Tuesday 16 July 2019

Car for 3 under 4; my diesel worry; 7-seat hybrid? family 5-seater; Sporty treat


Merc CLS
Merc CLS

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

My wife says our next vehicle purchase is our last so she is letting me spend a bit of money. We currently drive a 2011 1.6TDi Ford Focus hatch as the family car, now with 180,000kms.

It barely fulfils our needs as we have two children under three - and all that goes with them. We are expecting another arrival in June, so we will have three children under four to transport (two in Isofix seats, the other a high backed booster car-seat). My wife would be using the car to and from work (a 15-mile round trip - city traffic).

She covers about 16,000km-17,000km a year. She also takes about eight long Cork journeys a year. So we would like a vehicle that would take her on those trips with the children comfortably, as it's not an easy drive, and have enough space to deal with the extras that go with the children (buggy, toys etc).

We also would like a vehicle that is frugal/environmentally friendly - not adverse to a hybrid. The vehicle will obviously need to be a 7-seater. We are looking at both the MPV/SUV options but are unsure of what would fit our needs. Our budget is around €20-25k (with the trade-in). I would love to get a Skoda Kodiaq but I think that is outside our budget.

Gillian: First off, I know I am here to offer motoring advice but please take some relationship advice and never allow your wife to "let" you buy something.

I presume it will be a family car and understand that you might want to keep it for a long time but with three small children, you will need to change again at some stage in the future, so I can't imagine this to be your last car.

So if we sum it up, you want a fresh 7-seater MPV but preferably SUV with comfort, big boot, not too thirsty for €25k tops. You mentioned the Kodiaq and I fully agree, I love it too. But the bad news is your budget won't get you close. Neither will it get you the Peugeot 5008.

A real option is the Nissan X-Trail. The good news about this one is that it's around since mid-2014 and so you won't need to go to the top end of your money and you will have more choice. Seeing as you want to keep it for a good while, I would recommend going as new as possible.

Eddie: I'll leave the familial advice to Gillian but I would say I think your budget means a good second-hand, not new, 7-seater and I think if you can get your hands on a KIA Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fé you would be doing well - in addition to having at look at Gillian's choice.

Just remember, your family will need so many accoutrements you will wonder where all the space went.

The beauty of the Sorento is its size and the fact that there should be quite a few of the 7-years' warranty remaining.

I drive an old Honda Accord 2.2 litre diesel with big, big mileage.

I drive it around 26,000km a year. My budget would be €20k-22k (trade-in worth nothing). I was considering a Mazda 6, 2.2 diesel 161/162 or Passat 2-litre diesel, similar age. My biggest concern is forking out that money only diesel prices to dramatically increase this year; 30c a litre was mentioned at some point. Or road tax increasing for that matter. What do you think? Can you offer other options?

I was also thinking of buying an older car, pay €10k and see how it all plays out in the next couple years.

Gillian: As your annual driving is 26,000kms you need a diesel. So, no matter what happens to diesel prices or road tax, the car you should be driving is a diesel. The bigger question is do you want to spend €20-22k or €10k or somewhere in between?

The saloon market has been suffering for a while now, mainly down to the popularity of SUVs. You are thinking of a Mazda6 or Volkswagen Passat so obviously you are happy to go with another saloon. This is great news for you as there are plenty of high-quality, well equipped models out there.

The revised Mazda6 has recently been launched, but the previous model ran up to 2018. It was around since 2013 and you will pick one of these up for around €12k.

After that you will be looking to spend around €2/2.5k a year, bringing you up to the top end of your budget but into a 171.

The current Passat launched in late 2014 and a 151 will cost you around €17/18k, up to €20/21k for a 161. Both are good buys. Have you considered an Opel Insignia or Skoda Superb? The Insignia is good value for the money as is the Superb. For €10k I would go Insignia, for €15k I would go Mazda6 and for €22k I would Passat/Superb.

Eddie: I would go Mazda6 or Skoda Superb regardless of price bracket. You need diesel and longevity and both of those do the business. The '6' is vastly underrated; may be a bit pricey new but it has such a good record it is hard to pass it.

We're looking for advice on what's available for a budget of €14,000 in a 7-seater electric or hybrid?

No trade-in and would like to get benefit of the SEAI grant for electric cars.

Gillian and Eddie: Only one option here and that's the Toyota Prius+ hybrid. There are no electric options and please be aware that the SEAI grant is only offered off a new model, not a used and unfortunately, there are no new model 7-seaters available for €14k.

So, back to the Prius+ which is a 7-seater hybrid but also an extremely rare find, especially as an original Irish car but there may be some Japanese imports.

Just be careful if you do go down this route as some insurance companies can be a little tricky when it comes to covering these.

Assuming you do small enough mileage, we would suggest is you look for a Toyota Verso, Volkswagen Touran or Nissan Qashqai +2 all come in petrol engines and will fit budget.

We are looking for a full 5-seater family car as we have 3 children, 12, 11 and 5. We need room for a booster seat. We currently have a 2005 Alhambra, so won't get much for a trade-in. Our budget is €20k. We did look at the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV but thought the middle seat in the back was uncomfortable. So now we are looking at the Nissan Qashqai 1.2 petrol. We do 10,000km-12,000km a year.

Gillian: The Nissan Qashqai is a good choice and one we recommend a lot here. The 1.2 petrol version is popular and for €20k you will surely find a well-minded, clean 171 model around. Do shop around for the SV model as the XE version is a bit basic.

The Hyundai Tucson is another option. As a 1.6 petrol, the one to look for here is the Executive model and you will get into a 2016 comfortably in budget and maybe even into a 171 if you are happy with the Comfort model. After that, it's tough to find a petrol model to suit as most around are diesel but the Qashqai is a great car so I would stick with it.

Eddie: I agree with Gillian but old habits die hard. So, seeing as you have an old SEAT Alhambra, I would scout around for an early version of the Ateca crossover. It is among the best-value of its kind on the market and because it is a SEAT you just might twinkle a deal for one.

I love your column and how ye agree and differ. I'm 40 and single and going to treat myself to a nice sports, or sporty, car next month. My boyfriend is suggesting something powerful but I don't drive too much and want style more than power. I have a budget of €35,000. What would you advise?

Gillian: I hope your boyfriend doesn't mind you classing yourself as single. The car that's top of my list is a Mercedes CLS 220d. It's automatic, its 'sporty meets stylish' and I want one. They come with lots of different levels of spec and I would suggest you spend the money on it, even it meant dropping back to a 2015 plate.

There are some pretty sexy AMG Sport models around and bound to impress. It is a 4dr though, so if you want a 2dr, the Lexus RC300h is also a highly attractive motor. Not as many around as the Merc but again, a 2016 plate should fit budget. The "h" stands for hybrid so it could be an excellent choice for you.

Other options popping into my head are Audi TT, Toyota GT86 and another 4dr, the BMW 6 series. All worth a test drive for sure.

Eddie: I'd go for a BMW 4-series Coupe. It won't be new but there are few cars as good to look at or drive out there.

I think I disagree with Gillian on the Mercedes CLS as it's too big and - Mercedes won't like this - for a more mature buyer.

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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