Friday 20 April 2018

Growing family needs boot room? From 7 to 5-seater? New and bigger?

Many families want a flexible car, such as the Volkswagen Touran
Many families want a flexible car, such as the Volkswagen Touran

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 drive a 161-reg Ford Fiesta petrol 1.2 and do about 15,000km a year. The main reason for changing is the size of the boot; it's a fine car to drive. I have one child and one on the way and have a tight enough budget (approx €3k) but don't mind going back a year.

Aidan: I am glad you're happy to drop back a year from your 2016 Fiesta because to up-size you will need to make a concession somewhere. I also reckon you will need all of your €3,000 budget and likely a shake with it; 2015 plates will be the best you can do. Go back to your Ford dealer and explain your situation. Do it now and not wait for January.

Prime the dealer to remain vigilant for a 1.0 litre petrol Focus being traded in. He/she might already know of one due to arrive in the New Year. Don't worry about downsizing from your four cylinder 1.2 litre Fiesta into a three cylinder 1.0 litre because that particular engine is Ford's multi award winning Ecoboost. Besides, small, high output petrol engines are all the rage now. Style models are kitted fairly well but push hard for a Zetec model.

Focus values have softened towards the end of this year and so you have that going in your favour. A petrol Focus makes for a sensible purchase and potentially one with the least resistance when trading in such a fresh used-car against it.

The Toyota Auris definitely shouldn't escape your considerations, either. It will be a squeeze to get into a 152-plate 1.2 petrol model (the car was only launched in June of that year), but a nice 1.33 petrol is fine too. We regularly recommend the Auris. Get the Luna model. Loads of Toyota drivers stuck with petrol over the last few years so you should have a decent selection from the extensive Toyota network, which is another reason to look at the Auris.

Have to give the SEAT Leon a nod here because it represents value for money. Try the 1.2 petrol SE. It might be a stretch too far but look at a 152 plate new shape Opel Astra with the 1.0 litre petrol engine. Super engine, brilliant chassis, good space, lovely seating position and it is responsive, too.

Eddie: I think you have little choice here. How you fare depends on your relationship with your Ford dealer. You've got a car that is among the best-selling in the country but at nearly a year old it will have taken a hit on re-sale value. So do as Aidan advises. Talk to your Ford dealer. Explain the situation and say you want to buy a Focus. It won't be new but you may not have to go too far back the years. Buy a petrol. On your mileage that makes sense. I'm being frank here: I feel your best bet is with your dealer. If he/she is worth their salt they will accommodate you and establish a link of loyalty for years to come. If they don't, I would go to dealers as Aidan mentions, but I would definitely look for a KIA cee'd - maybe even the station wagon version (loads of boot space). In your favour is the fact you have a car that will sell any day of the year. Keep that in mind when talking to your dealer. So it's a Focus or KIA cee'd for me.

I have a 2004 , 7-seater Ford Galaxy. I want to change and get a car again with a high seating position, perhaps even a roomy 5-seater with low tax and economical to run. I do about 10,000km to 12,000km a year. Budget is €15,000.

Aidan: Roomy with a high seating position sounds like SUV traits to me. What about something like a Nissan Qashqai+2? It is a five-plus-two-seater, which might be handy if you still need two extras seats. It has a tall seating position and a solid 1.5 litre diesel engine, which you could arguably do without but it will be hard to find a petrol car that meets your criteria.

The Qashqai+2 sold best in SVE trim so you will get loads of goodies like cruise control, Bluetooth, and parking sensors. A 2012 model is within reach but you might need to drop some spec and go for an XE if the car has low mileage. I'd favour a 2012 XE with low mileage over a fairly average 2011 SVE model. Tax is under €300.

Another good option is the Ford Kuga. It's a bit bigger than some other crossovers/SUVs; 2012 plate Kugas are well within reach and will even leave a bit of spare change for tax and insurance.

The Peugeot 3008 is less SUV-styled but your money goes a long way. Look for 131 registered Active models. Loads of car for the money and very spacious. Lastly, the Mitsubishi ASX has a 1.6 petrol version, which is more suited to your driving. Space is good, equipment levels are fine and it will certainly be reliable and cost effective. Same goes for the 1.6 petrol Qashqai.

Eddie: I'm not sure if it is a 5-seater saloon/hatchback or SUV you're after but seeing as Aidan has taken up the latter I'll run through a few of the former. I think there is merit in looking at a petrol Skoda Octavia (decent rear space; middle seat okay), a Toyota Corolla saloon and an Opel Astra saloon. All have petrol variants and that's what you should be looking at with your mileage. They are all good cars with plenty of room: I'm presuming younger family across the back. Good luck with your choice be it a Crossover or a saloon.

I am 26-year-old male and am looking to get a new car early in 2017. My current car is a 2010 Renault Megane Coupe (diesel) with 37,000km on it. I want to trade up now as I should get decent value for it and want something bigger. Annual mileage would be 13,000km predominately on motorways so was looking at diesel again. I was thinking of the new Peugeot 3008 or similar. The only way I can afford to buy a new car like this would be on PCP finance. I have read about PCP and the pros and cons to it, but still not sure about going this route as it effectively ties you into that car brand unless you can pay off the outstanding balance.

Aidan: To move brand, the final balance must be paid or you have to hand the keys back. That much you have correct. It might be possible for a competitor brand to clear it on your behalf and take ownership of your trade-in but your timing, maths, and the deal would need to be spot on as there are loads of variables to that equation (timing the end of loan period, mileage, condition, etc).

Better to stick with the brand or to clear the finance yourself if you really want to move. However, most people who find a brand they like tend to stick with it so there isn't anything untoward from a PCP deal being structured to benefit returning customers. Positioned properly, it can be a good way to regularly change into new cars, availing of the latest fuel efficiency and safety tech, and stay in warranty.

If the only way you can afford a new car is to hope for a strong price on your own car and opt for a keen APR rate on a PCP deal so that your repayments are low, then perhaps you are trying to bite off more than you can chew. It's not a good idea to borrow beyond comfort to buy a car; new or used.

Your car might look fresh but the reality is it's nearly seven years old. The odometer is impressively low so I understand your reluctance to buy a younger, used car with more miles.

However, perhaps opt for a new car another time. Work your way up in years and change more regularly. As for what to buy. I think you would do well in something like a really high spec Golf or even a BMW 1 Series if you want a bit of flash. Try a few brands before settling on the one you really love.

Eddie: I'm a bit worried with this. You're going to have to dig deep to come up with the money to get a new - and larger - car. I like the sound of your Megane Coupe with such low mileage on it but I'm afraid that will, in the overall context of your intended financial transaction, only marginally advance its worth as a trade-in. I don't want you borrowing a lot of money, if you go the PCP route, to acquire the use of a big car and cover so few km a year.

PCPs are brilliant for many but you need to think long and hard about the costs you would take on board. Really hard.

However, if you decide to push ahead then I have to say I'd have no problem with the new Peugeot 3008 SUV you mention. It gets here by early February.


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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