Friday 6 December 2019

I need more boot space; I need big SUV. I'm buying a classic. We need bigger car

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'.

A couple with a salesman at a car dealership. Pic: Deposit Photos.
A couple with a salesman at a car dealership. Pic: Deposit Photos.

I drive a Honda Jazz but need extra boot space. I like the idea of a tall car that gives me a clear field of vision out in front. I cover short distances and I'm not fussy about the latest technologies. I have €16,000 and quite like the idea of a diesel Qashqai. Peugeot's 2008 is fine too, but I think it might be a bit low and boot space is only marginally bigger than my own car.

Aidan: If your mileage mostly comprises short distances in suburban areas then a petrol Qashqai won't just fulfil your height and space requirements but it will help maximise your budget too. Diesels will be more readily available but you might find that you can buy a year younger car in petrol guise.

If the Peugeot 2008 isn't quite tall enough for you and its boot is only just acceptable then I think you might find the current crop of smaller SUVs, such as the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur much more of the same. How about a Mini Countryman instead? They are scarce and might stretch your budget slightly but you'll find all you need in one. It's not as generously proportioned as the Qashqai but it's certainly worth considering. So too is the Mitsubishi ASX. It's got a 1.8 diesel engine, which could be overkill for you, but it ticks all of the other boxes on your list. It's big but not too big, tall, roomy and affordable.

Eddie: Just be careful here you are not going too big just to get a few litres more boot space. It happens a lot; people spend thousands on a bigger car they don't need to get bigger carrying capacity. Remember virtually every new car out there now lets you split or fold the back seats so you have flexibility.

You most certainly do NOT need a diesel. You cover short journeys. Petrol it is, ok? That's a couple of thousand saved before you start.

Take a look at the new Hyundai i20. Have seen and sat into it; big boot; flexible rear-folding seats; small petrol engine; decent driving position. Go bigger and, for around the same money, get a Dacia Duster crossover (you don't really need it for your small mileage; plenty of height though). Or a Kia Venga; small and high. The Toyota Yaris supermini is quite tall.

I do know what you mean about high-driving position. It matters. But again, don't go spending a lot of money without making absolutely certain the seat and the steering wheel have the potential for plenty of adjustment.

I'm considering buying a classic car to keep me occupied. I'm currently looking at the Alfa Romeo Junior 1300 GT. I think I'm going to try buy a good one that may only need cosmetic work as I don't want to spend five years on a "project".

Aidan: Anyone in a similar situation who is considering purchasing a classic car would do well to take a leaf from your book. Definitely pursue the line of finding a decent motor to begin with.

As with all classics, check for oil leaks and signs of pitting or rust on the floorpan in the boot and over the wheel arches.

There are few things more deflating than watching a car-shaped money pit sitting in your driveway. Cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed. And I think the Junior 1300 GT should provide plenty of enjoyment too.

What's not to love about a zippy, high revving twin cam in a beautifully sculpted Italian coupe body? It's got disc brakes all round too, which is a bonus in a car which ran from the mid 60s to the mid 70s.

Eddie: I'm told the market for cars like this is on the up and up so it looks like a good investment.

Let me just quietly remind you, however, that classic cars are like shares. You've got to be able to walk away from a loss without it affecting your overall financial situation. If it's a hobby first and the loss won't damage you critically, enjoy,

We currently have a Peugeot 206 (2006, 70,000 km). We need a bigger car with at least two ISOFIX points and room for a third passenger. Boot space is crucial. We only currently drive 10,000km to 15,000km a year. We like the Corolla and Focus but would prefer more room. We are also considering a new Dacia Logan or Duster but wary about reliability. We just want something to get us from A to B, that's safe and reliable and gives us enough room.

Aidan: Your concerns about the Dacia Duster and Logan might be assuaged by knowing that their engines are also found in the Nissan and Renault ranges.

Furthermore, your budget will see you into a brand new higher spec Signature model with a 1.2 litre petrol engine and three years warranty. Boot space is good and there are two ISOFIX points in the rear but a middle passenger might feel cramped.

However, this is true of most cars in this segment. Also consider the Kia cee'd SW. It's spacious, frugal, comfortable, and was frequently bought in the more generously appointed EX/TX spec.

Try to find one with low mileage as Kia's 7-year warranty also expires once the car reaches 150,000kms, regardless of its age.

Eddie: I think the Toyota Corolla is such a good car but because it is not flashy and full of gimmicks it doesn't get a lot of publicity.

I'm surprised you are lookng for more room than the Corolla.

The new one has lots of room and a large boot. You might get a year-old one (it's new since last year) but there aren't many. Worth considering new, I think. I like the Focus too (recent facelift) and the Skoda Octavia (can a week go by without mentioning it Aidan?) has a big cabin. I like the Opel Astra saloon too. But the Corolla's my tip.

I drive a 131-reg Land Rover Discovery Business (5-seat Commercial). It has 175,000 kms. I am looking at changing and was thinking about the Mitsubishi Pajero as it is cheaper. Is it a decent vehicle or would I be better to stick with a new Discovery?

Aidan: There isn't a revised Discovery for 2015 so it shouldn't provide any surprises from what you are already used to. The Pajero is also a competent SUV in its own right.

Mitsubishi is renowned for its four-wheel-drive capabilities; its exploits in rallying are testament to that.

The Pajero's warranty extends beyond the usual 100,000 kilometre mark which applied to most vehicles of this nature and instead hits its limit at 150,000kms.

I would consider your annual mileage to be excessive and think that the Pajero represents a suitable blend of peace-of-mind driving, comfort and capability.

It's also worth contemplating the other player in this market; Toyota's Land Cruiser. There is a five-seat commercial version of this too and it retails at €53,995 plus metallic paint and delivery costs.

Eddie: I've driven all three mentioned within a couple of weeks of each other back in the year and I would urge you to do the same.

The Discovery is huge, roomy, powerful, well-equipped and I've waded bonnet-high in water behind the wheel of one.

The Pajero is, as Aidan says, remarkably agile and a driver's SUV. But the Toyota Land Cruiser, I think, is the one to beat.

I like the others a lot and it is a close enough call in many areas but overall that's my view.

As an all-round go-anywhere machine that is comfortable on the tarmac, it does a lot right.

I'd be interested to see what you think when you drive it.

I know price is important but regardless of which one you buy I don't think you'll go too far wrong.

My goodness is your vehicle on the road day and night with that sort of mileage?

Please Note: We're doing our best to cover as many queries here (and privately). Thank you for your (kind) comments and encouragment. Keep them coming: ecunningham@independent.ie

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