Tuesday 19 March 2019

Free driving? Small but tall? Two-car trick? PCP again? Plan for 2019?


Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

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'

I've an 05 Corolla hatchback (100,000km) but would like to upgrade. We have electric charge points at work and colleagues are driving Nissan Leafs with zero running costs. This would be a second car; my husband has the main family car. I would prefer the e-Golf or A3 E-tron (hybrid) if budget allowed. A VW dealer told me they wouldn't be shipping eGolfs till 2019.  Would be for hybrid or electric and would you wait for the eGolf?

Aidan: Have you seen the new Nissan Leaf? I think it's a massive improvement on the old model. The battery's range has been extended and the interior trim is more tastefully arranged. Specification levels are generous, too. It is styled with more traditional hatchback traits. Even better if you can get one as a company car as, for the moment at least, there is no Benefit-in-Kind (BIK). The A3 e-tron is a refined machine (as is the Golf GTE for that matter) but you don't seem to be in a hurry to change. Leaf or eGolf. It depends on whether you want to buy now or wait but you owe it to yourself to drive the new Leaf.

Eddie: I voted for the Leaf as the World Green Car of the year and I was delighted to see it win. The extended range makes a difference so with your limited usage and charging options, it seems like the best bet now. Look, in motoring everything changes regularly. In two year's time there will be a lot of electric vehicles. But why wait?

I am a recently retired female and drive a Kia Sportage 2008. I now want to downsize to a petrol car as I will not be driving as much. Budget about €15,000. My problem is that I am used to the height of the Sportage. Other cars seem so low on the ground in comparison to it. Are there any cars in that bracket that are higher than average that would suit me?

Aidan: Petrol SUVs are rare but you should find a 1.2-litre Nissan Qashqai in SV trim for close to this budget. If you want something even smaller (in size) then look at the Nissan Juke or the Peugeot 2008. Both have petrol variants, tall seating positions and might just be closer to what you need.

Eddie: The Qashqai is an obvious choice and the 2008 is getting a lot of positive attention. Underrated car. Nice bit of room too and well priced.

Myself and my wife need to upgrade to two cars that are both economical, family-friendly and suitable for a daily round trip of 90km on primary roads with some motorway. We both drive 13-year-old Toyota Avensis (hatchback and saloon). We do some urban driving at weekends and a 200km round trip for one car every month or so. We have a budget of around €15k (combined) for both and the annual mileage would be around 25,000kms on both. I have seating requirements for 3 children, aged 2 and 4 years, with a baby on the way, so the cars would have to accommodate child seats. I've no preference on the type so all considered. My opinion would be to spend the majority of our budget on one car that has plenty of space and most of our requirements, and the minimum on the second which just has to accommodate three child seats and which is safe and reliable.

Aidan and Eddie: The best advice we can offer right now (but please come back to us) is to refocus your attention. Both cars seem to have demands of equal importance placed on them; room for three child seats, annual mileage of 25,000km, priorities of safety and reliability. You are not apportioning your budget commensurate to those needs.

You want to spend most on a car that will do a little more than the other one. Ideally, the split should be close to 50:50 or maybe 60:40. The trouble with that is that you will struggle to find something of optimal quality. We suspect you've realised that already. You need a safe, big family car. That's the priority. You might need to rethink the dynamic of who travels with whom and spend the full budget on something like a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, Peugeot 5008 or Opel Zafira Tourer and see if you can keep running the Avensis for another while.

The risk you take by changing both cars on your budget is you end up with half a decent car each between the two of you. We're afraid it is back to the drawing board. More finance seems off the agenda but perhaps you need to broaden the scope in that regard, too. Please don't over-borrow, though. Stay in touch. We would not be fair to you if we didn't point out the pitfalls.

I'm driving a 2016 Hyundai Tucson (1.8 diesel) which I got on a PCP deal in 2016. My mileage in the 1st year was 10,000kms but I'd bought the diesel with one eye firmly on a longer commute. That has come to pass and I'm now driving approx 100km a day so firmly in diesel territory. I reckon I'll be there or thereabouts on the mileage restrictions when the deal expires early next year. I love the Tucson and am getting great fuel economy (regularly 1,000kms to a tank) so intend staying diesel for now. I'm torn between financing the final payment and keeping the car and possibly trading against a new vehicle or going down the PCP route again? I like the flexibility of changing the car every few years that PCP gives and with my previous low mileage rates it was a no brainer but with annual mileage of around 25k is PCP a good idea?

Aidan and Eddie: You don't have to buy the car outright in to change brand. Just make sure you time the trade-in correctly so that you don't run beyond the term of the loan when the final payment kicks in. Every main dealer selling finance should be able to explain this in more detail for you. If you want to own a car outright, PCP allows you to kick that idea to touch but Hire Purchase is potentially a more suitable option (finance rates depending).

Your new mileage exceeds many stock PCP arrangements. You could check if a deal can be tailored for your mileage but your repayments will likely increase. Blank sheet of paper and a calculator: Put all of the numbers on the page and go from there. Price the attractiveness of changing into a new Tucson on Hire Purchase next time around.

I know I am being a bit premature but I want to plan my change now for 2019. Current car: 161 Audi A6 2-litre TDI (150 bhp). Current mileage 26,000km. Car had three-year service and warranty package. Annual mileage: 14,000km. Want at least 4 seats.

Budget €20,000 plus the car to trade in. (No loan or HP on current car). I will be 60 later this year. I am also interested in hybrids and electric. I am also thinking will my next car be one I keep for ten years or more. I am also worried that diesels will become obsolete or unwanted in a short time. Lastly, I would not mind an SUV type car either.

Aidan: I don't think you need to worry about diesels falling off the planet just yet. Values have fallen but they have stabilised so far this year and much better than many people think. Still, I think you will love the Lexus NX300h. It's a hybrid, an SUV and from a premium brand. It ticks all of your boxes. Crude, back on an envelope value forecasting to January 2019 suggests it's you won't be able to afford a brand new one with your budget and likely trade-in allowance but if you intend keeping the car for around 10 years then spend a few more quid to get the right car. There is a new Lexus UX on the horizon, too. It should be here for next year. It's a slightly smaller SUV and the NX. Could be just right for you.

Eddie: I'd reserve judgment until October when we will all have a much better idea of what is coming in terms of what you are looking for. I'm not putting you off. I'm aware of stuff coming but the problem is it could get shunted back a few months and then where are you?

One thing I can promise is that there will be a bigger selection of hybrid SUVs of A6 dimensions. With 14,000km mileage you are definitely into hybrid territory. If you really push me I'd go for the KIA Niro plug-in. I think it's good value and well specced. But I'd wait for a clearer overall picture to emerge. I'll be doing an A-Z of what's coming in a special supplement in June so maybe watch out for that?

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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