Helpdesk: What are your seven-seater recommendations?
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 would love some seven-seater recommendations if possible. I'm driving a 2015 Land Rover Discovery five-seater and will need to change to a seven-seat early in new year. The ideal would be seven seats and a relatively good boot with space for pram and some shopping. Could you suggest your top picks worth looking at? My husband is thinking along the lines of ordering a new 3-litre, seven-seat Discovery, but I would like to know if there are better, more spacious options. The children are aged four and one and there's one on the way.
Aidan: You should have plenty of space with the new Discovery. It is enormous. There is a new 2-litre diesel engine with impressive power. If you are a mainly urban user it will save you a few euro over the 3-litre TDV6 and it might not feel that big a readjustment. I don't think you need to look beyond the Discovery for one other reason; your current Disco five-seat utility is one of the hottest SUV products and is especially highly prized by Land Rover dealers. Hopefully it comes with a VAT receipt. You will probably find your dealer will work out something competitive for you by sticking with them. If you want something a bit different, look at the Volvo XC90. If you need 4WD and want something with lots of goodies, go for the D5 Inscription.
Eddie: The stars are aligned on timing to get a Land Rover deal for all the reasons Aidan outlined. Off-road there isn't much to beat the new one (I've driven it in Utah and Ireland) but I think the Volvo XC90 (2-litre diesel) is a better on-road traveller, while the Toyota Land Cruiser (not many seven-seaters) is the best all round. It's one from that trio. I presume you will use it mostly on-road and won't need the 3-litre Discovery for off-road slugging. The 2-litre is fine. Take a close look at the XC90 though.
I am driving a 2-litre diesel 2005 Kia Sportage 4x4. I'm looking to change next year for a second-hand. Town driving, M50 mostly, doing about 1,200km a month. Tax €730. I don't need a 2-litre most of the time. I am in the car on my own. Weekends: two adults and two children. Have about €15k to work with. Was looking at a two-year-old Peugeot 2008 model. Diesel or petrol?
Aidan: Your annual travel is under 15,000km. A lot of that is town driving and traversing the M50, which can be like driving in a town. I think it's petrol for you. The 2008 is a good shout as they sold well with the 1.2-litre petrol engine so you should have choice.
Opt for an Active model at a minimum and favour low mileage. 2016-plate models might be too far a stretch but don't settle for less than a 2015 version. Also, look out for a 1.2-litre petrol Skoda Octavia. They are in demand so be quick if you find a proper one. It would make for a comfortable family car when fully loaded.
Lastly, look at the Ford Focus with the 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine. Most are Zetec or better and it is a frugal, well-built motor. Imported models have a higher power output (125bhp) so be careful with those offered here. Make sure you run a history check before proceeding. Best to stick with a dealer who has done due diligence.
Eddie: Great choices, Aidan, and I can't quibble. But with two growing - emphasis on growing - children, I think you'll all badly miss the Sportage's space and flexibility over time. You don't need diesel or 4x4 but I feel you'd cherish a Crossover. And I think you might sneak a 14-reg Nissan Qashqai 1.2-litre petrol into the top end of your budget. Well worth a try.
I am looking at changing my 2014 Qashqai, which is worth around €18,000. Only do 6,000km/year. I am looking at a hybrid 2017 model. My budget is around €30k. What would you recommend?
Aidan: I do not think your 2014-plate Qashqai is worth €18,000. That could modify your budget. I am not sure you'll see the full benefit of a hybrid over a regular petrol either. Either way, look at the Toyota C-HR. You get the choice of 1.2-litre petrol or 1.8-litre hybrid. Opt for a Luna Sport. There is also a Kia Niro hybrid. Maybe a tad underrated, so test drive and see how it fits. Lastly, if you reckon you can make do with a regular petrol car, give the SEAT Arona a glance. There are automatic versions.
Eddie: A 2017 hybrid has to be the Toyota C-HR. I don't see you benefiting much from it on your mileage but you'll love the car, so best of luck.
I have an 09 Avensis with 200,000km. Been told I'd get €4,500 on trade-in. My annual usage is 15,000km. We now have two children (two-year-old, three months). My wife is currently closing in on her test, so we will hopefully be a two-car family. What would you suggest as next best steps? I'd like to keep a saloon car for myself and perhaps an SUV-type option for longer journeys/my wife. We would probably finance both cars. Budget would include the trade-in as well as an extra €7.5K as deposit.
Aidan: Unfortunately, without an overall budget I cannot go into detail on specific cars. However, decide whose car is more important and allocate the lion's share of the budget to that. Do not buy a car for exceptional occurrences such as the odd long journey. Your main car should be capable of that.
You say that you will finance both cars. Are you thinking new or used? If you opt for PCP finance, it might not make sense to throw your entire €7,500 deposit at one car.
It depends on the new-car cost, but the trick is to deposit an amount to keep good equity at the end of the three years so you have something to start your next deal. Talk this over with your dealer. It all comes down to affordability. If your wife is only starting out driving, ensure she is comfortable with an SUV and the cost of insurance. She might be better off in something smaller if she is only doing short runs. I reckon it's a Prius for you and a Yaris or Auris for her.
Eddie: My worry is you are biting off a lot in one go. I must assume you have the income to sustain both sets of repayments for the proposed cars. On the basis you can, why not think about a 1.33-litre petrol Corolla saloon for you and a Peugeot 2008SUV 1.2-litre petrol for your wife? Please go through the figures in detail first, though.
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