Best advice: car for a tall man; My €50k budget; Car for growing families...
Aidan Timmons and Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham team up to help readers make the right choice with their next car. Aidan visits dealers all over the country to produce a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars. He is co-editor of Motor Trade Publishers, who supply a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses. Eddie is author of former best-seller 'Clever Car Buying'
I have an 11-reg VW Golf Plus diesel (240,000 kms). I need a car with an upright seating position and excellent leg room. I'm 200cms, 110kg with a bad back. The car is my office. As a cash buyer with €15K to change plus trade-in, what cars (or commercial) do you recommend?
Aidan: I know the feeling of working from your car, so I get the appeal of a commercial, but I still think a car is better in case you need seats.
You could opt for a Kuga Utility (it has four seats), but if not VAT-registered a regular Kuga is better. A Honda CR-V will give you acres of room, too. A decent estate like a Passat or a Superb Combi would be ideal. Something with good rake and reach on the steering rack is essential, so test thoroughly before committing.
Eddie: I'd suggest you a fresh Skoda Yeti: tall enough, solid, roomy, flexible and proven. Plenty of headroom.
We have a 2011 Mazda6 2.2 saloon. We since bought a 2014 Ford Fiesta 1-litre (30,000km). My husband drives it to work (5km each way); I drive the Mazda for the school/creche (two children). Baby number three is on the way; no way we'd be able to get three car seats (one baby seat, two high back boosters) in the back. With a view to replacing the Mazda, we looked at seven-seaters: Nissan XTrail, Hyundai Santa Fe, old Peugeot 5008. The Peugeot could fit three car seats but we weren't gone on it. Not inspired by SMAX either; nor new Renault Grand Scenic. Even though the Mazda is 7 years old, there is only 120,000km on it. We don't know which to sell and what to buy. Budget €20,000, plus trade-in.
Aidan: Sell the Mazda, otherwise you need to sell two cars. Your husband does not need a big diesel, so forget that route.
You don't seem to like MPVs, but they make the most sense for you, so maybe go for one or you might end up compromising. The Santa Fe and KIA Sorento are good options as well, but they can be expensive to repair as they age, so try for the newest one you can by opting for a 2WD Comfort Santa Fe instead of the more popular 4WD Executive. I'd still encourage the MPV route, so look at a SEAT Alhambra.
Eddie: Sorry to be blunt, but it's horses for courses and MPVs are made for families like yours. My first thought when I read your query was the SEAT Alhambra. The Citroen C4 Picasso is an option too. Also try the Opel Zafira Tourer - it's a model of flexibility.
I'm driving a 1.6-litre diesel 90bhp Skoda Octavia (75k). I average 30,000kms per year. I have possible €10k to spend. What would my vehicle be worth against a new car? If I leave it another year, will I struggle to get €10k for mine? With my mileage would I be mad to even consider a PCP?
Aidan: You're not a natural fit for a PCP. Consider hire purchase or your credit union instead. I don't know how old your car is, but let's assume you have a budget of €20,000 - go for another Octavia. The car has been revised since yours was built, so you will benefit from the modernisation of the product, stylistically and technologically.
Eddie: I think you should change to another Octavia. You'll get more for your own on a trade-in and the newer one is as good as there is. No-brainer, I think.
I'm 25, learning to drive and saving for my first car. Max budget €8,000. Small annual mileage. I need boot space for transporting my small dogs and in case there's a need for a buggy (I'm getting married soon). I've tried convincing my other half that a Skoda Fabia is a good car, but she's not a fan of the design, sadly.
Aidan: The Fabia is a great car, but the Combi version will work better for you. Finding one might be a problem. Instead, look for a Focus estate. Again, it will be hard to find a good one, but you're better to play the waiting game for the right one to come along. Also, a Mazda3 has a big boot and is robust.
Eddie: You need an estate - best way of carrying the dogs. I'm tempted to suggest a Dacia Logan estate, which on your budget will get you a fresh car. But if your partner doesn't like the Fabia, she may not embrace the Logan. Worth a try, though. Otherwise I'd follow Aidan's advice.
Budget is €15k deposit plus trade-in. Do 17,500km/year. Require a five-seater SUV. Really like Tiguan Highline 150 TDi DSG (BMW X3 too pricey). Current car is BMW 320d with 165k km, 2008, manual. I got my BMW (four-year-old) in main dealer and since then I've had to change gearbox, timing chain and last week the turbo (all under extended warrant, luckily, but it is not covered anymore). I also got a new clutch/flywheel, all brakes and tyres about 14 months ago. It is due for NCT in June. Is it fair to assume not much more can fail and it has reached bottom value? Should I hold on for another while (how long?) or should I quit while ahead and get a new one (if so PCP or HP with my budget)?
Aidan: You have at least two good options. Use the full cash amount and your trade-in to roughly fund 50pc of the purchase price of your new Tiguan. Finance the outstanding balance and you'll likely own the car outright in three years. Or, if the APR rate is low with VW Bank, keep some of your cash and avail of cheap borrowing by choosing PCP.
Eddie: I'd get rid of the Beemer. I think it could cost you more. Go Tiguan on PCP (absolutely familiarise yourself with your commitment), but also think Peugeot 3008SUV, SEAT Ateca and Toyota C-HR.
We need a bigger car for carrying buggies and travel bags etc. Two kids, so we don't need a monster of a machine but something practical and sound. Do 11,000km/year. What cars would you recommend in petrol, good boot and rear space? What do you feel would be a fair trade-in on a 2008 Auris?
Aidan: At that end of the market (2008 and older), there are massive variations in price. Pay the premium for low mileage and something from a main dealer. Expect to pay between €5,000/€6,000 for something with less than 100,000kms. A 1.6-litre petrol Avensis is a good choice.
Eddie: Don't focus too much on your Auris's value; think total cost of change when you go to a dealer. I'd suggest you look out for a Toyota Prius hybrid. Roomy car. A well-minded one would be ideal for your mileage.
We are going from a two-car family to one. We have a 2012 Audi A6 (92k miles) and a 2015 (152) Honda CRV (25k miles). I intend to sell the Audi and maybe the CRV, or trade the CRV. We are looking for a big SUV. Budget would be €10k-ish on trade in and sales value, so maybe €50k-€55k. I like the idea of a hybrid. Annual miles about 20k to 25k.
Aidan: I think you've over-estimated your budget by at least €5,000, but it is still a great one. The Lexus NX300h might not be big enough, but you won't buy a new RX. If you're a stickler for a hybrid, you could look at the Toyota RAV4, but again it might not be big enough. Same could be true of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. A diesel still works for you, so look at the Hyundai Santa Fe or buy a really high-spec Skoda Kodiaq.
Eddie: I'd point you towards the Santa Fe 2.2-litre diesel on your mileage. There is a new one coming next year, so you might use that as a bit of leverage.
I'm looking for an SUV automatic. I drive a Mercedes C180 sport automatic. I don't want to go back to a manual. My budget including trade-in is €16,000 approx. Mileage is 10,000kms/year.
Aidan: Tough one. Try the Tiguan or a Hyundai ix35, but you might end up having to pay for 4WD and a bigger engine, because the ix35 only came with an automatic in higher engine/spec 4WD models. Watch for a petrol Mitsubishi ASX, too. You'll struggle to find a premium brand at this budget, but Audi's Q5 and BMW's X3 are options.
Eddie: I have great regard for the previous Volvo XC60. It was around for years, so you should have a reasonable choice. You'll probably have to go diesel, though.
I have a Nissan Qashqai 2014 SVE, high spec, the last new model. 100,000kms. It's worth €16k, they say. I owe €6k on it - paid off in two years. I drive 25k a year for work. I have no funds to pay any lump sum now or in the future. I make approx €34k a year. How can I get a new Qashqai or 2016/17 model? Just me; no family.
Aidan: You say you can't afford a lump sum, but you have equity in your car. You can use that instead. This calls for getting some offers on costs-to-change with a dealer before you can make the right decision.
Eddie: You've got to sit down with your dealer and show what you can afford to repay. The equity in the car shows you can meet a certain level of repayments. Ask your dealer, how much a month is it to pay for a new or fresh Qashqai?
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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.