Monday 23 April 2018

Car or motorbike? Second farm car? Change or wait? Which SUV for me?

Many readers require cars which are flexible
Many readers require cars which are flexible

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 bestseller 'Clever Car Buying'.

I have the new shape Citroen C5 with 160,000km (2.0 diesel, 2008). I really like this car. But I'd like to upgrade after getting a new job. My old job needed a lot of travel around Dublin. Now I drive less and fly more. I have to commute to town on the train as there is no car spot in work. Should I get a motorbike? We have three children and another on the way. We also have and love the C4 Grand Picasso (on PCP, ending June). We wouldn't mind upgrading it. I quite fancy an A4 as we could all squeeze in but it seems like an extravagance. I shouldn't need a bigger car to get to work if we arrange things but it's surprising how often I end up bringing two with me somewhere when the other car is in use. These are not straightforward decisions and I need help. I have a of €30k budget for the C5 and will keep the family car on a PCP. Seems like a waste of money to have a car when I can't use it daily but I really like having it and we need two cars realistically.

Aidan: I assume the motorbike was suggested in jest. Remove it from your thinking. You obviously need a second car but you should hold fire on all decisions until the picture with your car space in work becomes clearer. Replacing the C5 won't be a waste of money but your €30,000 budget is equal parts generous and dangerous if you make the wrong decision. If you receive an allocation for parking in work, then the market is wide open. However, considering the potential extent of your car's usage (or idleness), you can trim your budget without sacrificing much.

You need to determine your new annual mileage and the nature of your driving. I am coming around to the idea of hybrids for many urban commuters and one might be ideal for you. However, if you want something more traditional, look at the Skoda Octavia: loads of room, choice of petrol or diesel, manual or automatic, and various specification options. It would make an ideal companion to a seven-seater. And a good one- or two-year-old will leave plenty of change out of your budget too.

Eddie: You have a people carrier; you need something that will take you to work and act as a support for 'people carrying'. That is the story regardless of whether or not you have a car space at work. You can rent a space. Or you can get the train. Either way you say you will still need a second car. What you don't need is a car as big as the Citroen C5. Buy a Toyota Auris hybrid. Plenty of room for you and three kids. Easy to park, frugal to run. And you'll be under budget. That way you can commute when/if you get the car space and have something that won't lose value nearly as quickly as a C5.

I am a female farmer with a 03 commercial Pajero 2.5 and a 12-reg Toyota Corolla. Elderly parents with new hips, knees and a back problem mean access in the Corolla is getting to be a problem. I am wondering if I traded in the Corolla and bought a Hyundai Tuscon 1.7 or Toyota Rav 2.0. I picked both of these as they have an 'old style' handbrake. Would I have enough power to pull a trailer with few sheep/cattle if the need arose? My budget is €15,000 to €18,000. What would I get with that plus trade-in?

Aidan: When it comes to towing, four-wheel-drive variants of both models you mentioned are much better propositions. Your budget will not stretch to new models. So, you need to find a Hyundai ix35 with the 2.0 litre engine. Most were sold in Executive trim. You could find a 151-plate is affordable, depending on what a dealer allows for your Corolla.

Toyota dealers could be more competitive with pricing on the Corolla and they are more likely to have the RAV4 with the 2.0 litre engine in all-wheel-drive.

However, most people bought the two-wheel drive version of the RAV4 so you will have to shop around. I think you should broaden your search to include the Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander and Honda CR-V. The Forester is capable at towing and driving on tricky terrain. It's tall but not that high either.

The Outlander benefits from Mitsubishi's track record for reliability and four-wheel-drive systems, which you should know from your Pajero. Before the CR-V was fitted with a 1.6 litre diesel engine it came with a smooth 2.2 litre diesel and four-wheel-drive was standard. Start with the RAV4 and explore the other options if a good one is not forthcoming.

Eddie: My main concern here is you say you want something to tow a few sheep or cattle. The latter can amount to a significant towing weight.

There are new regulations on towing, especially about what your driving licence entitles you to do. A lot of people are not aware of them. Please check the RSA website for a detailed outline (Road Safety Advice & Driver Licencing Rules for Drawing Light Trailers).

Other than that I would strongly suggest you go for 4x4 versions of the two cars you like because of the old-style handbrakes. The one addition I'd make is the SKODA Yeti 4x4. It is well worth a look. But above all check your licence.

I don't know what to do. I bought my first car in 2007 - a 2005 Toyota Corolla 3dr hatchback. It hasn't given me a day's trouble and passes NCT every year first time. It has 213,000km on it; annual mileage around 15,000km. I feel, given its age, I should get an upgrade (with insurance rising with age). I have been thinking about an Auris, seeing how happy I have been with the Corolla. In the near future I will need a 5dr for starting a family. Should I buy brand new or secondhand (2-3 year old) or wait until the car starts giving me trouble? I would buy brand new if it makes more sense in long run.

Aidan: It could be argued that if the car isn't giving you trouble, then it does not warrant being replaced. But if you can afford it and plan on hanging on to your next car for as long again, then buy new and get the benefit of choosing the spec and colour of your preference.

You will also benefit from the full length of the warranty term, which is not always tested in a Toyota, but serves as peace of mind in mitigating the risk of paying for repairs when your finances are being consumed by a newborn. I highly recommend the 1.2 litre petrol version in Luna trim. Lovely car with nice kit and a fuel efficient engine; especially considering your annual mileage.

If you opt for a used car, then the Auris is still a sound choice. Opt for a Luna model as the entry level Terra trim is a bit spartan. The 1.33 petrol engine should suit you. You could also consider a used Auris Hybrid if you commute in town traffic.

Eddie: I'd buy new, not secondhand, in January/February if a new family is on the way next year. You will have a fresh and a safer car - the latter being of even greater importance with family on board. You seem to be set on the Auris so I won't go against you. It's a fine car and underrated. Best of luck on both fronts.

I have an 07 1.6 Opel Vectra petrol with 174,224km from new. I intend to change in the new year and I'm looking for a car with room as I have leg problems and am 65 years old. My budget is €16,000 plus what I can make on my trade in. I would like a Hyundai ix35 or Kia Sportage diesel. Please advise on the possible options.

Aidan: Unless you opt for a scrappage deal on a new car, your Vectra is unlikely to contribute a great deal more to your budget,I'm afraid. Still, you can get into an ix35. Look for a 2012 Comfort model. Supply has been much better since the Tucson was launched this year.

I have a soft spot for the old-model Sportage and a 2012 LX version should be attainable. Don't look past the Nissan Qashqai. You could find that a clean, low mileage, 2013 XE model is within reach and would suit you perfectly. If these options are too tall to comfortably get in and out of, then look at the Renault Captur or Peugeot 2008.

Eddie: I think you have a fair idea of what you want. And the ones Aidan has mentioned are fine options. My instinct is it will come down to the Sportage or ix35.

My advice would be to make those the two in the frame. After that it is a matter of which garage/outlet will give you the better deal.

You will be able to play one off against the other much better if you get rid of the Vectra privately. It's not worth much.


We love getting your enquiries but can't reply to all queries in as full a manner as this due to time and space 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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