Thursday 13 December 2018

€20k budget; Room for dogs; Three rows of seats; Cutting repayments; 'Drinking petrol'

Car-value expert Gillian Keogh teams up with Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham to help you make the right choice with your next purchase. Gillian is Editor of a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars produced by the Motor Trade Publishers team. The team supplies a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses

Nissan X-Trail
Nissan X-Trail

I have an old Fiat Punto. It's worth nothing, but I have been saving to buy a small crossover because my girlfriend and I want a good car to go down the country to our families at weekends as well as commute to work in Dublin. We both work for the same firm.

We were going to leave it until the spring, but our car is giving a lot of trouble and we need to buy now rather than waste money on repairs.

What would you suggest? We have a budget of €20k between us.

Gillian: Let's start with the Nissan Qashqai. It arrived in 2007 and since then has had a huge following. The newer model is popular in both petrol and diesel engines. It it is roomy and nice to drive, and €20k will get you into a well-specced 2016 SV Premium with a 1.2 petrol with some small change, or a 2016 1.5 diesel with no change. You could go for a 2017 plate if you opt for base XE spec.

The Hyundai Tucson 1.7 diesel is a good choice too, with your budget affording a 2016 mid-range spec model.

The Honda HR-V, like the Qashqai, comes as a petrol or diesel and has a good few spec choices. The mid-spec ES would fit your budget for a 2016 model (you could even opt for auto) or, at a stretch, the same year in diesel.

Eddie: You say small crossover, which prompts me to think that with your €20k budget you might be looking at versions of the Renault Captur, Nissan Juke, Opel Crossland, Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona and SEAT Arona, to mention a few. The Juke and Captur have been popular buys for a long time, so there might be more choice of individual model.

I'm currently driving an 09 Toyota Avensis diesel estate with 184,000km on the clock. I need space for dogs, golf clubs and bike. My annual mileage is 27,500km to 28,500km, usually driver and one passenger. I normally buy a one to two-year-old and keep for seven to eight years.

I'd like to change and am open to diesel, petrol or hybrid. Mileage consists of 20pc urban, 20pc motorway, 60pc national and rural. Budget is around €25,000 plus value of trade-in (Toyota inform me €5,000 to €5,500).

Please consider economy, environment and boot space in recommendations.

Gillian: I would stick with a diesel and an estate based on your needs. Not quite sure you will get a full €5k for your current model, but if you do, take it.

In the new year, you would be looking for a 181 or 171/172 for close to €30k. This sounds like a good opportunity to get into a BMW. A two-year-old 318d SE estate would be good. Research suggests used estates aren't making a lot more than their equivalent saloon, so you are in luck.

An Audi A4 estate would be a good move too. Most come well-equipped.

If you wanted to go for a 2018, the Skoda Superb estate would be my pick, closely followed by a VW Passat.

Eddie: I agree on estate and diesel. There is a nice Opel Insignia estate diesel that I think might come in at the right money. There's also a lovely Peugeot 508 estate.

I drive a Japanese import 2001 Toyota Estima Aeras (2.4 petrol, 240,000km, also known as Previa). It has served me well for 13 years, but I'm worried it may be on its last legs.

I've had it serviced every year, and the mechanic says it's in good condition, but the exhaust had to be replaced recently because it was rusty. Finding the replacement part wasn't easy, and I'm worried it may be the start of more faults. Annual car tax is almost €1,200. It's quite heavy on the petrol, so it might be time to say goodbye.

I guess I can afford the following: 1. €10,000 savings; 2. €20,000 loan; 3. Whatever I get for my car (very little, I guess). My Annual mileage is around 15,000km, mainly on M50 during rush hour, so plenty of stop/start.

The Estima is an eight-seater, but it's quite rare I need more than five seats. I would still like something with extra back seats, if it doesn't increase the price too much.

Gillian: I don't see you getting much (if anything) for your car. I will work with somewhere between €20k and €30k, so you don't need to go too big on a loan. You shouldn't have to because there are a good few options available, starting with the popular Ford S-Max. You could get a 161 for around €25k, or a 171 for nearer the top end of the budget.

Volkswagen have a similar machine with the Touran. They also had a model change late in 2015, and used values are similar to the S-Max.

If you are happy to go back to a 142, the Nissan X-Trail seven-seat would come in under €20k, so anywhere up to a 172 is possibly in budget. You might even find a 181 - there are a good few around. You don't need a diesel at 15,000km a year, so keep an eye out for a 1.6 petrol X-Trail.

Eddie: If we rule out diesel on your mileage - and we more or less do - then how about also thinking of a Skoda Kodiaq 1.4-petrol Active with seven seats? They are scarce, but there might be a few one or two-year-olds around.

We have a Mercedes V-Class (79,000km, 161reg) seven-seater. Finance (PCP) balance of €32k left. Repayments are €1,000 a month, something we can no longer afford. We need to change to bring our repayments down. We have four kids, so need a family wagon. If possible, we need a second 4x4 too after the engine died a death a week after passing the DOE.

That's our story; our heads are wrecked from it. Please help and give us impartial advice. The 4x4 needs €2,000 to get it going after spending €1,400 to get it to pass the DOE. We want to have repayments capped at around €550/600 per month.

Gillian: I would need more information on the 4x4 to decide if the €2k is worth paying or if it's time to let it go and replace it. How about we work with repayments of €550/€600 on a car and then you can look at what you have left over after the V-Class for a 4x4. Straight away I am thinking of the Peugeot 5008. They've done a hell of a job on the new seven-seater.

Another option is the Nissan X-Trail. Although it might be a little hard to consider coming from a Mercedes, the Citroen Grand C4 Space Tourer is value for money, and with four children, it would be a huge help to you.

Eddie: I'd add the Kodiaq seven-seater I mentioned in the previous answer, but the 5008 is a good buy. But let me deal with how you go about this. First thing to do is make a decision on which of these cars you can live with, whether you should go new or fairly new (that will determine what sort of finance you get), and how much you wish/can afford to spend on the car for the repayments you outline. Go to the nearest dealer for one of the marques mentioned and say you are shopping around. Ask what they can do for you on your financial limits.

The V-Class is on PCP so you have to clear that, don't forget. I hear your anguish, but once you and your family decide which car to go for, let the dealer do the work on making an acceptable deal for you. There are other dealers. This can be sorted, don't worry.

I suspect you may have to throw good money after bad on the 4x4 to get you through another year until things stabilise. Your 4x4 isn't saleable as is, so I think it would be worth fixing it up to hold for 12 months or so, otherwise you'll encroach on your ability to buy as good a car as possible for the family.

My car (Honda Civic 07, 1.4 petrol, 180,000 km) is drinking petrol and I really need to get some more room for myself and my three kids. I would like to come up in as many years as I can, but with low mileage and bigger space for growing kids (not looking for much)

I will need to hold onto it for five years, so it would be great if it held some value for a future trade-in. Really hate MPVs (in case that was one of my options). Any help would be much appreciated. My budget is €10k plus trade-in. Annual mileage 20,000km.

Gillian: You could look for a diesel saloon. It will have the space and there will be plenty of choice around the €10k/€12k mark. I'd start with the Honda Accord 2.2 diesel engine.

A 1.6 diesel would be more suitable, so how about a Skoda Superb or VW Passat? You would be looking at a 131 in either. The Hyundai i40 and Kia Optima are both 1.7-litre and you'd be looking at 131-reg in either. Peugeot have a frugal diesel engine in the 508, and your budget would get you a 141-plate in Active spec.

Eddie: The trick is trying to get something with fairly decent mileage for your budget. Gillian's suggestions are spot on. On 20,000km you probably will find diesel best. I'd suggest a Mazda6 diesel for reliability, but you may have to expand your budget a little. I think it would be money well spent.

Help us help you

WE love getting your enquiries and try to reply to as many as possible here or via email. The ones dealt with here often represent a cross section of individual questions. You can help us help you with our free, independent, advice by including the following in your queries:

* Budget (including trade-in).

* Annual mileage (in km).

* Size of car required (number of seats).

* Present car (make, model, year and mileage) if relevant.

ecunningham@independent.ie

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