Sunday 13 October 2019

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


Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai Kona Electric

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 in my first year of full-time employment and wish to upgrade my 04 Toyota Corolla. I would love a 5dr Audi (secondhand) but have a budget of around €13,000 to work with. I don't travel long distances for work. I'm looking for something which screams sophisticated, but also a sound investment to last for the next few years.

Gillian: An Audi A1 might sound too small and therefore not sophisticated, but it is a fancy car.

It appeals to most, including a business customer, especially in the right colour and interior spec. You can pull it off I am sure. For €13k you should look for a 141/142 1.4 5d in Sport, SE or S-Line spec.

After that, the A3 is your next step. You would only need to go back a year to a 131/132 in this model believe it or not, because the A1 doesn't lose much money year on year from new.

Again, opt for a petrol if you don't need diesel and you have a choice of 1.2 or 1.4 in this one.

Both go for similar money, but the 1.4 will be a bit more zippy on the roads.

Other models to look at are BMW 1 Series and my own personal favourite the Lexus CT200h.

All come as petrol (the Lexus is a petrol hybrid) and all will fit budget in similar year to the A3.

I wouldn't be too hung up on going for typical 'luxury' brands, especially with your budget. You might look just as classy in a more current reg plated Skoda Octavia or Volkswagen Golf which you will pick up with 151/152 front and back and will no doubt be a good investment going forward.

Eddie: I wouldn't bother with an overpriced, cramped and frankly out-of-date A1; or a BMW 1-series for that matter.

You should get a lot more car for your money going the VW Golf route. Don't fall for the 'luxury' trap. Lots of times it's an excuse to charge you more for little enough extra.

So it's the Golf, classy if unspectacular, for me all the way.

I am looking to buy my first car. I have a budget of €16,000 and will be doing about 20,000km a year. I'm looking for a car with four/five seats. I want a small vehicle that is easy to park and a smaller engine for cheaper insurance. I would appreciate any recommendations you could provide.

Gillian: Great plan and you have a huge choice. Small hatchbacks are so plentiful and are pretty well kitted out compared to years gone by.

I'll list off the top sellers and suggest you take a spin in them all to see which takes your fancy the most. It's hard not to start with Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris. Both had a change of model in 2017 and with your budget, you can get a nearly new 2018 model.

Nissan also brought out their radically new looking Micra in 2017 and I think it's a real contender for you.

If you wanted you could go smaller again and buy new with the Skoda Citigo, Seat Mii or Toyota Aygo, but as it's your first car, I think you will want some extra room to grow into it or carry family and friends, so I think the first options are where you should be looking.

There are so many more cars to add in including the Seat Ibiza, Opel Corsa, VW Polo and really, you can't go too far wrong with any. Once you mind it, keep it clean and most importantly service it, then you won't lose much when you go to sell on for your next car.

Eddie: If you were to twist my arm out of all the cars I'd stand by then it would have to be the Honda Jazz - even if it's a bit more expensive than some of those mentioned by Gillian and not to everyone's taste.

I have two questions for you.

I'm currently in a company car scheme and do 50,000km a year. I will be changing job in the near future and will mainly be doing city mileage. The Hyundai Kona EV caught my attention with its range (and it looks good) and the fact that there is zero BIK really caught my attention.

I could stay in the company scheme or opt out and would have a budget of around €400/month (and not paying BIK which would have been costing me around €450/month with the car I have). So I would have around €850/month towards the cost of a car compared to what it's costing me now. Would you recommend something along the lines of the Kona - and if so, stay in the company scheme to pay for it or opt out?

Gillian and Eddie: Stay in the company scheme and, yes, we think the Kona has hit the spot with the current market.

So much so that Gillian has considered it as her next car. It looks well and the fact you will be saving on BIK as well as running costs is a major bonus.

Think of all that extra money you are saving. The first month or two can go on a home-charging station.

Sadly, the choice of lower-priced SUV electric vehicles is a bit limited at the minute so you don't really have other options, but don't let that put you off.

Go for the Kona. You'll need the 415km real-world range between charges (Eddie has test driven it) because your mileage is significant at 50,000km.

Please let us know how you are getting on after six months or so. We'd be most interested.

We are looking for a first-time car for our 19-year-old son. Our budget is approximately €6,000. He will be getting insured for the first time under his own name. Should we get the car in the UK or is there good value here? Maybe a Ford Fiesta or Mazda 2. We will be using this car for our daughter also who is just learning how to drive now. Would appreciate your advice.

Gillian: I never really suggest going abroad for a car unless it's a rare model here. This usually comes down to large engine luxury models.

Stick with the Irish. The Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2 are good choices.

The Mazda will more than likely drive on forever and is a good option considering your daughter will be using it too. The Fiesta had a model change in 2013 and so if you could go another €1,000 on that budget, you should get into one of these which might be better in the long run.

Like Eddie, I usually suggest Japanese in these situations. Don't forget to look at a Toyota Yaris or Nissan Micra, although at their age, the Fiesta and more likely the Mazda2 sound more appealing.

Oh and how about a Honda Jazz; not everyone's cup of tea on shape but would be a sound buy for sure.

Eddie: For the second time today it's a Jazz for me and I'm glad to see you agreeing with me, Gillian, even if you have it as an afterthought.

Budget (including trade-in): €35,000 approx. Annual mileage: 25,000km. Five seats required. Present car: 131 Audi Q3 diesel (2litre) 190,000km. I am thinking of changing but not brand new one; I'd buy two-year-old. I want to stay with an SUV as I like the height. Reasonably high spec is important. I drive about 120km round trip to work every day and long distances for meetings twice a month. The Q3 size is adequate but we would consider slightly bigger. My husband is tall and thinks the Q3 is a bit small and 'girlie'. I drive it during the week but at weekends we often go away together and my husband would drive. He currently has a Skoda Superb (2007) with 400,00km and owned from new. He drives 30km round trip daily. What would you recommend for me please?

Gillian: When I hear of someone coming out of a luxury car like an Audi, I feel a little restricted in my recommendations because they find it hard to go back to a 'standard' brand.

But this is where all the choice is and, for your budget, you could go nearly new or new which would be fantastic. The car may not have the badge you think you want but the interior and drive is sure to impress. I don't think the Q3 is girlie, but the larger Q5 is more beefy I agree.

You don't need to go this big however, so how about some of the recent additions to the SUV range like the Skoda Karoq, SEAT Ateca or Volkswagen Tiguan. All of these fall into your budget for high spec diesel models. The things that come standard on these will make your daily commute and weekend trips a joy.

BMW have a new X2 that might suit, but if you do want to go high end and don't mind going to a two-year-old, I would recommend the Range Rover Evoque. I don't think I need to explain why and I am pretty sure your husband will enjoy it too.

Eddie: I think a fresh Volvo XC40 (multi-award winner) might suit you both. I don't think it's 'girlie' - has a nice cabin and drives well.

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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