Sunday 20 October 2019

Buying a new or secondhand car? Ask our experts


Santa Fe
Santa Fe

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 for advice about the type of car to buy and how to finance it. We have a Citroen Grand Picasso seven-seater, 09D, semi automatic to trade in. It has 120,000km on the clock. It's beginning to give trouble, so we want to change. We are a family of four (two young boys). My wife uses the car mainly. The mileage is less than 15,000km a year. We would like an SUV as my wife prefers the height and big boot. Preference is for low tax options, economical to run, leather seats. We are leaning towards Kia and Hyundai brands. Our budget for a second-hand would be €15k plus whatever we get for a trade-in, or we could go for a new car, where we are thinking we can stretch to repayments of €350 a month. Can you recommend some cars for us and how best to finance them?

Gillian: If you have €15k now and add that to your trade-in, you are looking at a 161 Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson. Both come in a good choice of spec, but you would have to shop around for leather seats. If you wanted to stick with seven seats, the Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe would fit your budget, but being a larger machine, you would need to come back to a 2013 or 2014 plate, depending on spec. If you then add a loan for €15,000 over five years to keep at the €350/month repayments, you should switch your engine to a petrol. With annual driving of 15,000km, a petrol or hybrid is for you, and I would suggest you look at the Peugeot 3008 or the 5008 for extra space and keeping with a seven-seater. The 3008 would mean a smaller loan and repayment term, so I would start there.

I would also suggest a one-year old Toyota RAV4 hybrid. Great ride height, plenty of room and should hold a great resale when the loan is up.

Eddie: I don't believe in people stretching, so I'd advise caution and sticking with your budget. On that basis I would go for either a Sportage or a Tucson. You're leaning that way anyway, so who am I to divert you? For something else, maybe think Nissan Qashqai too?


We have an imported SEAT Leon 09 1.9 TDi with 100,000km on the clock. I have a company car and my husband drives a van for work. The SEAT is starting to cost us money with nearly €1,000 spent this year - the electrics are not great. Our teenagers drive it and currently mileage is about 5,000km a year. Our youngest will be off to college next year and may drive it occasionally when home. Our budget is €5k. We would probably trade in the SEAT, so whatever we get for that would be added to the €5k. Should we change it?

Gillian: You have some lucky teenagers. The Leon has a lot lower than standard mileage and I don't see you having much trouble selling it. I would suggest that you try to sell it privately if you can do without the car for a while. Then, as a cash buyer, you will have plenty of choice, especially with the turn of the year. At that stage, I would recommend you look for something newer and in petrol.

I am conscious that the teenagers will not want an old person's car, so how about a Hyundai i30 or Kia cee'd? Although the petrol in both was basic on spec.

A Mazda3 is an old reliable and you could come up to a 2013 plate from the 09. An Opel Astra would also be a nice choice, especially if you could get a three-door GTC Sport model.

Eddie: What do you want a third car for, so one of your college children can drive it now and again? I think it's bad economics. Sell it, but make sure it is in roadworthy condition. You don't want to endanger a prospective buyer. I'm not so sure about having it for the occasional drive. If you must, I'd go Honda Civic or Mazda3.


I'm driving a 152D Citroen C4 Grand Picasso diesel auto with 61,000km. I drive 40,000km a year. I have three kids, aged four, five and seven, and live in the countryside. The car is used for commuting to work four days a week and for weekends and trips away. I'd like to trade in for a newer, seven-seat vehicle with lower mileage and a five or seven-year warranty. I'm open to electric or hybrid and am looking at using my Citroen to trade in against the newer vehicle. Budget €10k-15k with trade-in.

Gillian: With your annual driving, you need a diesel. I recommend the new Citroen Grand C4 Space Tourer, which starts at €30k for the Touch edition, up to €35k for the Feel Exclusive in auto. The manufacturer warranty is three years, but like most others there is the option of a two-year extension.

If you want a standard five-year warranty, then you need to look at Kia and Hyundai. Kia is seven years but their seven-seat Sorento is over budget new. You could just about squeeze into a two-year-old and get the five years remaining on it. A 171 Hyundai Santa Fe will leave you with three years remaining.

I would suggest you also look at a Peugeot 5008. A new model 191 starts at around €34k for a medium spec Active. It is a good family car, especially with three young children all growing up fast.

Eddie: Stick with diesel - you need to with your mileage. And stick with Citroen as you'll get a better deal trading like for like. That means it's a SpaceTourer for you.


I drive a 2002 Merc C180 automatic. I drive 20km to work on country roads, and up and down to Dublin (from the south east) once a fortnight. The cruise control is handy for the motorway drive.

I don't mind whether I have manual or automatic, as I currently spend approx €100 a week on petrol, €800 a year on tax and another few hundred on parts and servicing, I feel it is time to replace the car for something that will ultimately cost the same when repayments and running costs are taken into account.

I don't have a budget and would have to borrow, but if the repayments amount to the same or less than I'm spending now, I'm happy. I have two children in booster seats. I tend to go for Mercs as I found this one so reliable. I might consider Audi, Hyundai, Volvo etc. Any advice?

Gillian: I think an SUV would be right, and as you mentioned Hyundai, I will start with a Tucson 1.7 dsl. The first plate available is a 152 and will cost around €17/18k in the new year for a Comfort Plus spec. With a five-year warranty as standard, you will still have 18 months remaining. Annual motor tax is €200. A typical loan for this amount over five years will have monthly repayments of around €350.

If this is a bit much, I would recommend a Nissan Qashqai. I had the older shape with two kids and found it plenty big with buggies, child seats etc and the running and maintenance costs were low. The newer model arrived in 2014. A 141 SV spec in January should set you back around €14 to €15k, which will bring back the payments to under €300.

Sticking with Mercedes, the B Class is priced similarly, but you can go back to a 2012 in this one for around €11k, meaning a smaller borrowing.

Eddie: I think you'd really enjoy a Volvo XC60. You'll get a fresh one for €20,000 or so and it really is a lovely piece of work. Lots of safety and comfort equipment. I just have a feeling you'd like it a lot.


I'm 24, single and commuting from the midlands to Dublin's west side. I've been getting a lift for a couple of years, but my friend is changing jobs and staying locally. I've a budget of €10,000. I don't want to waste time dragging around dealerships, so could you please give me two cars I should look at? Thank you.

Gillian: Just two? That's going to be a challenge as there are so many shapes, sizes, makes, models and engine types to choose from, and €10k is a decent budget. It's hard not to recommend a Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus. Both fit budget in a 2013 plate for a good-spec diesel model.

If you don't need something this size, two options in the supermini segment that I would recommend are the Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta. The good thing about these is that you can come up to a 2015 plate and hold onto it for a bit longer without it depreciating too much. They aren't as popular in diesel, so I will also throw in the Skoda Fabia 1.4 diesel.

See, I told you picking just two would be hard for me.

Eddie: Gillian's recommendations are excellent, but I'd add the Honda Jazz petrol and the Mazda3 petrol.

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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