Helpdesk: What second-hand car should I get for €15,000?
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 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.