Saturday 23 March 2019

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


SEAT Arona
SEAT Arona

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 drive a 10-reg Volkswagen Golf; himself drives an 05 Honda Civic. We are expecting a baby next month and I don't feel either car will cut it for baby's needs. The plan is to give the Golf to the husband (as he will only be transporting baby now and then) and get a new or newish family car. We have looked at several from Kuga to Octavia to Audi A6.

I want something family friendly that will last a few years but it also needs to suit hubby's need for a 'decent' car.

We have looked at buying secondhand and new. We can afford about €20k-€25k looking at repayments, but would consider a PCP deal for same repayments bearing in mind we would still owe money on the new car after three years. I am worried that buying a diesel new will be a mistake as hybrid and electric seem to be on the rise so maybe a new RAV4 hybrid would suit.

As you can see we are in an awful tizzy so any advice would help.

Gillian: Don't panic about having a new member in the family. Babies are small and, although they do require buggies and car seats - so of course a good size boot, they do not need extra leg room or head room.

There is no issue with the Golf as the second car. Even if it was your main family car it would do the job. But I would agree with swapping out the 05 Honda for a fresh, more convenient ride.

On buying petrol, hybrid or diesel - it comes down to mileage.

If you plan on more than 22,000km go with diesel. If it's more like 15/16,000km then a petrol or hybrid would suit.

Let's go with a one-year-old model to keep you in budget for a 'decent' car for the hubby.

Diesel: Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson. The Kuga was on your list and the 1.5 Titanium model will just about fit top end of the budget. For the same money you could get a Tucson 1.7 Comfort Plus.

Petrol: Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008; both with 1.2 engines.

Plenty of room but the Peugeot has a bit more poke than the Nissan with 130hp versus115hp.

Hybrid: Toyota CH-R and Kia Niro. Again, both will be top end of budget but suit a small family's needs perfectly.

You do have the option on most of these to go for a 171/172 plate to save budget, so shop around.

Eddie: Buy now for later. Gillian's suggestions are, as usual, excellent. I'd also take a close look at the SEAT Ateca which is a nicely understated car and really good for your budget.

You just might sneak in with a new one.

I'm driving a 161 Skoda Rapid 1.4 diesel DSG doing 26,000km a year. What would you advise me to purchase?

Gillian: I presume you're looking to go new if you're coming out of a three-year-old and you wish to pay similar money as you did for the Rapid back then which, depending on spec, was around €24k.

You need a diesel with that mileage and I assume an auto again so how about sticking with the VW Group and opting for a SEAT Arona? It comes in a 1.6 diesel DSG engine in the SE spec at €24,410 it should fit in nicely.

The Rapid was never a huge seller whereas the Arona is flying.

I think you will like this one. If you don't want to venture into the small crossover styling and would prefer to stick with the hatchback/saloon body, you could move up to a Skoda Octavia, although it might be pushing the budget too much and it would be a similar story with a VW Golf.

I am now starting to see your dilemma in finding an automatic diesel in this size car so I think the Arona is your next move and it isn't a bad option by any means.

Eddie: Just wondering how much of a hurry you are in because the Rapid's successor, the SCALA, is due by early summer and is immeasurably better.

And the 1.6 TDI 115hpp diesel will have an automatic from the start.

I'd expect it to come well in on your budget - indeed I'd see you getting a high-spec version and still having some change. As they will be anxious to get some sales. You might do well to talk to your Skoda dealer about what sort of deal can be done.

I'm about to change from a Volvo V50, top spec, leather, sunroof etc. I want to move to a hybrid, preferably plug-in but that's not essential. I could pay €25k or a bit more plus the trade-in. Would like a decent size and SUV style (getting too old for dragging myself out of the Volvo). Most of my driving is less than 50km round trips but I do a few journeys to Dublin and Belfast each year and one long trip in France. Mitsubishi Outlander looks promising. Honda CR-V? Toyota and Kia also seem possible but a good bit smaller.

What do you think?

Gillian: First off, you are coming out of an estate so we will look for something with a large boot again.

You are also coming out of luxury so you won't want to give that up.

I don't know your V50's year so not sure of your full budget. The newest it can be is a 2012, so I will go with a top-end budget of around €32k. This would get you into a 171/172 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The great thing about it is that most come with good spec. The hybrid battery takes up some room in the boot, but there is still plenty of space for the trip around France.

The Toyota RAV4 hybrid might have a slightly less luxury feel to it but you should get a 181 in budget.

This is a hybrid as opposed to the plug-in hybrid of the Outlander, but that might suit, especially for those longer trips. It is a smaller body than the Outlander but boot space is bigger, holding 501L against 463L, if this is a major factor and hybrid is not. Now the Honda CR-V comes into play.

A used model would be a standard diesel but with boot space of 561 litres it is worth considering. Like the Toyota, a 181 would be possible. They start new at €32,575 for the SE spec so it is worthy of a test drive.

Eddie: I would add the Skoda Kodiaq (5-seater and 7-seater - but you don't have to use the third row) simply because it has a useful petrol which may be more suitable for you given your low mileage most of the year.

I drive a 141 VW Golf TDi. It has 108,000km on the clock. I have it three years now and it's my second Golf. I do between 20,000km/30,000km a year. I like the VW Golf.

However, l am looking at trading in. I like the idea of a car/SUV that's higher off the ground. It's better for my back and a nicer way to drive. I don't want a family car or something with a huge engine.

Looking at the new Tiguan model that came in 2017. Not sure if it's economical though. Any advice?

Gillian and Eddie: We would class the Tiguan as a family car and a good one at that but maybe not the car for you.

What you're describing is the VW T-Roc. It has the same 1.6 diesel engine as the Golf but is a compact SUV so a higher ride height will give the comfort you desire.

The base model is €26,650 for a new model but you should opt for the Design spec coming in just under €30k.

Another contender is the Hyundai Kona which also has a 1.6 diesel engine and comes in a good bit cheaper at €25,245 for the Executive model.

There are two others with pretty much the same story: the SEAT Arona and Kia Stonic.

Both have 1.6 diesels and are priced similarly to the Hyundai for mid-spec models. Choosing between all four is a simple case of testing them all and seeing which one fits you best.

We are looking for advice on a new/newish car for a couple in their 70s.

Annual mileage about 12,000km comprising mainly short daily urban driving and monthly 300km round trips on national/motorway roads. We are looking for a car with a high-seating position for good road view and to future proof against back strains.

Car body that's not too long or wide to deal with manoeuvres in multi-storey car parks. Looking for comfortable interior for two adults so no mini-car sizes please (or electric vehicles). Budget approx €20k - currently driving a 00-reg saloon.

Gillian and Eddie: Around €20k puts you just out of bounds of brand new for many models but you will get a 'newish' car for that money. We suggest you take a look at the previous answer.

All would suit you too we think, but in petrol of course.

The T-Roc won't fit the budget so maybe rule that one out. However, the Kona, Arona and Stonic all have 1.0 petrol equivalents that won't break the €20k budget but will come close.

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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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