Are you buying a new or second-hand car? Our experts answer your questions
Independent Advice Desk
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 My 2010 1.4-litre VW Golf (175,000km) has been serviced regularly in VW dealerships and recently passed the NCT (to September 2021). It might be more advantageous to change it in the new year. However, there is a possibility I may be posted abroad in mid-2021 so I could have to sell any replacement car. I would like to replace it with a hybrid (not plug-in) version of a similar 5dr hatch. I do 20,000km/year mainly in the city with monthly trips down the country. My max budget (including trade-in) is €20,000.
Gillian: Top picks for a hatchback hybrid under €20,000 are Lexus CT200h, Toyota Auris and Hyundai Ioniq. There really aren't too many other options. I drive a CT200h and love it. Most come with leather, heated seats and reversing cameras. You could come up six years from your 2010 and into a 2016 high spec model (F-Sport or Premium). The Auris generally sells for similar money for a one-year newer model so a 2017 Sol in this one would fit budget. These sell like hot cakes so if you need to relocate in 2021, you'll have no bother selling.
The Ioniq is a newer model and there would be few (if any) 162s around. So you'd be looking at a 2017 model.
The Ioniq is larger than the other two and more like a Prius in styling.
Eddie: The crucial thing here is how likely you are to have to move in 18 months. Your car has more or less bottomed out in terms of trade-in value so holding on to it until mid-2021 means you are losing little by way of residual value. If you think a move is unlikely then the Ioniq or Auris are good options. I wouldn't advocate the Lexus CT as energetically as Gillian.
Q I have a 12-reg Alfa Giulietta 1.6d (110,000km). I was offered €3,000 against a 181-reg V40 Volvo with 38,000km. I need a nippy economical hatch preferably. I drive once a week from Dublin to Wexford; otherwise local driving. No older than 171. I have a diagnostics issue with my car which is €500 to fix otherwise I'd sell it privately. What do you think?
Gillian: If you spend that €500 and have the car in full working order, I would expect you to get around €4,500/€4,750 for it privately.
Alfas aren't popular but always have a following. You'd be hoping someone wanted it just as you are selling. The figure you are being offered is a little light, but the dealer is taking a similar risk on waiting for a buyer.
The real question is how much are you getting the V40 for? The cost to change is the core issue here. While the money for the Alfa is a tad low, the V40 could be a good price. The km reading is fine with age so if the cost to change is around €17,000/€18,000 I think you have a good deal.
Shop around with your trade-in with other Volvo dealers and maybe look at an Audi A3, BMW 1 series or Mercedes A-Class too.
Eddie: I'd get it fixed. I would then try everything to sell it privately because you will be penalised at garage level no matter what you think you are getting for it. On the premise you can sell privately, I'd sample the Audi A3 which is a rock solid buy. The BMW 1-series, Mercedes A-Class are good options too.
Q I drive a 2008 Corolla Verso (7-seater) 1.6 litre petrol. It has 160,000km on the clock. It has started to give trouble so I want to change. I am thinking of getting a hybrid. I drive 10,000km a year. My children are 15, 12 and nine years old. My key requirement is a hybrid with three equal seats in the middle, either small 7-seater or 5 seats. The only one I have found is the Toyota Prius +. Are there any others? I would consider another small 7-seater (I wouldn't need a boot when I am using all seven seats). I don't want a new car: ideally about 2017. My car might be worth about €2,000. Budget up to €30,000. It has been suggested to me that I should buy in the North.
Gillian: This isn't the type of car that will save you much to import so I'd shop local. The Prius+ is the first that sprung to mind. It's in budget and has the seating you require. But 2017s and 2018s are scarce. If you are lucky to find one, it is the best choice for you. All other 7-seat hybrids are in the luxury end of the market and cost at least €40,000.
Eddie: There is no easy way to put this but buying a hybrid restricts you to the Prius+. There is nothing wrong with that per se but you are buying for now and you are buying for a cramped few years as the children will grow and grow and space will wither and wither. You need to be making a decision about buying a larger petrol people carrier. Among those that spring to mind are the Peugeot 5008 and Volkswagen Touran petrol 7-seaters. Your low mileage means petrol makes a lot of sense.
Q Our car is a 172 Tucson diesel (16,000km/year). I cycle, and my partner drives, to work which is 8km each way. We are looking at the new Hyundai Kona hybrid in November. We think an all-electric car (the Kona) is too expensive. We feel the hybrid petrol is more suitable. We want an automatic but non-plug-in hybrid. Any other suggestions welcome.
Gillian: You certainly could buy an electric vehicle with your small mileage but yes, EVs are expensive new. I don't know what price the Kona hybrid will be released at but assuming it's around €30,000, it is a nice replacement for the Tucson. I can see why you are considering it. For similar money, you could buy a new Nissan Leaf or Hyundai Ioniq electric but these are hatchbacks instead of SUVs and might not be the style you are hoping for. Have you considered a Toyota C-HR hybrid? New models start at €31,040 and it has been around since 162 so you have a bit more wiggle room on reg plate year and cost.
Eddie: I'd buy a KIA e-Niro electric SUV or e-Soul electric. They are two of the best electrics I've come across this year. Yes you may have to stretch budget but you get an EV. Ideal for your lifestyle and travel. My preference is the Soul.
Q Give me three choices for a nice hatchback that is premium quality. I have €30,000 to spend including a 12-reg Golf. I cover 15,000km a year and take a long journey home about once a month. I don't want anything flashy but I need it to look well. I'd buy new or two-year-old.
Gillian: Audi A3, Mercedes A Class and Honda Civic are my top three. The new BMW 1 series is recent so a new model is out of range and any used versions will be the older model.
The A3 is also new but the 1.0 TFSi SE model is priced at €30,350. The A Class is a similar story with a new model A160 Style priced at €28,830 - I would opt for the A180 for a bit more power at €30,465. If I had €30,000 to spend on a hatch however, I would be straight into my nearest Honda dealer for a Civic. The new model starts at just €24,250 and has been around since 171 so you don't need to use full budget but, I would suggest opting for a 191 1.5 (182bhp) high spec GT or Prestige model.
Eddie: The Audi A3 gets my vote even though it is expensive. It just does the business without fuss year in year out and still manages to look the part of a premium hatch. The A-Class is a second option while I'd look at a well-specced Volkswagen Golf too.