Buy a new or second-hand car? Ask the experts
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
I have a 152 Toyota Auris Luna diesel with 60,000kms, as recommended by your column in the first place actually, so thanks.
I commute 200km a day, all M1/M50. Traffic on the M50 has me changing through gears every 30 seconds, so I'd love an automatic. I spend about €300/m on diesel, so fuel efficiency is a massive consideration.
I'm afraid I'm doing so much mileage now that my Auris will lose value quickly. Any thoughts on if I should change? Budget would be €5k plus trade-in.
Gillian: The mileage on your car is just below average, so if you don't want to change just yet, you have another good six months at your current driving before you'd start feeling a pinch on value.
I understand the desire for an automatic, so with your budget being around €18k, I have a few suggestions. I will stick with hatchback body-styles, but it might be tricky to find one that's newer than 152 because I'm presuming you will want to come up a year for your additional €5k.
A VW Golf 1.6 dsl would be a good choice in a 161; so would a Skoda Octavia 1.6 dsl. Both sold well in DSG (auto) and finding one with low kms shouldn't be difficult if you are happy to stick with a 15-reg plate. I'd suggest you go on the luxury end as these next few models are more forgiving for high mileage.
Both an Audi A3 1.6 dsl and BMW 114d/116d are similarly priced and do well with high km readings, but the BMW might not be as easy to find in auto as the A3. The Mercedes A160d/A180d falls into the same price range too.
Thinking about it, maybe you could also get into a 16 plate in this end of the market. And look at a Volvo V40 2.0 dsl while you are at it.
Eddie: It strikes me that the obvious thing to do is to consider switching to a Toyota Auris hybrid. First, so much of your driving is of the stop/start variety - and that is supposed to be where hybrids shine.
Secondly, you'll have an automatic - continuously variable transmission - as an integral part of the package.
Thirdly, you'll most likely get a better deal from a Toyota dealer for your own car and you may catch up a year.
And finall,y you're on the bandwagon away from diesel. Worth doing your sums on this with an eye on the future.
I love my current car, a five-seater 2009 Golf 2.0 TDi. It has never given me any trouble. I have a commute of 130km, mainly on motorway but with some heavy city traffic too. I have 230,000km on the clock and recently changed the timing belt.
I'd love to change to electric or hybrid. However, I don't think the electric cars would be strong enough and I'd have concerns about recharging (I am building a new house so could put in my own charger).
Would you recommend switching to hybrid or should I stay with the diesel a few more years? My budget is €15 to €20K plus trade-in. I'm happy with a good second-hand car and would have no problem going to the UK.
Gillian: Hybrid yes; electric, not just yet, I think. For around €20k, here are some options.
With a Lexus CT200h, you could come up a good few years. I love this car, though the boot isn't huge. You can pick up some well-specced models. Look for an Executive, F-Sport or, even nicer, a Premium.
A Toyota Auris hybrid in Sol or Luna spec will be similar in size to your Golf and is popular. You should get into a 2016 for your budget.
A Kia Niro hybrid is another option, but you will be pushed to the top end of your budget as it only launched late 2016. Similarly, a Toyota C-HR would be a good buy, but they are scarce in your budget area.
Eddie: Gillian's hybrid suggestions are good. I'd wait a while, however, seeing as you've recently done the timing belt. You might as well get some payback on that front (so long as everything else is okay).
The car won't be worth a lot less in 12 months than it is now and there will be a much better selection for you.
Diesels are not dead yet. You could certainly go for another Golf or an excellent 1.6-litre Honda Civic hatchback. But do put a charging point in your new home - the day will come when you will need it.
We are a family of six. My wife minds children from time to time, not to mention bringing our kids' friends to training etc, so we are looking for a seven-seater to replace my 152 Mazda CX5 2.2 litre diesel. I do approx 35,000km a year, so I want something up to two years old max with low mileage. I'll drive it for a couple of years before passing it to my wife. By then, our 2010 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso (100,000km, she does approx 13,000km a year) will need changed. We would appreciate it if you could recommend something for a budget up to €40k. I occasionally pull a trailer, not sure if this will influence your recommendation.
Gillian and Eddie: Let's see what we can find newer than a 16-plate with seven seats and under €40k.
The good news is you can buy a new car. Indeed, we're giving you a choice of three models. You should drive all three and after that it just comes down to what appeals most to your wife and you.
The three are the Peugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. All are within budget and will suit your requirements.
In the 5008, you would be looking at the 1.5 dsl in GT Line spec, starting at €38,625. There are cheaper options, so you wouldn't need to use full budget going from the Allure back to an Active, and finally the base spec Access at €31,615. The Skoda Kodiaq diesel is a 2-litre starting at €38,175 for the Ambition. The Tiguan Allspace in similar spec (Comfortline) is slightly more expensive at €39,665 but still under your €40k spend.
Test them out, bring the family and find out more from the dealer about towing (the size of the trailer will be a factor).
We are changing cars in the new year, hoping to avail of a scrappage deal. We're getting rid of an 09 Opel Insignia (on its last legs) and have a budget of €30k all-in, with a bit of leeway to go €2 to 3k more if necessary. It will be financed by a loan from whichever dealership we buy from. It needs to be a diesel as we do 30,000km/year and PCP is not an option.
It will be our family car, so we need a bit of room. My wife is looking for something like the Hyundai Tucson (looks and boot space).
Can you give us your opinion on what our options are? Are we better to go new and get the scrappage or second-hand and use our own cash as a part-deposit? Our cash pile is our only rainy day fund and we would be loath to touch it. All the options are frying our brains.
Gillian and Eddie: A new Hyundai Tucson 1.7 dsl starts at €27,995 for the base Comfort spec and goes up to €33,495 for a top spec Premium model, so if that is what your wife is looking for, start there. Talk to your Hyundai dealer about options.
Another major contender is the Kia Sportage, also a diesel, with prices ranging from €27,995 to €32,045 for 2WD models. Both are similar in drive and size.
SEAT's Ateca is an excellent option too. For €29,355 you could own a new 1.6 dsl SE model, but we suggest you go an extra bit and opt for the Xcellence at €32,660.
We agree you should be careful with your rainy day fund, but there is no point in paying too high a loan rate either. Maybe dip a little into your savings to keep a bit of balance in your outgoings?
I'm 65 and have no car because I worked abroad and didn't need one. Now I do. I hate the thought of high insurance, but I need mobility and am asking if you could recommend a nice compact hatchback new or fairly new for €20k max. I anticipate covering 12,000 to 15,000kms a year at most.
Gillian: You have plenty of choice to buy new. I would suggest a Ford Fiesta 1.1 - Zetec or Titanium if you can go full budget - Kia Rio 1.25 K2, Nissan Micra 0.9 in SV or SV Premium, SEAT Ibiza 1.0 SE Xcellence, Toyota Yaris 1.0 Luna or Sport and Volkswagen Polo 1.0 Comfortline.
There are plenty of other options including the Hyundai i20 and Renault Clio, but the ones I have listed above are all newly launched over the past one or two years so will be fresh on the road and will fare well if you plan to change again in a few years.
A Mazda2 is another one, but it's a 1.5 so not sure it would fare as well as the others for insurance.
Eddie: That's comprehensive, but I'd just forget all the fuss and searching and buy a brand new Honda Jazz.
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