Sunday 22 September 2019

Family-of-five car; Rapid switch; Diesel commute; Two options; Small SUV


Honda Civic
Honda Civic

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 a family of five in rural Donegal. We have a 2009 Ford Galaxy diesel and a 2009 Ford Focus diesel, which we only use from time to time. We want to do the right thing, and we'd like to go with a more eco-friendly option by trading in both diesels for an electric or a hybrid.

The thing is, we drive on rural roads, so we're wondering if going green is even an option for us, in that we are never stuck in traffic. I'd say we'd do 10-12,000km a year on one car, with the second car doing very, very little. We're definitely offloading that in the new year whatever happens.

Gillian: A rural Donegal family of five is not exactly screaming electric to me, but hybrid, yes. An electric can do the job, but there just isn't a lot of choice.

There is a middle ground option with a PHEV (plug-in hybrid), which this might suit. Kia has the Niro SUV plug-in and Toyota has the Prius PHEV, both under €40k. I'm just concerned they might feel tight on space coming out of a Galaxy.

If you are looking for a seven-seater, PHEV isn't an option, so you're left with hybrid. The best is the Toyota Prius+. They have been out since 2013, so you will be able to pick up a used model instead of having to go new (from €35,950).

Eddie: Electric is out and space undermines your hybrid hopes, so I'd go for a petrol seven-seater on your mileage.

I'd get a seven-seat Peugeot 5008 new (SUV) or used (people carrier). I'd also look at a petrol Skoda Kodiaq (SUV) new or used. Sell your Focus privately and trade your Galaxy against a seven-seater. You won't have as much space, but you don't need diesel for your mileage.

I own a Skoda Rapid 1.6 diesel (100,000km). It's starting to give trouble - the water pump needs changed, the VW garage says the dash lamps need changed (€930), it needs tyres and wipers and the mileage is high due to social driving with my son.

I am looking at changing to a new four-seater in January with a price of no more than €25k before trade-in, for which I have been quoted around €8k.

Among the cars I have looked at are the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and KIA models. I am getting different advice on whether to go for diesel or petrol.

As I am almost 70, I would hope to keep this car for years. I expect the amount of mileage to be similar to what I have been doing up to now, a lot of which involves short journeys.

Gillian: A new Yaris ranges from €15,950 to €23,700, and a Fiesta from €15,367 to €20,715. There is no need to go to €25,000.

I don't know the year of your car to work out your average annual kms, so I will give you options for petrol, diesel and hybrid.

The Yaris comes in petrol and hybrid, while the Fiesta is petrol or diesel. Both have excellent reputations on running costs, reliability and resale value. In fact, the supermini segment is one of the best for choice and residual values. If you don't need a diesel, your choice of hybrid is small. Some other petrol options include Honda Jazz, Kia Rio and Nissan Micra.

Eddie: You have €30k of a budget including your trade-in and your driving profile is short, frequent journeys, so I'd advise waiting until the new year and buying a new hybrid Toyota Corolla hatchback. It will last for years and is ideal for you.

If you don't want to go that much, take a look at the Skoda Fabia petrol.

It is time to change my car. We have a budget of about €25k and my mileage is about 35,000km a year.

My present car is a 2012 Toyota Avensis estate diesel with (240,000km), which my husband is going to use for school runs and short trips. He currently drives an 03 Toyota Avensis that has served us well.

After driving such a large and long car for the past while, I am looking forward to driving something small in size but with power. Due to the high mileage, it would have to be a diesel.

We have two pre-teens but will use this car mostly for my commute. Any advice?

Gillian: There is a lot of choice for this budget if you look for a nearly-new motor in the new year. A 2017 would work well in a Audi A3 2.0 diesel, BMW 118d and Volvo V40 2.0 diesel. All have an impressive 150bhp and will be a pretty nice step up out of your Avensis. The pre-teens might just be a little impressed too.

If you were hoping for a shiny new 191 car outside the house, fear not. While not as zippy as the others, pretty much all other family hatchbacks fall in around 115bhp. Take a test drive in the new Honda Civic 1.6-litre diesel for a start. The base Smart model starts at €25,550, and it's a good one.

Ford has recently cut its prices, so a high-spec ST-Line Focus is now in budget for you and worth a look for sure.

Eddie: I'd buy a Civic 1.6 diesel (hatch or saloon - I prefer the latter). The 120bhp feels peppier than it sounds and there is plenty of room.

There is a 6spd manual and a 9spd auto which might suit you. It's got a touch of class and you don't need to go mad on power. This has plenty.

My husband suggested I contact you. I drive a Skoda Octavia 1.9 diesel 2007. My annual mileage is around 24,000km. I live 14km from my workplace. I'm 59 years of age. I'm happy with my car but don't know how much longer it will last.

Option 1: Would a hybrid or electric car be the best option? My husband is retired and I envisage retiring in a few years and would ideally not want to have to spend a lot on fuel at that stage.

Option 2: Should I just go for another Skoda? Or whatever you could recommend. Maybe with a budget for a second-hand diesel of €15,000 and obviously a lot more for the other option.

Gillian: Option 1: Yes, a hybrid would suit you but maybe not the electric while you are still covering 24,000km a year.

After retirement, an electric will hugely cut your running costs, but by waiting until then, you are allowing more to enter the market. Hybrids are getting more plentiful, both new and used, so if you did go this route, I would recommend a Lexus CT200h or Toyota Auris hybrid.

Spending under €15,000 will let you come up a good few years on reg plate. A 2013 in the Lexus will fit your budget, and perhaps in the new year a 141 might be an option too. With the Auris, you could come up another year again, going for a Luxury spec in a 2014 or 2015.

Option 2: "Just going for another Skoda" doesn't sound like you are excited by this.

The new-model Octavia launched in January 2017 is not 'just' a Skoda. You have the option to go for a 2017 or 2018 plate, so there's no need to buy new, and this might be a good interim option before deciding what to go for at retirement.

A 171 will set you back around €21-€22k for the Ambition, but maybe start your switch to driving hybrid/electric and opt for the DSG (Auto) model for around another €1,000.

Eddie: Buy another Skoda. You can decide in a few years on your next step as you enter retirement.

I drive a 2015 Skoda Octavia diesel. I do 30,000km/year on country roads mainly. I am thinking of buying a small/mid-size diesel SUV for comfort (higher seating). I am looking for a reliable, economical model. Budget with trade-in is €30,000.

Gillian: How about going for the Skoda Karoq? It comes with a 1.6-litre diesel (115bhp) and the Ambition model would fit in budget at €29,100 for a new model. It has a high seat position and road tax is low. Maybe also look at the SEAT Ateca. The SE model is priced similar to the Karoq at €29,355 and has all the same comfort, reliability and low running costs.

I'm also going to mention the smaller SEAT Arona. The SE model starts at just €22,755 and while the ride height won't be as high as the others I mentioned, it will be higher than your Octavia. As a small SUV, it might work for you and save you a lot of money. The top-spec Xcellence model is €25,575 - well within budget.

Eddie: The first thing that came to mind was a Volkswagen T-Roc, but it may be too small for what you want. Take a look at it, though. It's a smart car.

Going a bit bigger, I'd be steering you towards the Peugeot 3008SUV with an excellent diesel engine.

There's lots of choice, but for you I think they are your best bets.

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