Good deal coupé? Car for golf clubs? Should I try PCP?
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'.
What is your opinion of a 2014 Mercedes 220 Avantgarde coupé diesel? I am looking at one for €32k. Are they a good motor in those years? Auto v manual. Their values seem to oscillate a bit over a span of €10k? I would value your opinion, as I am being offered as low as €9k for my 2011 Skoda Elegance with 147k on the clock at a Skoda dealer. You had previously recommended a Volvo V40, but there is nothing out there that attracts me, particularly on the power front.
Aidan: I presume you mean the E220 Coupe and not the C220 and that you also drive a Superb Elegance and not an Octavia.
You say you are being offered "as low as €9,000". I know it might not seem reasonable to you, but I can't fault the trade-in allowance figure.
By the time the dealer prepares the car by servicing it (and they must do this irrespective of how well it has been maintained), puts warranty on it, sells it, pays their staff, and takes VAT off the profit, they aren't left with an enormous sum that suggests you are hard done by. I think they are at the races with that value.
The E220 at around €32,000 is okay for an automatic Avantgarde in top shape and with a relatively low odometer. It will have to be a nice one though.
The E-Class coupé is a lovely machine. I prefer an automatic to a manual in premium cars and, generally, so does the market.
In my experience, Mercedes auto boxes cope better when driven progressively rather than rallied.
If you like the car, then go for it. If anything, try and beat a few more euros off the price of the E-Class, considering you are buying a Merc from a Skoda dealer.
You are simultaneously trading in something of interest to them, which is a lesser risk and clearing a foreign brand, heavy metal product from their yard.
See if they can dig a little deeper.
Eddie: I wouldn't be a major admirer of the previous E-Class coupé. I am, most definitely, of the current one.
Would you consider an Audi A5? Nice car. Are you hooked on a coupé? You'd get good value in a BMW 5-series now if you shop around. Really good diesels and loads of room.
I want your advice on getting a good second-hand car for not more than €10,000. The most important thing would be to fit in the golf clubs and golf trolley. What about the Auris or a Hyundai or what else would you suggest? It's urgent as I will need to get one quickly.
Aidan: I am a golfer, so I notice things such as boot space for clubs and electric trolleys.
Large family hatchbacks can be hit and miss with golf clubs. Most will accommodate them, but you might have to remove the woods.
As for the trolley, I don't know if you have a foldable, push trolley or something like a Powakaddy or Motocaddy. If it's the latter, then you might consider removing the wheels and putting them in a separate carry bag. It means you keep the grass out of your boot more easily, too.
If you fold one side of the rear seats, you should be able to shove the clubs in lengthways (keeping the woods in situ) and then have space for the trolley behind the seats which have been left upright.
I think you should start with the Auris and bring your clubs to the dealership and try it out for size.
If it is an uncomfortable fit, then look at the Honda Civic. Good boot size and the rear seats have a nifty trick of folding upwards so you could conceivably lie the clubs flat across the back and have the whole boot for the trolley alone.
I would suggest an estate for you, like the Kia cee'd SW, but I get the impression you need a petrol car and there won't be a huge selection of petrol estates from which to choose. A good few people in my golf club drive the Auris and they seem to manage just fine. Start there.
Eddie: As far as I can gauge, you have driven and would prefer to drive a hatchback - something tidy but roomy and easily accessible.
Along with an Auris or Civic, I'd suggest a Ford Focus. It has good room and there should be a decent few petrols around.
Finally, if you can find a fresh, previous generation Nissan Note (when it was a small people carrier), you would do well to consider it.
I can't afford to buy a new car outright, but I reckon my 10-year-old Honda Civic is due a change. I need a people carrier for our three children (5, 8, 10). What would you recommend? Should I try PCP? I could afford €350 a month. If not, I have a budget of €10,000. I would appreciate your advice.
Aidan: If you are comfortable paying €350 a month, then I favour this option over buying something for €10,000.
There is inherently some risk with used cars, and if you can comfortably afford to pay for that risk to go away (don't stretch yourself too much), then that is the preferred route.
I don't know about PCP for you because you don't provide your annual mileage, but it is certainly worth considering, so sit down and crunch the numbers and familiarise yourself with the process.
If you are happy to recycle your car every three years, then this could be a perfect option for you. Also, look at a regular hire purchase loan.
And so to the car: Here's one from leftfield but which makes sense for you. Get a five-year hire purchase loan on a Peugeot Partner Tepee. It's a great value family MPV (around €22,500 for the volume seller), with sliding rear doors, loads of equipment, and a frugal engine.
Peugeot offers a five-year warranty with their new cars (other readers beware that UK imports only have three years, therefore the theory that UK cars are always better than Irish ones doesn't hold true here).
By going this route, you reduce your monthly costs by spreading the payments over a longer term, and you drive car for five years under full manufacturer protection.
At the end of the term, you are free to do with the car as you wish.
Also look at the VW Touran. Smashing family machine with excellent build quality and a choice of petrol and diesel engines. Go for petrol if you aren't doing high mileage. It should be a real contender for you.
If the Ford C-Max and Grand C-Max are too small, then try the S-Max for size.
The Kia Carens is also worth looking at because it's reasonably priced at €28,790 for the EX model.
Eddie: Brilliant idea, Aidan, on the Peugeot. Well worth a try. My view would be to see how you'd do on PCP with a Citroen C4 Picasso. Families love them. You might need to go to the Grand Picasso seven-seater given your growing family.
Don't forget that €10,000 you have, or can raise part of, would make a sizeable deposit and help reduce your repayments on PCP.
JUST TO SAY
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).