Saturday 17 March 2018

Helpdesk: I'm looking to upgrade my car and I've no clue where to start


Skoda's new Rapid hatch
Skoda's new Rapid hatch

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 the former best-seller 'Clever Car Buying'

I'm looking to upgrade and I've no clue where to start. I was thinking of a used car for between €8k and €15k. I probably drive 30,000km or 40,000km yearly, so I presume I'd be better with a diesel? I'd like a hatchback with five seats but not too fussy. Would I get more value looking for an import or locally? I've a 2005 Ford Fiesta with 300,000km-plus for trade-in that qualifies for the Volkswagen EcoGrant. Would I be better off buying a new car from the Volkswagen's group? Would I get a good deal on a demo car?

Aidan: Your trade-in for EcoGrant has to be a diesel, so that's ruled out. You would benefit from upgrading from the supermini to something bigger, such as a Golf. Your mileage warrants being in something with a bit of bulk. There's loads of choice and values have been moderated by changes in the market, so you should get a good bargain by shopping around locally; €15,000 has become a sweet spot of a budget. Dealers are making it their business to have as much available to meet this price demand. Look for a low mileage 2014-plate Golf 1.6 diesel. The Skoda Rapid would be a good purchase too. You could find a 2015-plate 1.6-litre diesel Ambition is attainable. That's a lot of car for your money. Lastly, look at the Dacia Duster. Opt for a 2016 Signature model. Cheap to fuel and tax and basically running on a long-established Renault engine that gives relatively little trouble once maintained properly.

Eddie: Forget the EcoGrant. That's a lot of mileage on your Fiesta. You need something bigger, so buy on the basis of low mileage, not registration plate. Buy a diesel Toyota Auris (1.4), a Skoda Octavia, a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus (all 1.6-litres). You won't get much for your own, which is why the Focus might be your best bet given it's a Ford too.

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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