford a 162-plate SV model, maybe even wrangle a 171 ex-demo. If the Qashqai is still too big, look at the Honda HR-V. It's got a fine 1.5-litre petrol engine. Go for ES trim. You can get a 161-plate without maxing your budget. The HR-V gives you some height but without a large physical footprint. You mentioned a hybrid but your budget won't quite get you there. Perhaps an ex-demo Niro is just attainable. The C-HR also comes with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol though, so you can go for that; 162-plate Lunas are achievable.

Eddie: Maybe take a look at the Renault Scenic 5-seater too. It has the height and an excellent 1.2-litre petrol engine to suit your more urban pursuits. The Scenic now looks more like an SUV but it has nice height and is still an MPV. Space isn't great in the rear but take a look. I'm puzzled why you don't like current Picasso 5-seater. It is popular. Maybe take another look?

I drive a 2010 Audi A5 Sportsback 2.0 TDI, current mileage is 210,000km. I love the car but a few minor things are starting to cost me. It's seven and I need to change it. My circumstances have changed so I don't have a huge budget: total €20-€22,000; annual mileage 40,000km, need 4dr, 5 seats. Want something reliable, solid, low mileage, 2-litre diesel, low tax. Wish list: A4 Avant 2014 or BMW X1.

Aidan: You need something with as low an odometer as possible. Irrespective of future residuals on your trade-in, you don't want to expire perishable parts in the short-term.

The thing with premium brands is that they are popular imports; this year quite a few have landed from the UK. Be vigilant. In certain circumstances, Ireland can be a dumping ground for bad UK cars. The top end of your budget will just about buy a nice 2014 A4 Avant. You can get one from a dealer who has properly serviced it to a high standard and providing warranty. It sounds like a great car for you, though. It is a tremendous machine for long distances. The X1 16d/18d SE is about on the money but it is an entirely different animal to the A4 so I am afraid it comes down to personal preference. The Audi Q3 also comes into the equation.

There are quite a few low mileage Mazda6 2.2l Executive SE models knocking around at decent money. If you can stretch another €1,000 or so it will buy a fresh 2015 model with a tiny odometer and all the equipment and reliability you can want.

Eddie: Buy the Audi A4 Avant. Lovely car; underrated, unspectacular but will go for a long time. You've an Audi trade-in; you obviously like the brand so if it ain't broke why fix it?

I am looking for a used diesel car. Is it true that motor tax rates for these cars maybe changing in the future because of their damage to the environment? It may be wise for me to consider a petrol model. I currently drive 26,000km a year. I would appreciate your advice.

Aidan: Honestly, I am not sure what is going to happen. As far as I am aware, nothing has been agreed. Motor tax rates have changed since 2008 and we used to experience incremental changes in annual Budgets when we had the old engine capacity tax system, so an increase of some description should not cause mass hysteria. I just hope the politicians don't make an unruly mess of things like in 2008. Nobody wants a repeat of that. I would buy a diesel car if I was doing your mileage and I wouldn't think twice about it.

Eddie: Yes, there is a lot of talk about hitting diesel with higher excise duty and upping road tax in the Budget as part of an 'equalisation' process with petrol. My gut instinct is there will be something. But hand on heart, you need a diesel with your mileage. That is the sort of distance for which diesel cars are made. Please get one with low mileage. At 25,000km a year you don't feel big numbers rolling up on the odometer. Buy used, low-mileage diesel.

I have a Skoda Octavia Combi 1.6 diesel 198,000km, 2010. Service required and timing belt soon to be done. It's worth €7,500 approx. Thinking of changing and Combi not really required so saloon/ hatchback would suffice. New or secondhand? I am happy with Skoda for family of four. I could manage new with the PCP finance. Really valued your advice in the past.

Aidan: You might find your car is not worth your estimation as a trade-in. It could be worth that amount as a retail car or if you sell it privately but just be aware the value is probably less if you trade it in. What about an Octavia hatchback? It has just been revised but there is a readily available volume of older-shape Octavias at good prices and with excellent equipment levels. Quite a few Style models were sold in 2016 so you've a tremendous choice. Not sure PCP will work at your mileage. I equally don't think you need to venture further afield than the Octavia. Buy the youngest, best condition, lowest mileage one you can.

Eddie: Buy as new an Octavia hatchback as you can get your hands on. Keep it nice and simple. You don't need PCP.

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