Tuesday 15 October 2019

Are you buying a second-hand car? Ask the experts


Volvo XC60
Volvo XC60

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

We are looking to get a bigger car than our Fiesta because we have a second child due soon. Would love to get an electric vehicle, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable taking the full plunge yet, so thinking of a PHEV.

Our usage during the week is just a commute to the train station and back (10km), and most other trips would be under 50km in total. Normally, once a month we'd do a longer trip (170km each way) to see family.

Budget including trade-in is in the region of €25k. Any thoughts on options would be greatly appreciated.

Gillian: A PHEV is an option for you, as is an electric, but there are not that many right now. We should see a lot more on available next year.

Hyundai have the Ioniq and Kia have the Niro plug-in, but both only launched early this year, so you'd be lucky to find a 181/182 in the new year. They start at more than €30k new.

The Volkswagen Golf comes as a PHEV or electric, starting at around €40k new, so you would be hoping for a 16 or 17-reg at a push for this one.

There is of course the popular Nissan Leaf electric, which will fit the family no problem. But for a family needing child seat/s and a roomy boot for a buggy, I think you might be better off looking at a hybrid.

If you wanted something a bit bigger, the Toyota C-HR is popular. You might get a 171/172 higher spec model for around €23/24k.

Eddie: All good choices. On the electric front there is also the electric Renault Zoe hatch, which might be a bit small for your family.

I think the hybrid I'd be steering you towards would be a second-hand Toyota Prius within your budget. Yes, it is quite big, but your family is growing and you'll need all the space you can get yet - believe me.

I have a 131 diesel high-spec VW Tiguan (170,000km) in top condition. We find the boot far too small now we have a child with a buggy and another on the way.

We are looking to buy a two-year-old used vehicle. My future mileage will be approximately 25,000km/year, mostly quiet rural driving.

A five-seater should do us, but we find most have only equivalent boot size to what we have. I prefer an SUV for ease of getting kids in and out.

Our budget is our current trade-in plus €10-€15,000. I'm not pushed about automatic or hybrid etc. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Gillian: The SUV market has lots of choice, and with two kids and all the gear associated with travelling with them, I think we should stick with it.

I presume you are waiting until the new year so your two-year-old will be a 171 plate. Your km reading is on the high side, so I'll work with a budget between €17k and €23k.

At the top end of this, you will squeeze into a Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson. For a bit less, at the midpoint of this price range, comes the Nissan Qashqai.

For €17k you might be better looking for a three-year old of some of the options mentioned already.

Eddie: I agree with Gillian's choices, but you are not going to get the wondrous extra boot space you crave in any of these, so I'd suggest you take a different tack and look at an estate version of the Skoda Octavia or Skoda Superb. They have massive boots and plenty of cabin room, but they are not as high off the ground.

You should get a good fresh car for your budget too.

Budget (including 2003 Audi A4, 190k trade-in) is €0. Interested in PCP finance up to €300/month. Annual mileage 20k-25k. Need enough room for four people. Otherwise nothing that important really.

Interested in good running costs, eco-friendly as possible, low tax and insurance.

I'm lost in a sea of new cars and I don't know where to start.

Gillian: Most cars fit four people, but we will stay away from compact hatchbacks for a bit more room.

A family hatch sounds about right. Or, perhaps because you are coming from an A4, a family saloon.

For your budget, tax and running costs, how about looking at a VW Passat or Skoda Superb?

The VW group have been financing PCPs for a long time now and know every detail of what can be done to facilitate buyers. However, they will need a deposit and, unfortunately, your A4 won't suffice on its own, I don't think.

Eddie: Your sticking point is your deposit, as Gillian so rightly points out. I'm not going to muddy the waters by suggesting a whole string of other marques because the same problem would arise with each.

My strong suggestion, however, is that you speak with some or all of the following dealers in your general area: VW, Skoda, SEAT, Renault, Dacia, Toyota.

I sincerely hope that will give you a starting point and a focus.

I drive a diesel Peugeot 2008, 2016 model with 27,700km. I want to change in the new year when my PCP is up.

My reasons for changing are I don't now do enough mileage to warrant a diesel. I am also 5ft 10ins and find it increasingly difficult to get in and out of my current car without a huge stoop. I need a tall car as I have huge back problems.

I have been thinking about the new Toyota RAV hybrid. I did consider the Peugeot 3008 but found it just as difficult to get in and out as the 2008. I live in the country and would benefit from 4WD. I need a big boot too.

Budget is not a problem, but should I try to sell my Peugeot privately once I've made final payment, or trade it in against next car?

Gillian: If the 3008 is too low for you, you must step up in body size, and the RAV4 sounds good. Buying hybrid is sensible if you can afford it. SUVs are popular as are hybrid, so you are getting a double win. I advise you buy a new model in 2019.

Vehicles to consider if you want to stick with hybrid are the Kia Niro, Mitsubishi Outlander and Volvo XC60. The Niro might be a little small, but is worth a look. The Volvo costs a bit more.

On selling or trading your own car, have a chat with your PCP provider to help you make the right decision. There are a lot of terms and condition associated with the end of term, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that one, I'm afraid.

Eddie: I'd buy the Volvo XC60 (above) if budget isn't an issue, and I'd keep things simple by trading in your car against it.

I know it is winter, but I want to buy a smaller two-seater sports car early next year. There is only myself (I'm 35, single and in a good job), so my biggest requirement is enough boot room for a set of golf clubs.

I want a smart, reliable little sports car. My budget is €40,000 but no more. I am giving my old current car to my younger brother, so there's no trade-in. Any advice appreciated.

Gillian: Well I'm jealous: €40k to spend on fun. It's going to be tough to find a two-seater to fit the clubs. If you are looking to buy new, your only option really is a Mazda MX-5, but I wouldn't be confident the boot space would work.

After that, an Audi TT or BMW Z4. The most recent Z4 you could pick up is a 2016, and an M Sport would work. The TT is current, and you should hope to get a 2017 plate. Honestly though, because the roof folds into the boot, your clubs will have to be taken out of the bag and you will need a ritual to get them all to fit in.

A Mercedes SLK has a slightly bigger boot and might work, but you would need to test it to make sure.

The issue with all of these is the market has undergone huge changes and the demand for sports cars has shrunk.

I think you would be better to give up the two seats and opt for four. This will open up the options to include an Audi A3 and BMW 2-series if you are looking for a new 191 and a small sports car. Or, if you are happy to buy used, an Audi A5 or BMW 4 Series.

If you don't want a folding roof, maybe look at a Lexus RC300h or - my favourite of them all - Ford Mustang. None of these are small, but they will fit the golf clubs.

Eddie: Get yourself into an Audi A5 or BMW 4-series. Lovely cars. Four seats, no worries about golf clubs. Anything with two doors is going to be a compromise, I'm afraid.

Help us help you

We love getting your enquiries and try to reply to as many as possible here or via email. The ones dealt with here often represent a cross section of individual questions. You can help us help you with our free, independent, advice by including the following in your queries:

* Budget (including trade-in).

* Annual mileage (in kms).

* Size of car required (number of seats).

* Present car (make, model, year and mileage) if relevant.


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