Wednesday 21 February 2018

Advice desk: What trade-in can I get for my Toyota Corolla hatchback 2003 with €5k budget?

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'

Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi Outlander

I have had a Toyota Corolla hatchback 2003 1.4 petrol for the past 5 years; 184,000 miles. I'm undecided if I want to keep driving it until it won't drive any more or is it best to get a new car? I would like to trade in. My budget is €4,000-€5,000.

Aidan: This might be a case of the better the devil you know. If running your car into the ground means you can save more, then so be it.

Make sure you don't throw good money after bad by frequently repairing bits here and there. Used cars under €5,000 are typically older with high mileage and potentially in need of costly reconditioning. My fear is you could end up blowing your whole budget on something that will cost you a lot of money to put right in a relatively short space of time.

If you keep driving the Corolla, you still need an exit strategy down the road. If you decide to change, look for another Corolla, a Mazda 3, a Honda Civic or a Kia Rio. Only buy one that is measurably better than yours. If you buy privately, ensure you purchase a vehicle history report and have a mechanic closely inspect the car. Forget the cost of both of these things; they pale in comparison to the cost of buying a lemon.

As for trading your Corolla into a dealer, I think you should reconsider selling it privately and going to a franchise or reputable independent dealer with cash. Your bargaining power is greatly increased if you do.

Eddie: I completely concur with Aidan. My plan would be for you to hold the Corolla - so long as it's safe - for as long as you can. Try to save a few euro and buy a more recent vintage after a couple of years. Your overall mileage isn't that high, so hold, hope and hoard a few thousand more euro.


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 kms).
  • Size of car required (number of seats).
  • Present car (make, model, year and mileage) if relevant.

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