Tuesday 23 April 2019

Are you buying a new or second-hand car? Ask our experts


Peugeot Rifter
Peugeot Rifter

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

I am a 30-year-old guy who has owned 10 cars in the last 12 years. I'm driving a 2007 Audi A3 I picked up for €800 and recommissioned it as I was between jobs and needed a runabout. I'm after getting a new job that requires a 140km daily commute, my little 1.6 A3 needs to go. My budget is anything up to €13k.

I know cars fairly well so will do most of my own mechanical work. I really hate spending one euro more on buying a car than I should. However, as I'm looking at my options I'm just a little bit stuck on what I should pick up. I've had two BMWs (Z4 and 320i) and like them, so a 123d appeals, but I'm terrified of the N47 timing chain issue.

I like Audis but they aren't fun to drive so I'm thinking of a 09 CLK Mercedes 2.2 CDi. It might be the right combination of motorway suitable and fun to drive.

Would I be better off with an A4 Avant or Jaguar X-TYPE and spending money on a classic car so that I have a two-car garage? It's a Jekyll and Hyde scenario. I'm a bit confused.

Gillian: I'm smiling reading this. You sound like my husband when he was a 28-year-old. A new car every year at least; always thinking of the next buy; glad to repair it himself if it was worth it, and happiest when he had two cars sitting outside the house (and a motorbike). Now nearly 40, he has a Land Rover Defender he resurrected, Porsche Boxster he recently bought in anticipation of another great summer and a Lexus IS for being a normal dad (and a motorbike of course). I think you won't be happy with the A4 or X-TYPE, not until you have owned the CLK first.

You need to get this one out of the system and you are right, it is a perfect combo of fit-for-purpose and fun. The 123d isn't a huge change from the A3, the A4 and X-TYPE are a little sensible.

I am thinking that maybe a Mercedes E-Class Coupé would be the better Merc option as it looks a lot fresher and there will be more choice in the market.

You 100pc want comfort for your daily commute. So while you might not want to spend the guts of the budget, I would do so for the right model.

You could, of course, search hard for an older, well-minded model and still get that classic car. But bear in mind the additional cost of insurance, tax and fuel for a second car. I would love to hear what you do; please let us know.

Eddie: Yes let us know. I can't better Gillian's advice so good luck.

I'm not in a great rush but my Nissan Note 08, 60k, petrol has started showing its age (no issues). I'd love to go electric but I am hesitant to add 'charging planning' to my weekends, and the range is not there yet.

Currently I am thinking about a new Rifter/Berlingo. However the petrol version is too new so the cost would be around the €25k mark. I considered one of the Toyota hybrids, but I will end up paying the same for a smaller car and not save much in petrol due to the mileage I do.

I expect that in 10 years electrics will be much more popular; hence hybrids resale value may decrease significantly? Budget (including trade-in): no more than €20k, but flexible if the choice is right. Annual mileage: under 7,000kms; only weekend use. Need five seats and roomy car mainly for outdoor activities.

Gillian: Thank you for mentioning your current model and what you have been thinking. It gives me a good idea of your taste in cars so I can hopefully steer you in the right direction.

I am best-guessing that you are looking at the Rifter 1.2 Allure model priced at €25,870. With a budget of €20k and not being in a great rush, why not wait until 2020 and buy a one-year-old model? I don't think you will find a petrol Berlingo and it looks a little dated to me so I am not sure it's a good move for you. Ford and Volkswagen have a similar-sized MPV with their Tourneo Connect and Caddy Life but again they are only available as diesels. Finding a petrol MPV that rivals the Rifter is near impossible but I will mention a Dacia Duster; you could afford a well specced new model. Or how about the last of the Skoda Yeti 1.2 range which won't take up your full budget. A Suzuki Vitara might be worth a look too.

Eddie: Seems to me the Rifter ticks most boxes for you but I would wait until next year before buying.

I'm beside myself with worry. I am expecting our third child in June and our old Opel Astra is packing up.

We don't have a lot of money as things are tight. Where will I get a car, and what car, to carry three children for €7/€8,000? We don't have any other car.

Gillian & Eddie: This depends on the age of your other two children as you may require three car seats to fit in the back. If this is the case, then we would suggest you opt for a 7-seater such as the Toyota Verso, Ford C-MAX, Mazda5 or Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. These are all MPV models that will fall into your budget easily.

Start your search using popular car sites, then make a shortlist of dealers near you and then visit them.

Make sure to look for a spare key, full service history, standard number of owners for registration plate year and at least a 3-month engine and gearbox warranty.

If your children are a little older and you could survive with just a small booster seat for one, then how about looking at an SUV instead?

For the money, your best bet is a Nissan Qashqai +2. A good few of these come with glass roofs and often the back row of seats will be like new as they were bought for larger leg room, boot space or just occasional passenger use.

I like the look of the BMW 4-series but what else should I look at before deciding as I find the whole thing confusing?

I drive an old petrol Mercedes-Benz C-Class that is battered but still going, though worth nothing. My budget now is €30,000.

Gillian: I love the 4-series, especially the 4d Gran Coupé and as an M Sport Auto model, it pretty much ticks all my boxes. Around €30k should get you a 2016 model.

A good contender for your money would be an Audi A5. My only reservation about this one is that your quoted budget isn't enough for the new model that arrived in Ireland mid-2017 so you would be buying the last of an old model, but a sexy old model at that.

Maybe go for high specced 2016 model that will hold its value well - like an S-Line.

You already have a C-Class and while it is undeniably a solid motor, you have been there so a change might be nice.

Having said that, the C-Class Coupé model wins out against the Audi and BMW on a few things so don't fully rule it out.

If you had some extra cash to add to the pot think Lexus RC300h too. Not everyone's cup of tea but as you currently have a petrol, you may not need a diesel so I am slipping this hybrid in.

Eddie: Buy the car you love. If you don't you will compare whatever you buy against it for as long as it's yours. So BMW 4-series it is.

I only use my car for driving around our large provincial town. My 2014 Micra only has 50,000km on it. Should I stick with it or go electric? I have €20,000 of a budget plus trade-in. What should I do? I'd like to change but am I only throwing money away?

Gillian: You don't need to change so some might see a new car as throwing money away. But you would like to change so it would be money well spent in my eyes. Go electric; you don't do much driving; you will have no issues selling it again. You will be helping the environment and best of all you will have extremely low running costs. You also have a decent budget so I would suggest you look at the new Nissan Leaf that launched last year and you will pick up a 181 in budget.

If you want a new 191/192 model, Renault have their electric Zoe. It is closer in size than the Leaf to your Micra and will be a bit of fun. Make sure you do some research on owing an electric car and chat with the dealer about battery options.

Another option is a hybrid. Running costs will be higher than an electric but less than your current car. Toyota have the Yaris hybrid but I would be opting for the more impressive new Corolla.

If you just want to change and are happy to stick with a petrol, the new Micra is lovely. It is a radical change from your 2014 model and wouldn't require you to use all of your budget.

Eddie: I wouldn't change. Why should you? There are at least two more years in your car before you'd need to buy new again. By then your choice of electric vehicle will have quadrupled at least. Hold on.

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 kms).

* Size of car required (number of seats).

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


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