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Are you buying a new or second-hand car? Our experts answer your questions

Independent Advice Desk

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Try it out: It is recommended to always drive a car you are interested in buying for 30kms/40kms to see if it does what it says on the tin.

Try it out: It is recommended to always drive a car you are interested in buying for 30kms/40kms to see if it does what it says on the tin.

Try it out: It is recommended to always drive a car you are interested in buying for 30kms/40kms to see if it does what it says on the tin.

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.

Q I really need your help as my head is wrecked from trying to decide which new car to buy.

I currently drive a 161 Toyota RAV4 diesel. I am looking at changing to either a Volvo XC40 Momentum or Skoda KAROQ Style.

There is a huge difference in price new between both cars (€5,300). Also, in contention is the Peugeot 3008 SUV, which is €3,000 less expensive. Which car is a best option? Resale is a big factor.

Gillian: If you look at how a two-year-old (181) is performing in today's market then the order would go like this: 3008, Karoq, XC40 - but there is very little in it.

The residual value figures for them are 76pc, 75pc, 74pc respectively so the best thing to do is take all three out for a spin and then decide.

If I had to choose, I would go for the Karoq in Style spec as you mentioned. Because the Volvo is priced so heavily new, it will limit the number of buyers when you go to sell on. The Skoda and Peugeot will have a bigger audience. Definitely go for high spec.

Something to think about is the warranty, Skoda offers three years while Peugeot offers an impressive five.

Eddie: I'm not as big a fan of the KAROQ as I thought I'd be. It seems to lack the appeal of the larger KODIAQ which is everyone's favourite.

And I think the Volvo is too pricey. So, not necessarily by default, the Peugeot 3008SUV would come top of the three as far as I'd be concerned. It's a car you'll like a lot, I feel.

Q We are a young, newly married couple who may start a family in one or two years. We have a 2014 Audi A4 2-litre diesel, with 113,000 miles on the clock, in great condition. We are thinking about upgrading to an Audi A6 or a Land Rover Evoque or maybe something completely different.

We do a lot of driving - about 35,000miles a year. We would have a budget of about €10,000 plus our A4 as a trade-in.

We are wondering is it better to trade before the mileage gets higher on our A4 or keep it for another while? I'd appreciate your guidance.

Gillian: You have a great car in great condition, but it does have around 30,000 miles over standard mileage for a 141. If you keep it for another year and do another 35k, it will be pushing things a bit. But the A4 is one of those cars that can handle that sort of thing once it's serviced regularly.

While I love the Evoque, you will most likely only get back into a 141 in it for your extra €10k, which might not be the best move for you. I would keep the A4 for another year before opting for an A6.

The problem I see is that you seem to want an executive brand but another €10k won't get you far past a six-year-old. If that doesn't bother you, how about an Audi Q3?

If you do want something newer and can do without the premium branding, I would look for a low mileage SEAT Ateca or Volkswagen Tiguan.

Eddie: I'd change now and get into as fresh an Audi A6 as you can manage. I think your car will lose a lot of value with another 35,000km on it.

I'd change immediately.

And the reason I suggest another Audi is you are trading like for like and will be far more likely to get an optimum deal.

Q I am driving a 171-reg Toyota Corolla saloon Sol with 80,000km. I will not be doing as much driving in the future, so 20,000km will be the annual maximum.

I'm interested in a Toyota hatchback but afraid of hybrid, due to the fact a lot of my driving is on motorways. I am concerned about whether the running costs with the hybrid will be equal to the diesel.

I have a budget of €13,000 with the trade in. What would be your advice: Toyota hybrid or would you recommend another car?

Gillian: Don't fear hybrid, certainly not the Corolla. I suggest going for the Sol spec again only this time on the hybrid.

You will get a good trade-in price for your current model or you could chance selling privately so you can walk in as a cash buyer, ready to do a deal.

I don't have a better recommendation for you to be honest.

Eddie: I'd say if you are a bit afraid of the hybrid that you should take one for a test drive along the motorway for 40km and see what the consumption is like.

I think you should be quite clinical about this because different people get different results from driving hybrids.

I would also suggest that before you make any decision you should drive the 1.6-litre diesel saloon version of the Honda Civic.

What a car for fuel consumption it is, and it strikes me as being particularly suitable for the amount of motorway driving you are planning to do.

Q I'm driving a 172-D Ford Mondeo Titanium 1.5 diesel with 68,000km. I'm the second owner, the first being the garage.

I bought the car in 2018. Carzone had valued it at €18,300 and I have been offered similar by two garages. I love the comfort, boot size and extras. I do about 20,000km a year.

My commute is 24km each way. But on a monthly basis I would travel down to Cork and back, so I have an additional 10,000km to add. I'm toying with the idea of hybrid or electric. I've checked out a 181 BMW 330e plug-in and a 182-reg Mondeo hybrid. I want to maximise the value still in my current car yet move up a year or two, should I hold off or not on the hybrid?

Gillian: If you are being offered €18,300 by garages, I would take them up on it now; it's a great trade-in price. I would assume it's the price they are offering off the Mondeo hybrid.

The same might not be the case against the BMW. There aren't too many Mondeo hybrids around. It is most likely the Vignale and while it's highly specced, I would prefer the 330e over it for the money.

Eddie: The Mondeo hybrid (estate) has a drawback: the heavy loss of boot space to the battery pack and that would be my reason for not buying it. I think I'd forget hybrid or electric for the moment and go for another Mondeo diesel. Fine car. Underrated.

The BMW 330e is a really nice drive but are you prepared to diligently plug it in to get the sort of fuel consumption that warrants your outlay? I've a feeling you are not (sorry but that is the case with a lot of people). No, I'd stick with a diesel Mondeo for one last time.

Q As a young woman looking to buy my first car with a budget of €12,000. what would you advise me to look at? I only travel to work which is a 30km round trip each day as well as using it around my general area and shopping etc. And I would put up 50-100km at weekends. Could you give me three options please?

Gillian: Just three. Oh, this hard because there are plenty to choose from but I will go for good looks, new enough and cheap to run, exactly what every first car should be.

Small options are 2017 Nissan Micra 1.0 SV and 2017 Ford Fiesta 1.1 Zetec.

Mid-size is 2015 Ford Focus 1.0 Zetec.

I would usually go with Japanese with this kind of budget so the Micra would be at the top, but I think the Fiesta and Focus look best in this price bracket and age.

Eddie: I'd go Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta.

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