Tuesday 22 October 2019

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

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Independent Advice Desk: Ask our experts

Q I drive a 100km commute each way five days a week. We live in the country and drive a good bit at the weekend. Throw in some travel for work and I do a lot of mileage.

I drive a top-spec 131 Audi A4 and am saving to buy a car I have had my eye on for a while - a Mercedes CLA 220 AMG. But the recent Government announcement has scared me. I need a diesel and was going to buy brand new in 2020, if not nearly new. Will it be worthless in four or five years' time?

From what I can see there is no electric car to suit my needs or my taste available.

Gillian: There will be a need for a diesel car for a long time; maybe not always, but for many years yet to come.

The CLA is a beauty and with your large amount of driving, diesel is the option for you.

There is no CLA 220d available just yet; in fact the majority of the current range is petrol.

I have no doubt that the range will have extended by 2020, however, and CO2 figures for the range are pretty low so any tax implications should be similar to any changes to the A4.

Your car won't be worthless; there will be someone for it so stick with your saving.


Eddie: I'd buy a new C-Class diesel.

For your mileage I'd plump for the larger saloon because you will notice the difference in size coming down from the A4.

The A4 might be worth waiting for too, as it is getting a substantial makeover right now. I'd wait and see it before deciding.

This is a big decision for you, so take your time. And remember that with your mileage the larger car is a major asset.


Q We are based near the city centre and our mileage needs are low. We do want the option to go on the occasional long journey. What would you recommend?

Thinking of a Volkswagen Polo 1.2, maybe 2015/2016. My preference is petrol or hybrid. Budget (including trade-in): up to €12,000; annual mileage about 8k to 10k. Current car: 04D Renault Laguna, 60,000kms.

Gillian: There is no Polo hybrid option just yet but the 1.2 petrol is a solid buy; €12k will get you a 2016 1-litre in a well-specced Comfortline model.

The 1.2 was the older model. If you wanted a hybrid, the Toyota Yaris 1.5 might be the answer.

You should just about get into 2015 Luxury model, but they are scarce and get snapped up quickly so if you find one, grab it.

My other option is a Renault Clio - great value for money and you will get a 171 for budget.

Eddie: The Yaris wins it for me because it is a hybrid and an automatic - and the latter is a major driving-comfort element in city driving.

Q We are a retired couple, living in rural Ireland where a car is essential, but without too many long journeys.

We are driving a 12 Ford Fiesta (petrol), 69,000 miles, and would like to trade it in before it loses all value. We hope to be able to upgrade with about €5,000 or a little more. We need something economical. Should we try over the Border?

Gillian: How about coming up one year on the reg plate but also into something bigger and more economical? A Toyota Auris hybrid. These are highly sought-after at the moment and should continue to be for a while. Your budget will allow for a 2012 model - look for a Luxury spec.

Eddie: I'd go for the newest petrol Fiesta you can afford as you will get a decent deal on your own as a trade in. I'm a firm believer in trying to deal with the same marque for buying and trading as people usually feel they get that bit more of an allowance on their own. It's good for you too as you'll have minimum fuss. Stick with petrol.

Q I'd like to buy a diesel. I cover 40,000km a year as part of my job and I don't see an alternative.

I have a BMW 320d but would like to change into something more, as Eddie says, mainstream. What would hold its value best for the next three years or am I going to be hit with massive depreciation?

Gillian: You clearly need a diesel but if you want a saloon, going mainstream might not be the best idea.

SUVs are taking over this end of the market and saloons are suffering. The likes of the 3 series, 5 series, C-Class, E-Class etc are holding in because of their luxury name.

If you are open to buying an SUV, this is where I would put my money and you could still go for the luxury end with an Audi Q3. If you want a mainstream saloon, I would suggest a Volkswagen Arteon. It's already holding its value well and will have a following.

Eddie: I'm afraid I have to disagree with Gillian on this. I'd stick with the saloon format and, if it were my decision, I'd go Skoda Superb 2-litre diesel. I think it is great value, robust and well-regarded in the secondhand market.

Irish Independent

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