Friday 18 October 2019

Are you buying a new or second-hand car? Our experts answer your questions


Shop around: There is money to be saved on some makes and models in the UK – typically high-end cars – but shop the online selling sites here before deciding to look across the water.
Shop around: There is money to be saved on some makes and models in the UK – typically high-end cars – but shop the online selling sites here before deciding to look across the water.

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 drive a 2015 diesel Volkswagen Golf 1.6 (80,000km). I will upgrade it next year. I like the look of the Volkswagen T-Roc crossover. I reckon my choice costs around €31,000.

But here's the thing: the Government's climate plan makes nonsense for people like me to buy a petrol/diesel car in 2020 only to have it depreciate to little or no value over the next decade.

Would I be better advised to put up the extra investment (approximately €38,000) now for an electric VW Golf and avail of the purchase subsidies and other benefits such as an at-home charger installation and reduced driving costs? Or would you suggest I continue with my 2015 diesel Golf for a few more years until electric cars come down in price?

Also I'm concerned that if I bought an EV next year, and its battery reaches end of life within the expected eight-year timeframe, would that EV be worthless for resale unless I replace the battery? I'm confused and would love a voice of reason and experience to help me sift through these options.

Gillian: Firstly, you don't sound like someone who will keep a car for eight years if you are looking to move out of a four-year old you seem quite happy with. I wouldn't get bogged down with worries over batteries, either.

Your car has lower-than-average kms - did you need a diesel in the first place? I suggest you go for a petrol next time and go for the T-Roc. You should get a healthy trade-in value.

Yes, there will be electric incentives but the whole of Ireland won't go electric that quickly - it can't. There will always be a buyer for your next purchase. With your €31,000 you will get into a high-spec model in the 1.5 petrol or 2.0 diesel if you wanted to stick with it again. With 150hp in both, it's a good choice. I say T-Roc.

Eddie: I say Kia XCeed and T-Roc for three years - then switch to electric.

Q I'm trading in my 131-reg 1.6 Volkswagen Passat diesel estate (196,000km). We'd like a car with the option of putting three car seats in the back. I would consider a seven-seater so we'd have the option of another passenger if there were three children in the car, with two adults in the front. Our budget is €20k-ish plus current car trade-in. We do about 25,000km a year.

I was thinking about a VW Touran, Seat Alhambra or a Nissan X-Trail but I think it would probably be more costly to run. The Passat has been economical.

Gillian: If you like Volkswagens, the Touran is the obvious choice as is the albeit older Seat Alhambra.

The Nissan X-Trail wouldn't concern me about running costs. They are hardy and built to last. It has a 1.6 diesel engine like the Touran (unless you opt for the 2.0) and the Alhambra is a 2.0. For your money, you would be looking at 2017 reg for the Nissan and VW and 2016 for the Seat. I would lean towards the X-Trail.

I would also steer you in the direction of Peugeot for the 5008SUV. You could just about squeeze into a two-year old 5008. Don't forget about a Ford with the S-Max or Galaxy. You will get into a nice Titanium spec.

Eddie: Citroen have always been good in this area and their C4 Space Tourer has massive interior space. I'd take a close look at it too.

Q I'm a mum-of-one and want to extend my family soon. I've got a 2010 Ford Focus 1.6 (160,000km). I love driving and notch up mileage with trips from the west to the UK and back at least three times a year. Boot space is paramount as is decent economy.

The problem is I've driven lovely cars in the UK: BMW sports coupe 232i, BMW X3. So bang for my buck will be important. I like a smart set of wheels. What would I get if I sold the Focus privately and spent another €6-8,000? Is it worth spending a bit more for better quality/enjoyment/longevity?

Gillian: You should hope to get €3,500+ depending on condition and spec. Add this to your €6k-€8k and you have a decent budget for a newer, bigger, classier model. I would start with a Volvo S60 1.6 diesel. There might not be too many around but it will look the part and be comfortable for long journeys. For similar money you could get a Skoda Superb 1.6 diesel. I could throw in a Mercedes C Class, but I think sticking with a smaller engine would be better. A Kia Optima 1.7 diesel would be another big choice for me.

Buying a newer car also means it might go a little longer before running into trouble but your money will get you into a five-six-year-old and cars these days are built to last well past this.

Eddie: I think you'll get a decent enough car for your maximum €11,500 and if you are conscious of understated style maybe a Volkswagen Golf might fit the bill. Only thing is the cabin and boot are small for a young family. Still worth a look. As is the larger Volkswagen Passat. I think the Peugeot 508 is worth consideration as well. Nicely stylish.

Q I have a 10-reg Golf (165,000km). It's well kept so I'm hoping to sell for around €3,000-€4,000. I commute 20,000-25,000 a year, mainly motorway, so looking for something comfortable with lots of extras. Looking at getting a car from the UK, happy to go older reg for higher-spec.

Torn between Audi A5 and BMW 3 series, 142-152 plate. Budget overall €15,000. Is this a wise move or is there better bang for the buck on this island?

Gillian: There is money to be saved on some makes and models in the UK. Typically it's high-end cars that sell well over there. I would shop the online selling sites here before deciding to look in the UK. Prices have been pulled back for the older model A5 and 3-series due to the large numbers of imports so you could find yourself a bargain.

An A5 wins out over a 3-series for me. Spec is everything. Look for an S-Line auto or Black Edition. If the original owner went for this, it is most likely well-minded and kitted out. If you do go for a non-Irish model, be sure to check the km reading is not too high for its age.

Eddie: Sorry Gillian, but I'd opt for the 3-series purely because it is markedly better on handling and ride. But the A5 is a nice car. No, it's the BMW for me.

However, I'd be super careful and get a thorough mechanical check as older models had their faults.

Q I'm in a position to buy a new or one-year-old car and have €25,000 to spend, between savings and a credit union loan. I don't have a car but need one now to commute to work in west Dublin. I want to buy electric or hybrid. What would you advise?

Gillian: I don't know the full distance of your commute to recommend electric or hybrid as the better option so here are a few of both to think about.

New hybrid: Toyota Yaris.

One-year-old hybrid: Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota Auris.

One-year-old electric: Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe.

I didn't suggest any new electric models as the closest to budget is the Renault Zoe at €25,590 but this is for the entry level model. The next model up is another €2,000.

Eddie: I think you should go for one of the new hybrids. My preference would be the Yaris.

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