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My 04 Toyota Corolla is making all sorts of noises and it's time for a change. What do you advise?



Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

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'

My current car is a 04 Toyota Corolla with 157,000 miles. I've been told I won't get anything worth talking of when it kicks the bucket. It's due for NCT in May and I fear what will be wrong. It's making all sorts of noises. It's time for a change. I'm prepared to make repayments of €350 a month. I'd hoped to have a deposit for my next car, but I'm afraid I'll be looking for a loan from the bank. I'd hope to get about €18,000. I do 10,000kms-14,000kms a year. We are newlyweds and would hope to start a family soon, so I'd like something that could fit two children. I'd be open to travelling north or to England if I knew what model to get. I fear that my notions of wanting a fancy sports car are blocking my view of what I can afford.

Aidan/Eddie: Whatever about affordability, a fancy sports car won't cut it as a family car. Best to just forget it for now. You're in something of a quagmire. Won't borrowing for a deposit reduce your €350 monthly budget? We think you need to be much more financially focused before you can even begin looking at cars. Figure out what you can borrow and repay every month. Decide if PCP is a better route than hire purchase or a loan. If you opt for PCP, you will likely change car before baby number two arrives.

Whatever budget you eventually calculate, buy the best Skoda Octavia possible with it. Spacious, comfortable, well-kitted and looks the part. A great all-rounder.

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WE love 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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