Tuesday 21 November 2017

Car for three little ones? Really need to change. I want a one-year-old X5

A reader is looking for advice on a car to suit a family with three children.
A reader is looking for advice on a car to suit a family with three children.

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'.

Hi lads,

I am looking to purchase a more spacious car to accommodate two adults and two rapidly growing children than the Kia Rio I currently drive. There is the possibility of a third child so please bear that in mind also. I have a budget of €13,000 in cash and the Rio to trade in. The car is mostly for short journeys to work and school and clocks around 120 miles per week. Could you offer some suggestions as to which cars would offer reliability and the best value for my budget? Budget: Max €15,000. Annual mileage: 6,000-7,000 miles. Current car: Kia Rio, 2006, 45,000 miles

Aidan: Your annual mileage and the nature in which you use your car fits the profile of a petrol driver. However, since 2008 three-quarters of all new cars have been diesels. I mention this because once we start exploring options from the MPV segment you will find that you are presented with limited choice from the petrol camp. If you opt for a diesel, be sure to give it a good blast up the motorway every now and then so that it can clear its throat. But before you venture into the MPV world, you might consider a petrol Toyota Corolla. Regular readers of this page will testify that this car comes up quite a lot but it's a real 'goldilocks' car. Not too big, not too small, not too expensive to buy or to keep. It is just right.

Go for the first of the new shape 132 registered Luna models if your budget allows. The 1.33 petrol engine is frugal and reliable. The Corolla has really grown up in recent years so space for the existing family should be ample. Although they will be a bit rarer, a 1.2 TSi Skoda Octavia would do nicely. Look for Ambition models. Great boot and rear passenger room make the Octavia an attractive choice. Sandwiched between medium family hatch/saloon cars, are estates. Take a close look at the Kia cee'd SW for size. You will notice that there is a choice of 1.4 and 1.6 litre diesel engines. Both are reliable. You should get a 2013 model at this budget. Also, a cee'd at this age will have warranty until 2020 (or 150,000kms). It's tough to beat that level of peace of mind. If the possibility of a third child looks likely to become a reality then you can future proof your car needs by buying an MPV while you've still got some cash. Citroen's Grand Picasso is a solid choice. There are loads of them around and they are all very well equipped. The 1.6 diesel engine is good, too. The Peugeot 5008 is worth a close look as well. Same engine as the Citroen and very refined.

Eddie: The bit that worries me for you is getting you something that will take three children across the back seat. The Corolla and Octavia probably come nearest on the saloon front but you've got to think ahead a bit. Children grow up quickly and there is no doubt space will quickly be at a premium. Aidan has covered the models I would have suggested; there is merit in them all but I'm just wondering if the truest thing he says is to look at buying an MPV such as the Citroen Picasso, Volkswagen Touran, Toyota Verso or maybe the little, but versatile Opel Meriva. I believe that to be the right course. You are limited by budget but if you go back the years a little more you should find reasonable choice. Please get someone to give whatever you are interested in a good looking over because these cars can take a fair bit of hacking - that is the nature of their passengers.

Hi, Can you help me? I have a 2003 Citroen C5 with high mileage but I really need to change it. I have €10,000 to €12,000. I want something with a boot - like a saloon. I drive 18,000 miles a year. The car is also driven by a novice driver. What options are available in a Citroen, Volvo, SEAT, Skoda - or anything for that matter?

Aidan: You need to find something with low mileage which has been properly maintained. Buying used cars is all about mitigating risks. Wear and tear components inevitably need replacing and the more mileage a car covers, the more various bits need to be replaced.

A novice driver will probably be a little harder on things like the clutch, gears, and brakes so getting a car with plenty of life left in those parts would be a sensible move. Even if you don't like any of the options that Eddie and I provide, be sure that you follow that initial advice.

Would you consider another C5? Perhaps a low mileage 2011 model if there was one about the place? You mention Volvo and I think the S40 is worth considering. The 1.6 diesel engine is shared by Citroen, Volvo, and Peugeot but the Volvo package is considered to be a little more upmarket.

However, the Peugeot 508 gives class leaders a good run for their money when it comes to refinement. The 508 was launched in 2011 so you might find an Active model just about comes in on budget. Here I go again, but the Corolla 1.4 D4D really does suit your needs pretty well. Okay, maybe the 1.4 diesel engine might not be as punchy on long spins, which you certainly seem to do, but it is a solid engine and perfect for a novice. Look for 2012 models with this budget.

The Avensis has a 2.0 litre diesel engine so that could impact your novice driver's insurance premiums. It's worth making a few phone calls on that front. While I am repeating myself; the Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDi is worth a serious look, too. Big car that will go for miles in comfort.

The Ford Mondeo used to only come with a 1.8 or 2.0 litre diesel engines but in 2011 Ford introduced a 1.6 TDCi. You should be just about able to get a low mileage one of those in Style trim. Personally I like the Mondeo because it has a proven track record of absorbing a lot of miles. Replacement parts are cheap and easy to come by and overall it is a very uncomplicated machine.

Eddie: For reasons I won't go into now some excellent cars can be picked up for reasonable money on the secondhand market. And I think you could do worse than chase down a Mazda6. Excellent car regardless of its vintage and one that can take a fair bit of punishment. And one you would do well with on price and longevity - if (and it's a big-ish 'if') you can find one - is a Mitsubishi Lancer. It's ordinary in every sense but the engineering know-how is there and you could get one for reasonable money. Plenty of room and a big boot. Realistically, the ones Aidan suggests will probably provide your solution but if you put in some legwork, you might find yourself a bargain.

I currently drive a 141 BMW 5-series M Sport, with 32,000km, that I bought new. There is no finance on the car. I normally change every two to three years.

I would like to upgrade to a one-year-old BMW X5. Would the PCP be a good option here. I have cash that I can put towards it but I like the idea of holding on to it and making payments. What would you do?

Aidan: I think you need to speak with your BMW dealer. The reason I say this is because PCP finance is dependent on a number of factors, chief of which is the amount of your initial deposit. For many lenders, PCP products operate based on deposits ranging from 10pc to 30pc.

I make it that your car is worth more than 30pc of the purchase price of many 2015-plate X5s.

Your BMW dealer is best placed to advise how a deal might work in this context.

What I can say is that the X5 has a range of engines and specifications so be sure to find the one that suits you best.

The most popular options are the 25d sDrive (2.0 litre 2WD), 25d xDrive (2.0 litre 4WD) and the 30d xDrive (3.0 litre 4WD). Third row seating is optional and you might not require it but it tends to hold most of its premium on the used market, which equates to circa €2,000.

Eddie: I think you will discover it may be difficult enough to find a one-year-old X5. It will probably be a demo model which is okay because they are well minded but is that what you really want? I'm just a bit puzzled.

You have money but like the idea of repayments. I envy you but unless you're getting fantastic interest rates on your money (if you are you are a genius) would you be better off using it to boost your chances of buying a NEW X5 2WD. Why go the used route with the possibility of losing out on trade-in and purchase when, maybe, you could have a brand new one?


WE love getting your enquiries but can't reply to all of them in as full a manner as we'd like due to time restraints. We try to deal with as many as possible via email. But you can help us help you if you make sure to include the following critical elements in your query:

* Total budget.

* Annual mileage.

* Size of car required (number of seats).

* Present car (make, model, year and mileage).


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