Tuesday 17 September 2019

Buying a new or second-hand car? Ask our experts


Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis

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 131-reg 2-litre diesel Insignia estate (95,000kms). I drive 25k miles a year. The car recently had its timing belt and water pump replaced. Would I be better off hanging onto it for 12 months to get value from the timing belt, or should I trade up in January?

Also, whether in 12 months time or in Jan 2019, when I do come to trade up, finances are extremely tight. Apart from the trade-in value, the remaining funds for a replacement will have to be financed. Max monthly outlay would only be in the region of €150 to €175.

I really like the Insignia estate. It has decent space, it's a decent drive and it does 55mpg. My hope would be to find a low-mileage 151-reg.

Gillian: I will give some options and leave the decision with you on whether to change in Jan 2019 or hang on.

Your current motor has slightly lower than average mileage, which is good when trading in, especially in a diesel.

You do need a diesel with your driving, and seeing as you love your car and it has just been well-serviced, there is no need to put yourself under any pressure.

If you do want to change and get into a 2015 for payments sub-€200 over a 36-month term, how about sticking with the Insignia but going for a fresher model and in a smaller engine - the 1.6 diesel? You'd be going for a 152-reg.

If you fancy a change, Skoda diesel estates are a good bet. You won't get the equivalent body of the Superb based on budget, but an Octavia is roomy and returns impressive mpg. Both options are a squeeze for your monthly outlay allowance, so while I said I would leave the decision up to you, my advice would be to stick with what you have for now.

Eddie: I'd wait. After spending that sort of money, the chances are you'll be okay on repairs (fingers crossed). Then I'd repeat the deal with Opel. It's your best bet on your repayment schedule.

I'm wondering if I should change my Peugeot 508 (2012) to something hybrid or better economically. I drive an average of 45,000kmsa year. My car now 211,000kms on it. I drive an hour to and from work each day on R roads and have monthly trips to Dublin and other locations around Ireland, so I'd like something that holds the road well and is comfortable for longer journeys.

Budget-wise I'd be at around €10k, plus the trade-in on my current car. I don't have a seats requirement as there are no kids, but I'd like something with a big enough boot to take the bike when the back seats are folded down.

Secondly, would changing a 152 Astra to an electric car be a good option? It only has 27,000km on it at the moment, and daily mileage is about 20km. When is a good time to change this? What would be similar to the Astra in the electric models, and how much does it cost to get a charging point installed at home? Any ideas appreciated.

Gillian: Stop wondering. You need a diesel. Your annual mileage is well above average, and your 2012 is going to suffer as a trade-in, unfortunately. I think you should stick with the saloon segment as you might just find a low-mileage one out there. Buyers who should have bought petrol over the past few years followed the trend and opted for diesel, so these are coming back to the market and would suit a driver like you.

If you hadn't told me your current car, I would have recommend you look at a Peugeot 508. For a change, how about looking at a Ford Mondeo or Opel Insignia? Both are comfortable, available and, if you find a well-minded, low-mileage one, you won't be disappointed.

For the Astra, yes, changing to an electric with such low annual kms covered is a good idea. The best time to change is the new year, and a similar model would be the Nissan Leaf or Hyundai's Ioniq. There is a €600 government grant for setting up a charging point at your home. The usual outlay is around another €300 to €700, depending on the type of charger you go for.

Eddie: You have to go diesel. I'd add the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb diesels to your menu. I had the latter for huge mileage and it was exceptional.

As far as the Astra is concerned, I have mixed feelings. You will lose a fair bit on depreciation and will have to settle for a used electric car unless you have more money at your disposal. I think it's a waste having the Astra and expensive to change. I'd go for a Leaf or Ioniq, but I'd sell the Astra separately. Otherwise, I'd be afraid you'd lose on the EV deal.


I have a Ford Focus C-Max 2008 with 150k on the clock. I've been offered €2k off a second-hand car and €3k off a new car. Will the car dealer reduce this offer if I wait until January, when the car will be deemed to be 11 years old. Should I wait until January to change? Are there better deals then?

Gillian: What you have been offered is right for your car. If you were given these figures recently, the dealer would have had January in mind, so waiting until then to trade in shouldn't change this. If you are buying used and you have found a car you like, there is no issue with buying now. Typically, there will be more choice in the new year as buyers trade in for newer models.

If you are buying new, you must wait until January. Look out for scrappage offers that might go a little above the €3k, but bear in mind that this is the normal offer price.

Eddie: Wait until January. The dealer isn't exactly breaking the mould in giving you the few euro off, but shifting your own car any other way is going to be troublesome, so hold on and if a better deal arises in January, take it. Otherwise, you can fall back on that dealer.


I am driving a 151 Toyota Avensis 2-litre diesel (100,000km). I do about 26,000km a year. I'm considering changing and would like another Avensis. If I can get a 181, I will have a good car for a few years, after which we might have a better idea of what's happening with petrol, diesel and hybrid.

I feel my mileage warrants diesel and I have sourced a few 181 Avensis (mostly imports, mileage 17,000km to 24,000km). Cars are 1.6 D4D Business models with sat nav, in addition to extras in my current car. Any obvious reasons why I shouldn't buy an import, and what can I expect to pay to come up by three years?

Gillian: A UK import has no real concerns, especially if you are buying from an Irish dealer that took it in. They offer their own warranty and all your dealings are with them.

To come up three years into a 181 high-spec Avensis 1.6 D4D, you would be looking at an additional €13k to €14k. Your Avensis is more liked than the newer model you are looking to buy. It got a new engine (BMW) but just never took off as well as the ranges before it. There are some nice versions around the forecourts, and the Business model comes well-specced, but I would be cautious about its re-sale value when you go to change again. You most likely will get the best trade-in for your own car in a main Toyota dealer.

How about looking at a hybrid? Your annual driving is within the realms of a hybrid and the C-HR includes all the spec you seem to want in the Luna Sport.

Eddie: As you probably know, Toyota is finished with new Avensis diesels. That's part of a policy decision not to make any more diesel passenger cars. You have done your homework, by all accounts, so I'd buy an import either here or up North. Next time, I'd go hybrid.


I have a Kia cee'd SW with 109,000km on the clock (131-reg) and in good nick. What would be a sale price for it, and what would you advise me to change to in 2019 with a budget of approx €15,000? I do about 20km a year. My wife and I are in our late eighties.

Gillian: A good trade-in for your car is around €7k to €8k, and if your full budget is €15k, I'd suggest that you look at a newer model cee'd estate again if needed, or the hatchback if the extra room isn't a requirement. You would be coming up three years for the money.

Something similar would include a Hyundai i30 or a Seat Leon. Both of these cars come in estate and hatchback varieties.

If the €15k is on top of your trade-in value, then I would steer you in the direction of a Skoda Octavia or Volkswagen Golf. You should find a nearly-new model in January to suit.

Eddie: I happen to think the new Ceed SW is a great little car, so if you can stretch to buying a new one, I believe you would be doing really well.


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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