Friday 6 December 2019

Diesel, hybrid, petrol or electric? The pros and cons of what power source is best for your new car

Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai 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.

Q We drive a 5-year-old A4 S Line diesel. Great car. Can't fault it. Our neighbours recently purchased an Audi Q7 for the school run. Needless to say we weren't amused. It's time for a change. Looking for some type of similar SUV. Something to wipe their smirk off. We do modest mileage, maybe 20,000 a year urban driving. Just have two children. No need for a hitch. Budget €50,000. Can you help?

Gillian: If the Q7 is a brand new 191/192 model, it's going to be pretty tough to match it. They start at almost €90k so you won't find something 'similar' for €50,000. I'm sure you're aware such a large vehicle is not necessary for a family of four. I suggest you keep the green-eyed monster in check. Keep your smirk for when they hear how much these large machines depreciate (€7k-€8k a year).

The new Mercedes GLC would be my riposte. A 2020 model will use up the full budget for a 200d Exclusive.

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You could also opt for a Land Rover. Your budget would allow for a new Discovery Sport or Range Rover Evoque. Both fall into the posh school-run transport category.

Eddie: The Q7 is a huge car. You do NOT need one. Cool your heels there please. You need a mid-size SUV along the lines Gillian outlines. But I feel you want more than that. So, God help me, I think one way you can trump their Q7 is to buy a 2/3-year-old 'green and environmentally responsible' (my words) Lexus RX hybrid. Yes a large, hybrid SUV to show you are in a different league.

That would be my advice seeing, also, as you only do 20,000km a year.

Q I'm 67 and play golf. My PCO is up next February. I drive a Skoda Octavia 1.6TDi and would like your help in what I should do next. My annual mileage is 22,000km and my budget is €25,000/€30,000. I must have a big boot for my golf equipment and was wondering if you could offer any other option than another Octavia?

Gillian: If I didn't know your current model and you were looking for a hatch with a big boot, I'd 100pc have included the Octavia in my top three. But you sound like you want a change so let's look at the other two choices, considering you have a PCP.

The Skoda Karoq would be a sensible buy as it is likely to hold a high resale value. Go for another 1.6 dsl; the Ambition is currently priced at €29,950. A similar machine is the VW T-Roc. If you don't like the idea of an SUV and want to go for another hatch, the Skoda Scala has a boot that dwarfs most in its class and is priced at the lower end of your budget.

Eddie: I suggest you agree a one-year PCP deal for a new current Octavia in February with a commitment to switch to the brand new Octavia in February 2021 (it gets here next July). There is nothing unusual in this. I think the Octavia is the car for you. This way you get a decent car for a year and an excellent car thereafter.

Q I have a 2008 Opel Corsa automatic with really low mileage - 80,000km. I don't drive much as I commute 12km-15km each way a day. I am looking to move up to at least a 2012 reg. I can put in €15,000 and I will trade or sell my car. I want an automatic and I don't like being down low in a car. Should I go for a newer car or what would you recommend?

Gillian: I don't see the need for a brand new model as this would mean getting a loan or some sort of finance to go along with the €15,000 you have. There are a few options that should suit your need/want for height, automatic and under seven years old.

I'm veering back to Opel for the Mokka crossover. This was available as a 1.4 auto; for €15k you'll be able to get into a 2016 SE/SRi. However, its replacement, the Mokka X, is far nicer and so a 171-reg would be good. You will need a bit more cash but your Corsa should sell well with such low mileage: there will always be a buyer for a small automatic hatchback.

A Peugeot 2008 might be worth a look too. For €15k, you will pick up a nearly new 1.2 Active/Allure in auto and the ride height should suit.

Eddie: I'd look at two more in addition to Gillian's. I'd think about the automatic Nissan Micra - you should get a really fresh one within your budget. And an automatic Honda Jazz - you'll have to go back a little further than the Micra.

Q My car is a 132 BMW 520d 140,000km. Annual mileage 30,000km. I live in the mid west and commute to Dublin typically once-twice a week so plenty of motorway miles plus city driving during weekdays. Weekends usually have one-three kids in car. We also have a seven-seater so no demand for anything particularly large. I don't particularly need such a long-sized saloon but fine with it if necessary. With early morning, late night, winter and long driving I am unsure if rear-wheel drive cars are the safest for me? Would like a higher spec model, sort of like the rear wiper but not essential. Would be conscious of MPG given the weekly miles; unsure any hybrid model suits my mileage. Would spend €10-€20k to upgrade but conscious of depreciation costs with my mileage. Was thinking about 4-Series xDrive but open to others.

Gillian: A 4-series xDrive sounds good to me. Around 30,000km/yr is within the normal range for it. As good as spec is on your want list, look for an M Sport and a 4dr over a 2dr for when you have more than one child in the car.

Audi makes a similar case for safety and residual values. Not sure I'd go for an A6 because of the length. Better, I think, is the sweet-looking A5. The newer model that launched in 2017 is stunning. Look for a 2.0 Dsl, SE/S Line 190 quattro automatic.

Eddie: I'd steer you towards a BMW 3-series 2-litre diesel if you can go without, or find, one with xDrive. You don't really need an SUV. Seems to me you need a smaller saloon. And they don't come much better than the 3-series.

Q My present car is a Hyundai Santa Fé 2006 with 300k mileage (could possibly use as trade-in with cash). I am looking for a seven-seater. My budget is €15,000-€20,000. My annual mileage is 5,000-10,000km. What should I do?

Gillian: Honestly, another Santa Fé would probably be the best move. I know it might sound boring, especially if you have owned your current one for a good few years.

But they are a tough seven-seater to beat. Your 06 is old, lacks mod cons but it's reliable and has tonnes of room.

For your budget, you will be moving into a whole new machine. There was a radical change in late 2012 and a 131/132 2WD is in your price range. If you need a 4WD, you will need a tad more but the spec was also higher on these so it's worth the extra euro.

Staying away from the MPV options for now, a Nissan X-Trail is value for money at the minute. I would go for the 2WD. It isn't as large as the Santa Fe. A Kia Sorento might be a better alternative. There are plenty of MPV options if you don't mind the body shape. Ford Galaxy, SEAT Alhambra and VW Touran would be my top picks for you, in no particular order.

Eddie: Wonders will never cease, I agree with Gillian on the Santa Fé. But I have a sneaking regard for the KIA Sorento as well.

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