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'm wondering is it unwise to buy a new diesel with potential new taxes coming down the line. I have a budget of €10,000. I want something the size of a Focus or bigger: ideally 2014. Mix of city mostly; motorway driving every couple of weekends. There seems to be quite a large selection of diesels at this price range, but few petrols.
Gillian: From 2008 diesels were the main selling models. Small hatchback still sold well in petrol.
My advice is opt for diesel if you drive roughly 20,000kms a year. I would then look for a Focus, Auris/Corolla, Kia cee'd or Hyundai i30. If you don't need diesel, you will still find Focus and Auris/Corolla petrols in budget for a 141. The cee'd and i30 will be less common. You could go for a hybrid with the Auris but you would only get a 131 and might need to go a little over budget.
Eddie: I'd buy a Toyota Auris hybrid. It's good insurance against the demonisation of diesel.
Q I only use my 07-reg Fiesta occasionally. Budget is €20,000 (The Fiesta isn't worth much). I'd like to buy electric if possible. I'd be okay with hybrid. I suppose it has to be secondhand?
Gillian: There isn't a huge choice in the electric market but you could get a 2017 Nissan Leaf or 2015 BMW i3. If you opt for a Leaf, make sure it's the 30KW and not 24KW. I think your best bet is a new Toyota Yaris 1.5 hybrid. Yes new. The Aura model starts at just €19,850.
Eddie: The Yaris hybrid is a good option but so is the Leaf and I'd take a good look for a Renault ZOE too.
Q I've got two questions. Ideally, I'd like to buy a new car (before I have to worry about mortgages etc) and am tempted by the PCP deals. Also, might a PCP make changing to electric cars down the line more financially viable? Secondly, I do about 25,000km to 30,000km a year in a 2011 Opel Astra diesel. I'm looking for something bigger as I have a full car at weekends. I'm not convinced by the SUVs. Leaning towards a saloon, perhaps like a Superb (maybe Octavia?). I could afford a deposit of €5,000 plus my Astra. I'd be able to cope with €450 a month max.
Gillian: I'd look for a low-mileage, two-year-old saloon. You do a lot of driving and it might not fit in too well with the mileage terms of a PCP. You don't want start avoiding trips because of your contract. Without knowing the condition of your Astra and its mileage, you could have around €8k cash, and with a loan over three years with your monthly payments, you could add another €14k to that. So, after three years you will own it. This would allow you to get that 2017 Skoda Superb. Or how about a well specced Mondeo or new Opel Insignia Grand Sport (which would be under €400/month or paid off quicker).
Eddie: I think you've answered your own questions. You are doing high enough mileage to nudge you away from a beneficial PCP deal (see elsewhere on Dos and Don'ts of finance). And the Skoda Superb is a good choice for you.
Q I intended buying a hybrid and waiting for a few years to get an electric car. I have a Hyundai i30 (161-D) petrol. My budget is around €20,000 plus trade-in. What would you advise?
Gillian: If you get a home charging station (which I recommend for anyone buying electric or PHEV) and your daily drive is normal range, you shouldn't worry about busy charging stations. With around €30k of a budget, you could opt for a new model Hyundai Ioniq or Nissan Leaf. A middle ground option is a PHEV (plug-in hybrid).
You would be just under budget for a new Kia Niro but a 2018 model would work. There is more choice with hybrid. Go to a Toyota dealer as they have plenty in their range.
Eddie: Buy a new Leaf. It seems to fit what you want. Might as well get on board the EV revolution now.
Q I changed job and have gone from 8,000kms to 30,000kms a year, all motorway. I drive a 2008 Citroen C5 Exclusive with 135,000kms. It has never given any issues, is super comfortable with a great interior (which I value most). It's nearly 12 years old but only now am I putting up serious mileage. Do I change now or keep for a few years as it owes me nothing? Budget will be around €40k if buying new. I don't mind PCP either as I get travelling expenses. I haven't seen any new or secondhand cars with a similar interior spec below €40k. Would be tempted by a Tiguan Allspace, Kodiaq etc. Do SUVs provide a better ride for someone with severe lower back issues?
Gillian: It is hard to expect to get that lucky again; 11+ years is a long time. Sadly it most likely isn't worth a lot. But it still has lower-than-average kms for its age (average around 180,000kms) so, you could keep it for another year anyway and use the time to find what you want to move to next. With lower-back issues, something a bit higher would help and with €40k, there are plenty of high spec options. The Allspace sells as a 7-seater. You didn't mention needing so many seats so how about the VW Tiguan in R Line (top) spec at €40,950. For a high spec new model Kodiaq you will need to get some good money for the C5 or you could opt for a low km high spec (Sport) 2018 or 2017.
Eddie: My strong advice is to hold it for a year. It's going to be worth as little in 12 months as it is now and by then with a Budget over us the landscape will be clearer on diesel, petrols and everything else. Take care of it and hold on.