Monday 19 August 2019

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


Citroen C3 Aircross
Citroen C3 Aircross

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.

I currently work in sales and drive a company car - a Passat 1.6 diesel. I'll be leaving the company to take over a related business soon so I'll need to buy my own vehicle. The business is around 45 minutes from my home and I estimate annual mileage of 40-45,000km. I have a budget of €12k and don't know where to start. I'm looking for a reliable car/SUV that will provide a comfortable and smooth ride for the 90-minute round-trip. It needs to be economical for the high mileage. 4WD is something I've thought about to ensure I can reach the business in all weather though it's not a deal breaker. I'm not worried about back down in years to get the best car suitable. A two-seater commercial - something like a Hyundai ix35 which comes in 4WD option - might suit as we have a family car. My wife suggested I take her 2011 Insignia 2.0 130bhp diesel and buy a newer family car with low mileage. I could then trade up the Insignia in two years when the business is on a sure footing. What do you think?

Gillian and Eddie: The family Insignia 2.0 dsl would be suitable for you. As you know it already, there will be no surprises. Saloon prices have stopped falling; indeed they are selling again because they are such value for money. Yours will only dip in value by roughly €1,000/€1,500 a year over the next 24 months - so it might be worth keeping. Then you could get a fresher family car with the €12k.

A 141-reg Nissan Qashqai would be a good buy. You'll need to stretch a little to get an SV 1.2 petrol and a little more again to the 1.5 diesel.

Another option is the Hyundai ix35 you mentioned or a Kia Sportage. A two-seater ix35 commercial is a good choice. For the 4WD option you will need the 2.0 engine. There isn't really anything else up against it in this segment, but have you thought about a pick-up? You could go Double Cab - the kids would love it - and some options include the VW Amarok, Toyota Hi-Lux and Ford Ranger.

Of course, you could just opt for another saloon as mentioned - there is a huge choice out there. Keep it for the early years of your new business venture and then go up-spec to something newer.

I drive a 2004 1.4 petrol Ford C-MAX which is on the way out and probably won't pass its NCT. We've been really happy with it; simple, reliable and a large boot. We are looking for a petrol with a really big boot. We have two young kids and my husband goes surfing - hence the need for boot space. We looked at an automatic 1.4 petrol VW Touran, but haven't heard great things about the 7spd (automatic) gearbox. We also looked at the 1.0 petrol C-Max EcoBoost, but again haven't heard great engine reviews. It seems hard to get petrol cars. Should we consider diesel? We have a max budget of €13,000 - big boot and petrol are the priorities.

Gillian and Eddie: If you don't cover large mileage and petrol is a priority then stick with the latter but bear in mind the choice, especially of those with large boots, will be limited as we have only recently started buying them as new in any great volume. The need to transport a surf board yells 'estate'. We're thinking of something such as a Volkswagen Passat 1.4 or Skoda Octavia estate.

Yes, do consider diesel. It will open up your options a lot more to include the likes of the Kia Cee'd SW and Hyundai i30 estate which usually come well minded and well specced.

I have an arthritic condition. I need a car with higher seats so I don't have to lower myself into them. I'm also tall so just raising a seat doesn't work as I'm hitting my head. Can you suggest any vehicle that might better suit my needs? I currently drive a 2010 Toyota Auris with 120,000km on the clock; there are usually only two people in the car. I need a 5dr hatchback. At this point I'm more in need of knowing which vehicles might be best rather than focussing on the budget.

Gillian: A hatchback won't offer you the ride height you are looking for. What you need is a crossover or SUV. These are popular because people want higher seating. They are good for averting back pain when putting kids in car seats too - as well as usually having better visibility. The choice is huge and growing apace.

Because there are just two of you, I'd recommend you look at compact crossovers for ease of parking but also those with proper roof height for taller drivers. Citroen C3 Aircross, SEAT Arona and Peugeot 2008 are all plenty roomy up front and, while the seating isn't as high as an SUV, they are higher off the ground than a hatchback and should suit your needs. All three come with petrol and diesel engines. They cost from just above €20k - or as a one-year-old from around €18k, depending on model.

Eddie: For someone in your position you just have to try cars out on a model by model basis. Gillian's suggestions are great; try them. But I recently drove the new Volkswagen T-Cross small SUV and reckon it is a real option for you. It will cost from €22,495 when it arrives here soon. I was hugely impressed with the head room. I think it could be for you.

Budget; €32,000. No trade-in; 16,000km a year. Need a five-seater. Current car is a 1988 diesel Mitsubishi Shogun. I have to have a 4WD for farming and off-road use. I am a blue badge holder and can buy a new vehicle net of VAT and VRT. The Shogun is on its last legs and is not economical to repair. I would like to replace it with a Landcruiser utility. The UK excluding VAT price for a 3dr 5seat Landcruiser is £26,790 (Toyota UK pricelist = €31,151). For some reason, Toyota Ireland has chosen not to make the Landcruiser utility available here. Is my only option to buy in the UK and save myself at least €5,000?

Gillian and Eddie: The Landcruiser Business 5seat commercial was popular here and is in demand on the used market. Government tax rate changes made them too expensive new and so they have been discontinued. As you are a blue-badge holder, it would be mad not to make use of the savings in buying new. If you can get your hands on one from the UK and it fits budget, it might be the best option.

But there is another option - with a pick-up. If you need five seats, a double cab such as the Nissan Navara, Toyota Hi-Lux, Ford Ranger and VW Amarok are all good options as 4WDs priced around the €40k including VAT and VRT. Ford have the Kuga as a Utility and a 4WD version costs €35,799. It is a four-seat instead of five and might not be what you're after but worth a look if you haven't already.

Budget: €14,000 (plus any trade-in value), 30,000km a year. Need four seats for two adults and two children (aged 5 and 2). Current car: 09 Nissan Qashqai Acenta; 240,000km on the clock. Should I wait to change until my car dies or change now? The car is going well and passed the NCT without major difficulty. I am just worried I'm entering the time when things will start to go wrong. I find the boot space a little tight for all of our gear on trips, as we travel to my home place down south regularly. However, I love the drive position of the SUV, but wonder is there better value to be had on the saloon market, or even an estate? I use the car for my daily commute of 150km and so comfort would be high on my agenda. So would an older, higher-end model be worth investing in? Also I presume diesel is still my only option?

Gillian: Diesel? Yes. Older but higher-end model? No. Wait until it dies? No. Saloon or estate? Maybe. The car is going well and passed the NCT and is 09 so it doesn't sound like it's close to dying to me. I only sold my 07 Qashqai last year and it was still running perfectly and wasn't costing me anything extra for age. It does have high mileage though, and as it's feeling a bit tight on space,

I would suggest a change. I don't suggest going for an older, higher-end model though if you want to avoid additional maintenance costs. As mentioned already, the saloon market is great value at the minute as are estates. They won't offer the higher seating position you like and you can afford an SUV, so why not stick there?

The Qashqai was the first real family SUV but was small. The new 2013 model is roomy and I frequently recommend it here. You will certainly find a 2015 1.5 diesel SV model to suit your needs and budget (including trade-in). Kia also have a similar sized vehicle with the Sportage 1.7 diesel, but these usually have a little more spec and so go for more money.

Eddie: Your car is, relatively speaking, saleable now. If things begin to go wrong it could cost you not just in repairs but you might have to rush a sale to buy a newer car. Quit while you are ahead. In addition to Gillian's suggestions, take a look at the Peugeot 3008SUV.

Help us help you

Welove 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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