Sunday 24 March 2019

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


Kia Sorrento
Kia Sorrento

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

We have a 132 Galaxy 2-ltr diesel (Titanium) with 75,000km on the clock. We have three children, aged three to eight, and live in Dublin. We travel to the west coast once every six weeks with more regular trips in the summer. We need the Galaxy for those trips as we are all active and have five bikes and outdoor equipment. I also have an 11 Golf 1.6 TDi (90,000km) which only does 50km some weeks. We are considering avoiding upgrading to another diesel as the Galaxy is mostly used for small trips but might keep it for country runs/summer holidays. We are considering trading the Golf for something like the new Honda CR-V hybrid although the petrol comes in a-7 seater and that would be advantageous at the weekend.

The Mitsubishi PHEV Outlander also interested us but it is only in a 5-seater. We need the Galaxy's space in one car but are concerned the majority of driving is short trips in traffic and if we change to another we might be penalised by extra taxes on diesels in future. Neither the Honda or Mitsubishi have the space of the Galaxy, but they would meet our needs the majority or the time. Our budget is €42k with a little wriggle room. I am working off valuation of €12k for the Galaxy and €6k for the Golf. If changing the Galaxy is the better option are there any suitable non-diesel alternatives that offer similar space. Volvo XC hybrid secondhand maybe?

Gillian and Eddie: If we're right, you need two 7-seaters: a diesel for long family journeys and a petrol for weekly driving. Your estimation of trade-in values are pretty close, if not a little hard on the Galaxy with such low kms on the clock.

We would keep the Galaxy for the family trips to the west and trade the Golf in against a Peugeot 5008 1.2 or a Skoda Kodiaq 1.5. Both models come in under budget at around €35k.

The CR-V, in petrol or PHEV, is the full of the €42k so we'd be tempted to opt for one of the others and put the rest of the funds to the Galaxy with a view to trading it up next year. The reason for this is that when you drive your new 191, the Galaxy will feel old quite quickly.

Manufacturers are going all out on new 7-seaters, kitting them out with many features you will say you can never do with-out. We can see the holiday trips being taken in the new model, even though it's petrol, just for the luxury. We may be wrong but have a good think before, maybe, over spending unnecessarily.

I am planning to buy new shortly. I need a reliable car as I am the main carer for a dependent sibling. I have to travel regularly within my county often at a moment's notice. Budget €30,000 (including trade-in). I am single and retired. I drive a 2010 Ford Focus Style diesel with 120,000km. I like the Focus; I find it steady and comfortable on windy roads and has good leg room. I would prefer a higher position as I suffer from back pain. The new Focus is too big (long) for me and has an automatic hand brake. I find car parking spaces are getting smaller. I certainly wouldn't want anything longer than my current car. I would prefer a manual. Don't need a diesel. I am wondering what the Nissan Juke is like.

Gillian: I passed the new Ford EcoSport only this week and I was wondering who it would suit. It looks like a tall Fiesta so would be shorter than the Focus and it has the ride height of the Nissan Juke.

In petrol, the top of the line ST-Line spec starts at just €24,526 so well under budget. However, the Juke in a similar spec starts at just €22,545 for the 1.2 SV Premium so super value for money.

Renault do a similar size model with their Captur. A new best spec GT Line model starts at €23,990. All of these models will feel a little smaller than your Focus after a while. Seeing as you have a bigger budget, I would be pointing you in the direction of an Audi Q2. You will have no fears of being pushed around in windy conditions in this machine and being a carer, you deserve a little piece of luxury. Audi always have safety in their list of top priorities so the Q2 includes lane assist and predictive pedestrian protection as well as a 5-star NCAP rating.

Eddie: I'd treat myself and buy the slightly larger but highly-rated Volkswagen T-Roc which is well within budget. If you don't feel that way inclined then go for any of the models Gillian names EXCEPT the Ford EcoSport which I wouldn't foist on any one. Sorry Gillian.

I want to trade my 09 Ford Galaxy 1.9 Zetec 280,000km. I still need a 7-seater. I was looking at the Kia Sorento, Galaxy and Volkswagen Touran. What is the best value out there? My budget including, trade-in, is €23,000 approx. Is it worth looking in the English market? My annual mileage is 30,000km approx.

Gillian: Coming from the Galaxy, the Touran won't offer the same space. Volkswagen have a better full 7-seat alternative with the Sharan. Unfortunately, your budget won't get you into one as they disappeared off the market for a while and only re-emerged in 2016; one of these will set you back the guts of €27/28k.

The Sorento is an SUV as opposed to the MPV you currently drive so this could be a welcome change. It has tonnes of room but they are always in demand, so value for money might lose out a little here.

A fresher Galaxy might be your best bet while you are still at 7-seater stage. You will be coming up seven years from your 09 into 2016 in the latest Galaxy that launched in late 2015. One you didn't mention was the SEAT Alhambra. It is a great alternative. For my thoughts on importing, please see the next question.

Eddie: They are scarce but the KIA Sorento would be my pick. The others are fine but the Sorento is an SUV and even if you pay a little premium it beats the anti-MPV bias currently fogging the market.

Can you please give me a straight answer: would I be better off importing a 2016 BMW 520d?

Gillian: My answer is no. If you read this column every week, you know I like to give options. If you want to hear more then read on.

There is merit to importing; you will save money for sure but you will have some work to do yourself. This includes paying VRT, arranging new registration plates, booking boat trips and perhaps a flight (unless you are only going up North), swapping euro for pounds and all the little extras consumers tend to ignore like meals and public transport costs.

All of these eat into the money you are saving. My biggest reason is you are giving up a warranty. If all of the experience of going to the UK is an adventure then great, but just be sure what you are buying is worth it. UK spec tends to be higher than Irish, especially on BMW, Audi and Mercedes, so if you know what you are doing, it might be an option for you.

Don't forget our own Irish dealers are always looking for cars and they attend UK auctions regularly or have a reliable trader doing it for them. While they do need to add on their own bit of profit, the value does pass on down the line to the customer and comes with a warranty.

Eddie: Of course you should consider an import. Consider everything that will save you money. But don't forget there are myriad garages selling imports alongside 'Irish' cars. I would buy - Irish or import - locally and insist on a good warranty. Local (reputable garage) buying is a sort of insurance policy that you will be looked after if something goes wrong. It's a different prospect to having to arrange repairs/costs with someone in Manchester.

I am a 25-year-old male and I need a car to get to my new job. It's about 30km each way. I have a budget of €10,000; no current car. What would you advise?

Gillian: I will narrow my selection to some popular hatchbacks. I will start with a Ford Focus 1.6 diesel and suggest you go for a Zetec or Titanium if you can find one. A 2013 plate should be possible. It won't cost you too much on depreciation either.

For a newer plate, I suggest an Opel Astra or Peugeot 308. You'll move up a year into a 2014 in both and the specs to look for are SC/SE/SRi in the Astra and Active/Allure in the 308. The Astra also comes in a sporty Coupé which brings me onto similar model, the Renault Megane. In a Coupé, the Megane is sweet and most come with lots of extras in car entertainment. The GT Line 110 would be nice.

For style, how about Audi A3, BMW 1 Series or Volvo V40? You'd be looking at a 2012, but they sound right for your current stage of life. Watch for cheap deals on these as they usually mean high mileage.

Eddie: I tend to go for Japanese when the budget is under €10,000 because rightly or wrongly I think they give fewer niggles. So I'd steer you towards a Mazda3, Toyota Auris or Honda Civic.

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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