Motoring Advice: Diesel vs hybrid, and UK vs Irish model?
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 am driving a Volvo S40 1.6 petrol. I got it about five years ago with 33,000km and now have 149,000km - 23,000 a year. My previous car was a BMW 325i, which I loved. The drive was great but running costs were just too much. My job-related journeys can vary from just 2km to an 80km round trip. At the weekend, I need room to accommodate a family of four and all our gear, and I feel the saloon is fine as my wife drives an SUV. My budget will stretch to either a Lexus IS300h or a 420d Gran Coupe 151-ish, but I am strongly considering bringing in a UK model as the specs tend to be a lot better. I would hope to keep the car for at least four or five years, so not sure which one will have the better running costs and then resale value. My concerns are weekly running costs, service costs, trade-in values, diesel v hybrid, UK v Irish model. Models considered: BMW 420d Gran Coupe; Lexus IS300h.
Aidan: Irish specification levels for BMW 420 diesels are excellent. The model that sold best is the automatic Gran Coupe M Sport. It would be difficult to better that trim anywhere else. As for the Lexus IS300h, you will find plenty of Executive models and even the odd F-Sport. Neither will leave you wanting for equipment. You don't provide a specific budget, but it looks a bit loose if you are considering a 2015-plate of either car. If you find a 15-reg 420d with all the kit for the same price as an IS300h, then by my reckoning something is amiss. There should be thousands between both cars. Irrespective of where you buy your next car, I think the Lexus sounds like a good fit for you. It's roomy, efficient and reliable. Values here have been moderated by imports (among other things), so ensure the sums stack up before you commit to going abroad. Also, what about a 5-Series? It gets slated for being very common, but it's a great drive and a near-flawless executive saloon.
Eddie: I think the Lexus. The 420d is gorgeous but a good deal more expensive on an age basis. There are real battles at the moment at compact executive car level, so I'd look, definitely, at a Mercedes C-Class or Audi A4 diesel as well.
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