Are you buying a new or second-hand car? Our experts answer your questions
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 a 2015 Santa Fe with 80,000km on the clock. I want to change next January and was hoping to keep to a 7-seater but want to go green and get a plug-in hybrid petrol. It has to be a 7-seater again, so I am looking for advice on options available.
Gillian: Both 7-seater bodies and PHEV powerplants are popular but sadly 7-seat PHEVs are rare. The main reason is that there just isn't enough space to fit it all in. The electric battery usually sits in the rear, making the boot space smaller than an equivalent petrol or diesel model and so not a lot of space to fit in an extra row of seats.
Your only real option is an expensive one with a Volvo XC90 PHEV that starts at €80,500 including grants and reliefs. If you could drop the plug-in need and opt for a self-charging hybrid, then Lexus has an equally expensive option with the RX 450L. If you wanted to drop the hybrid element and opt for pure electric and the money hasn't put you off yet, Tesla has its X model. Assuming these are all over budget, I suggest you wait until the children are grown up before you go fully 'green' and for now take a look at a Peugeot 5008 or Honda CR-V - both petrol and more keenly priced at around €35-40,000 new.
Eddie: In view of Gillian's excellent analysis my instinct would be to stick with the Santa Fe in some shape or form if your main necessity is a 7-seater. You aren't doing big mileage so think about holding on to your current car for another year after which, hopefully, choice will expand.
Q I'm looking for some advice on buying a new 7-seater MPV or SUV. I don't mind spending more for reliability as I've had car trouble in the past. I'd like something stylish too. Budget (including trade-in) approx €25,000. Seven seats to fit three car seats (children aged two to six). Present car is a Toyota Avensis 141-reg, 92,000km.
Gillian: Three car seats will easily fit in the second row of a Peugeot 5008 or 3008, if you don't need a third row. These cars are in demand and your budget will just about get you into a 172 Active model in the 5008 or 181 3008 at a push in the same spec. As styling goes, I think it's one of the best-looking family cars on the road. The Skoda Kodiaq is another looker, but out of budget. I don't find MPVs stylish but one worth a look is the VW Touran.
Eddie: Contrary to what Gillian thinks, I like MPVs (I'm told I haven't much taste). I'd look at the Peugeot 5008 for sure but also the new Volkswagen Touran and Renault Grand Scenic. Bigger, and more expensive, is the Ford Galaxy people carrier but you'll have loads of space.
Q I drive a 2008 VW Golf 1.4 TSi. Had it since 2010. For the last few years I've been saving for an S-Line Audi A6 and have a budget of €28,000. I have two children under three and my wife drives a KIA Sportage. My question is: am I mad spending that much on a diesel now or should I be looking at electric/hybrid?
Gillian: If you've been saving for an A6 S-Line then buy it. That dedication can't be ignored. There is a big difference between being a diesel buyer and an electric buyer, not so much hybrid. I don't know your annual driving but that is where buying the A6 could be madness. If you do small mileage, then an electric might be the way to go but you'll struggle to find an equally classy model for €28k and will you be happy really?
Eddie: No you are not mad at all. But I think, strategically, you'd be better off going the plug-in hybrid route now. I suggest you look at a fresh BMW 530e or 330e. If they are too far from your budget a one-year-old Kia Niro plug-in would be my best tip.
Q I'm planning to buy a small hatch petrol/hybrid car (1-litre to 1.4-litre) and annual mileage will be approx 8,000km/10,000km. My budget is €8,000-€11,000 but looking for a used car with near today's level of technology, dependable engine and good economy. Could you give me the top five models that may fit the bill; road tax should be no more than €270.
Gillian: 1. Toyota Yaris hybrid; 2. Skoda Fabia; 3. Hyundai i20; 4. Kia Rio; 5. Seat Ibiza, in no particular order. Most small hybrids have a larger engine; even the Yaris is a 1.5-litre. All are reliable and should come with decent spec for the size and cost. Road tax is within the price mentioned too. This segment has plenty of options so look for one with low/average km reading, full service history and in-date NCT and you should be fine.
Eddie: Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza, Hyundai i20/KIA Rio.
Q We have four children under 11. We have a 2008 Opel Zafira 1.6-litre petrol and although we do not do loads of mileage (under 7,000 a year) the Zafira is difficult to get the kids in and out of. The rear seats are cramped and you have little boot space left. We would be looking at a slightly larger 7-seater: perhaps a 2012 or 2014-reg that didn't cost an arm and a leg.
Gillian: I know you don't do much mileage but petrol 7-seaters in that budget range are hard to come by. You will most likely have to go with a diesel and I suggest a SEAT Alhambra, Ford S-Max/Galaxy or a newer (and larger) Zafira.
Eddie: The Ford S-MAX will do the trick but allowing for even more space with your young family it has to be the Ford Galaxy. Unfortunately you are stuck with a diesel engine, which is a waste with such low mileage.