Life Motor News

Tuesday 18 December 2018

I want a car that I will keep for 10 years-plus


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've a 15-year-old Subaru Forester that is still going strong - 2-litre petrol with just 91,000 miles on the clock.

Given its age and negligible value, the plan has been to simply drive it into the ground before replacing it.

It always passes the NCT first time and hasn't cost me much to maintain.

That said, with its age there is always the likelihood of something major going wrong that won't justify the repair bill, so I'm looking at options to change it.

I like the extra grip/ stability provided by the AWD system, so I will want to stick with that for any replacement.

I always thought I'd just replace it with a new(er) Subaru, so really it's just a decision between Forester, Outback or XV. An imported Outback with good spec seems the best option at the moment.

There must be other AWD cars out there to consider. Are there other, better, options in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions? Are there options existing or planned for hybrid or electric AWD cars?

I ideally need something of similar size to the existing Forester because I have to move a family of five on occasion. Budget isn't a huge concern as, similar to existing car, I don't mind investing a reasonable sum as I will likely keep the car for 10 years-plus. Likely to be funded by a loan.

Aidan: The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a plug-in hybrid, which means you can recharge its batteries by plugging it in or regenerate them using kinetic energy from driving and braking, as you get from a regular hybrid. It's got a 2-litre petrol engine and should be every bit as robust as your Forester. It has 4WD too.

I find that you have to be diligent with plugging it in and moderating how you drive to extract the best efficiency from it.

At €50,000 it might sound expensive, but it is priced similarly to a new Outback in SE Premium trim with an automatic transmission. However, you can save a few quid by opting for a manual Subaru if your prefer.

There is nothing wrong with going for an Outback. It's a great machine and reliable. You are used to the product, and while it might not have quite as many modern luxuries as the Outlander, it will be a steely performer.

Eddie: Two words - Subaru Outback.

I have a 2012 VW Tiguan diesel (50,000 miles). I'm thinking of changing to a petrol SUV with a 1.4 engine. My annual mileage is under 10,000 and I have €15,000 to spend plus trade-in value. Do a good deal of motorway travel in the summer. What would you suggest? It has to be an SUV.

Aidan: Don't be too hung up on getting a 1.4-litre engine. Some of the current crop of 1.2 turbo petrol engines are lively enough.

You might need to stretch you budget a teeny bit more to get into a brand new car, but there should be a few 2017-plate Peugeot 3008 SUVs around.

It's a Fantastic car. Brilliant interior with loads of digital displays that are customisable but not unfathomable. Loads of room and respectable fuel efficiency. I was impressed when I drove it.

Used SEAT Atecas will be a little thin on the ground, but the 1.4-litre petrol model is worth pursuing. You will most likely end up in an SE version.

Again, the engine is top class for refinement. The Qashqai is always a decent bet with its 1.2-litre engine, and SV models are handsomely shod. Good value for money.

If you don't need an SUV as big as those, then look at the Toyota's hybrid C-HR. It has brilliant fuel economy, it great looks, comes with decent kit and it will likely be fancied when you trade it back in again.

Eddie: SEAT Ateca if you can get one. Lovely petrol engine.

I have a Volvo V40 Cross Country automatic 2013. It's a lovely car, but the automatic gearbox seems to hunting to find out what gear to be in.

I'm disappointed. In the past I had a 2007 Golf TSi 1.4 auto, which great to drive. Only issue was the gearbox. I've been told the DSG gearboxes are notoriously troublesome in the petrol models.

I'm thinking of changing back to the automatic Golf. Should I be concerned about the DSG models? Not mad about the diesels. I do about 18,000km a year on the motorway.

Aidan: A diesel car might suit you better if your motorway jaunts are spent driving, not sitting in traffic. At least think a bit about it and drive a new Golf with the latest diesel engine. You might be pleasantly surprised. Even the petrol version will feel very different to the old model you had.

I've always been fond of the DSG gearbox. It's a slick system and manages different driving behaviours and styles excellently. Volkswagen improves upon it with every iteration, too. Given the choice, I'd take the DSG over a manual.

Eddie: At 18,000km you can justify petrol, diesel or hybrid. But you don't like diesel, so petrol or hybrid (automatically automatic) are real alternatives. I'd add a Toyota Auris hybrid to your short list. That way you get a non-diesel automatic. I like the Golf, but I think you should try the Auris too.

We've three small people (two in the maxi cosi rodi Isofix seats, one in the maxi cosi rodi. They all fit in the rear seat of my 2009 Honda FRV, which I hope to drive until they're out of car seats.

We need to change my husband's car (09 diesel Subaru Legacy) to something that will accommodate us all, with decent storage for all that comes with having smallies.

He won't drive a family wagon, if you know what I mean. He Wants something with good BHP and low tax. I think he'd try a hybrid if we could find a suitable one.

I thought the Mitsubishi Outlander might be an option, but the three car seats won't fit across. The hybrid model doesn't come as a seven-seater.

Ideally, I want something around 2014. But if there was a good scrappage offer available, I could convince him to consider a new vehicle. My brain is fried trying to find something that suits.

Aidan: This causes headaches every time it comes up because the perfect car for you is something like a Citroen Picasso (or Grand Picasso) or VW Touran (with five Isofix points).

But, like lots of others, you don't want an MPV. Do yourself a favour though and try a few out. My go-to recommendation for anyone needing space is the Skoda Superb Combi. It's impressively spacious, comfortable, well-built, cheap to run and great to drive.

If you can't buy a new one, try and get as fresh a model as you can. The new version was launched for the 152-plate, and a 1.6-litre diesel Ambition model will be ideal.

If you want something new and more SUV-like, then look at the Peugeot 5008. Peugeot tends to have good scrappage offers too.

Finally, look at the Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento. Price-wise, I think used ones will be your only option, but either should cater for your needs.

Eddie: Is he totally immovable on the family wagon? Really, it's the one that makes sense. I'd push him to drive the VW Touran and see how he feels. It's well worth a try. Otherwise you are into Aidan's suggestions and I don't think you need to stretch that far.

What is the best car around €22,000 that would be suitable for the adaptation of the passenger seat to a swivel seat? I would need to get as close to 90 degree turn out of the car.

Aidan: Something with a really wide front door aperture will do the trick. If the seat adaptation is for wheelchair accessibility, then look at the Ford Tourneo Connect. It's a brilliantly functional car with good head clearance (I'm not totally sure if the motors for the swivel might raise the height of the seat). Nice engine and it won't feel too van-like to drive now that brands are beginning to dress the interiors up with better equipment and more sound-proofing.

Eddie: This really is a case of try it and see what suits you. The Tourneo Connect is a good option, but please also look at the likes of the Citroën Berlingo Multispace, Volkswagen Caddy Life and Peugeot Partner Tepee.

You've got to talk to the respective dealers and see for yourself - that is absolutely critical.

Help us help you

Welove 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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