Are you buying a new or second-hand car? Our experts answer your questions
Q I have a 03 Renault Laguna (1.6 petrol Sport Plus) with 185,000km up.
Average: 11,000km-12,000km/year. I live/work in the west with occasional longer trips. Mechanic friends have advised me against buying a diesel: I'll have issues with filters when not covering trips long enough to blow out the filters.
The problem is trying to source a petrol car. They are scarce. I've been advised there is no value in importing one from the UK. I'd like to have something similar in size to what I have now. I've looked at a 2011 Skoda Octavia. I liked it but it was the basic model with no air con. My budget is €6k-9k so I'm looking between 2011 to 2014. Where could I source a petrol? What make/model would you suggest?
Gillian: Without driving around the country, I would suggest you try some of the most popular online selling sites. You can search by fuel type (I agree petrol is best for you), engine size, body type etc.
You are right to look for something with more spec as base models do get boring. For your budget I suggest an Opel Insignia 1.4 (SC, SE or preferably SRi model), Toyota Corolla 1.33 (Luna) or Volkswagen Jetta 1.2 (Comfortline).
Eddie: I would definitely go for the Corolla with the 1.33 engine. Second would be the Octavia petrol in higher spec. Bound to be a few of both.
Q I drive a 171 Mazda6 which I love. As I have some back problems I would be obliged if you'd advise whether I should go for a petrol or diesel CX-5. I do about 20,000km a year.
Gillian: Go diesel CX-5. It would be a really lovely move up from the Mazda6. The ride height will suit and they come well kitted out. I would also suggest you take a look at the Honda CR-V 2.0 HEV as it is equally impressive.
Eddie: Stick with Mazda and go CX-5. It can be a bit pricey but it is such a good SUV.
You don't need a 4x4 version by the way; it does add a fair bit to fuel consumption. Your Mazda6 is a highly prized used car proposition.
Q I drive a 10-year-old Toyota Avensis 1.6 petrol which I've had from new. My mileage is about 30,000km/year, mainly motorway driving (should have had a diesel). I'm looking to change with a budget of €18,000. I've looked at a 2017 Avensis 1.6 diesel, a Toyota Corolla 1.33 petrol and Skoda Octavia 1.6 diesel. I could up the budget and look for a Toyota C-HR 1.8 hybrid. Would this be harder on fuel? It has a nice height which would suit an elderly parent.
Gillian: Well you most definitely need a diesel, although the CH-R 1.8 hybrid will handle that annual driving fine too. I can see you love your Toyotas so the newer model Avensis is a good choice and while the new engine wasn't a huge success, you will pick one up for good money; they are starting to become popular again. I would suggest you go for the 2.0-litre over the 1.6-litre as it won't cost much more and usually come with higher levels of spec. You will benefit from the extra bit of poke on the motorway. I also like your Skoda choice. The Octavia is a fine diesel car and if you can find one with a low odometer reading, you should be able to sell it on down the line without taking too much of a hit from your higher than average annual driving.
Eddie: I agree with Gillian on her priorities but the CH-R hybrid would be a nice option too. Mileage suggests diesels but hybrid driving can be decent on fuel too.
Q I have €20,000 to spend on a new car. I will be giving my current 12-reg Fiesta to my younger sister. I work in Dublin but use the car mostly to go down home at the weekends. What would you recommend? I need something a bit bigger than the Fiesta as I give friends a lift at the weekend.
Gillian: I can't really judge your expected annual driving. My petrol choices are a new model Honda Civic and Nissan Qashqai. My diesel choices are new model Opel Insignia Grand Sport and Audi A3 saloon. My hybrid options are Toyota Auris and Hyundai Ioniq. I understand they are all a mixed bag but there is surely something there to suit your desired body type and all will satisfy your need for friends.
Eddie: If you could stretch a little more and get a Ford Focus, I think you'd be making a good decision. My other preference (I concur with Gillian's, by the way) would be the Honda Civic.
Q I used to drive 40,000km a year but these past six months, since I retired, I'm down to a quarter of that. I have a 16-reg Passat import but would like to get into something smaller and cosier as my wife does not have a car any more. What would you advise? My budget would be around €30,000 with trade-in. I'd like to buy something new.
Gillian: Audi Q2 all day long. Cosy and classy. If you could push budget a little, the S-Tronic (auto) would be even better. The new model Mercedes A-Class is good and might be closer to the size you are looking for.
The new Corolla hybrid would come in under budget and is sure to hold its value well if you want to go for something more mainstream and get into a hybrid. You could of course go full electric with a Hyundai Ioniq which will leave you some money to get a home charging station in too.
Eddie: I'd treat myself to taking a test drive in a Volkswagen T-Roc as well. It's got a touch of class about it and because it has a little bit of height getting in and out is that bit easier. That is always something to consider.