Are you buying a new or second-hand car? Ask the experts
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.
Q I have an 07 Audi A3 Sportback which I am quite fond of but due to its age I'm thinking of changing. There are 255,000km on the clock. I would like something a little higher due to floods in our area at times. My budget is €25,000. What would you recommend?
Gillian: I always think coming from an Audi is a tricky one. It is executive but it is also a 2007 so it will have lost some of its flair by now. Switching to a mainstream brand may seem hard to do but there is a lot more choice and arguably more value.
I am going to start with a lovely one for the money and still comes under the VW Group branding - the Skoda Karoq. For €25,000, you will just about get into a 181 model in Ambition spec. Still has plenty of warranty and the ride height will get you through those floods no hassle.
It comes as petrol and diesel and will hold its value well over your term of ownership, I have no doubt. If you don't need a diesel, then the Volkswagen T-Roc is an option and most of the 181 models will be petrol in Design or Sport spec.
Other options to look at are Mazda CX-3 and, if you fancy switching to hybrid, the Toyota CH-R.
Eddie: I'm not a major fan of the Karoq for some reason, Gillian. It's grand but a bit soulless. I like the T-Roc a lot but the T-Cross, smaller yet roomier, is nicely tall and compact. You just might squeeze into a brand new one. Something a little bit larger? The Toyota CH-R is a real hybrid option. There are so many out there now but we're trying to keep it to a few we think suit your circumstances.
Q My current car is a 151 Peugeot 308SW diesel and I'm hoping to change shortly. My annual mileage is 17/20,000km and my budget with trade-in is €25,000 max. As my wife and I are both mid-70s I'm considering a slightly higher seating arrangement and therefore looking at something such as the Opel Crossland X, Peugeot 2008, SEAT Arona or maybe something you might suggest. I would like decent spec as I have the Active model 308. I also need room for golf clubs.
Gillian: I recommend the Arona quite a bit and the ride height is usually one of the reasons for that. It is not seriously high off the ground but a perfectly comfortable position. For €25,000, you can get a brand new 1.0 TSi Xcellence/FR model (priced at €23,695) which are the top spec models in the range. For an extra €1,400, you could also opt for an automatic model. Or there is a 1.6 diesel that will fit budget also. Getting the clubs into the boot will be no hassle. The 2008 seems a little step back from the 308 but the Opel Crossland X might be a good change. It comes a little pricier than the Arona for similar spec, but not by much. Both a 1.2 petrol and 1.5 diesel new model will fit budget.
Other contenders are the Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic, but the boot space is smaller than the others.
Eddie: Left-field suggestion here, seeing as Gillian has picked the front runners. How about the Dacia Duster family crossover? It's brand new, really well priced and a nice height for you. A well-specced new one will still leave you with a few thousand euro in your back pocket. There is a three-year warranty but I advise you go for the five-year back-up which costs only a few hundred euro more. Worth trying out.
Q Entering and exiting my 2008 BMW 320d is beginning to be difficult, prompting thoughts of a high-seated vehicle. I have found BMW X1 and X2 too low. I'd like to remain in that general class and size for garage purposes. I'd welcome your comments. I'm hoping not to spend more than €30,000 with current car (88,350km) as trade-in.
Gillian: So how about a BMW X3? Going from a 320d to X3 2.0 diesel is a nice move if you are looking for that extra height.
For your budget, you will pick up a 2016, maybe 2017 20d 4WD Auto SE model which is what I'd be suggesting.
If you don't need 4WD, the 18d 2WD SE Auto would certainly do the trick but there may be fewer of these around the forecourts. The xLine spec is worth the extra €1,500 people will ask for it, or, if you really like your goodies, seek out an M Sport.
I also think you should take a look at an Audi Q3, especially if you don't need/want auto or 4WD.
A manual 2WD SE would get plenty of car for the money but again I think speccing up to an S Line would be worth the extra.
There is a new Q3 model out, however, so you will be buying an older model, but still a pretty impressive one.
Eddie: I'd look at the older Audi Q3. It's got a bit of height to it and is sturdy. I'd also take a close look at the Peugeot 3008SUV - not strictly premium but tasty and you should come in on budget for a reasonable spec.
Q We have an 07-reg BMW 520 automatic going like a dream but getting a little old, we do 10-15,000km a year and want to change to an SUV. We have three children and sometimes Nan. Not a huge budget, €15,000 including trade-in, but we may increase it if better for future trade. What should we look at: diesel, petrol or hybrid. What SUV?
Gillian: No need for diesel, hybrid would be great but we know, the choice is limited, especially if looking for a used model.
So go on the hunt for a petrol and I suggest starting with a Nissan Qashqai 1.2. I know I mention this one a lot but it really does tick most boxes for the typical Irish family. Three kids will fit in comfortably and the current model has been around since 141 so it suits many budgets.
For a well-specced SV model, you would be looking at a 2015 plate so pretty decent for the money. Now, if you need to fit in Nan then you may need to opt for a 7-seat model. Nissan have you covered again with their X-Trail but you would need to push the budget up a bit more to get into the new model that launched mid-2014. A 142 in similar SV spec will set you back the guts of €17/18,000. If that's too much of a burden, then how about a Volkswagen Touran 7-seater? A Comfortline model from 2014 would fit your budget and family needs but is only available in diesel, as is the X-Trail actually. For me, it's the Qashqai and let Nan get the bus.
Eddie: Aw! Gillian, poor Nan getting the bus. I admit, however, that on this budget, choices are limited. I'm inclined to think trying to shoehorn a family into a mid-size SUV is unfair on all. I know SUVs are the craze but is the tail wagging the dog? Children need room to be safely transported (so does Nan). So I say forget the SUV and opt for a Ford S-MAX people carrier, or that great stalwart the SEAT Alhambra. You'll get far better value for the money.
Q We want to change our Opel Astra 4d 2010 1.4-litre petrol (150,000kms) for something larger. We share the one family car, have two girls aged seven and five, and live in Dublin. We need more space in the back for the girls, a decent boot, a few nice mod cons and leather seats for the adults. We're open to hybrids.
Our budget is €20,000 plus what we can get as a trade-in for the Astra, so hopefully a €26,000 budget, and we'd like to get at least a 171-reg. Our annual mileage is 15,000km. We have spent a lot of money replacing various parts so are not inclined for another Opel.
We like a saloon model such as a Toyota Corolla but are most likely favouring a crossover such as Peugeot 3008SUV, Mazda CX-5. For a 171, should I also expect warranty if we buy from a dealer? We will most likely keep this for the next eight years again.
Gillian: If you want to keep it for eight years, go as new as possible and I think you are off to a great start with the 3008. Peugeot has a five-year extended warranty on a new car and so a 171 will still have almost three years of that remaining.
To keep the initial purchase cost down, opt for the 1.2 petrol model as your mileage isn't excessive.
All sounds great so far but I do have some bad news. Your trade-in is not worth €6,000. I haven't seen the car obviously but I would think a value closer to €3,000 is the right figure (sorry) giving you a total budget of around €23,000.
That will still get you into a two-year-old 3008 and in a nice spec too. The new model Corolla only launched late last year so you would need to go for an older model which is non-hybrid. The new Mazda CX-5 is a good one and would be a great addition but you would need to add another €1,000 to the budget for the Executive/SE spec and a bit more for one with leather. Kia has a seven-year warranty on all models and the Sportage is popular.
Eddie: For me, it is the Hyundai Tucson (it's not the country's best-seller for nothing), KIA Sportage or the Nissan Qashqai.