Car-value expert Gillian Keogh teams up with Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham to help you make the right choice with your next purchase. Gillian is Editor of a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars produced by the Motor Trade Publishers team. The team supplies a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses.
Q I've signed a HP with BMW for four years. I'm in my first year. If I wish to swap the car to another BMW in the second year, can I and what's the best way to do it? My understanding is HP has no mileage restrictions. However, I noted in my agreement that it mentions 15,000km a year and I am to pay €0.08 for every extra kilometre. Why am I having mileage restrictions if it's HP?
I know that if I end the agreement I'd have to pay half the HP price. Is it possible the dealer can buy the car (that I don't own) and settle the outstanding balance? Thanks for your insight.
Also what way should I go on my next car: PCP or HP again?
Gillian and Eddie: By entering a HP agreement, the dealer has sold the car to an agreed finance company who then rents the car to you. Each contract differs but typically a deposit is paid by you and then regular monthly payments. The km restriction sounds odd but, as I said, all HP contracts differ and it is likely that you were offered a better rate of interest.
At the end of the four-year term, you would own the car but if you wish to change it in the meantime, then you can return it to the finance company and pay the 50pc you mention. Or you could pay off the difference between the amount already paid and the total HP price.
The way some people do this is by getting a personal loan. What you should do is speak with the dealer you bought from. Let them know you may wish to change sooner that the term of the agreement and find out your options.
Ask for their finance person to sit with you until you fully understand your position. Best of luck.
Q Is it ever legal for an odometer to be reduced to zero? My 161-reg Suzuki Vitara had a minor display fault whereby the auto gear display was blank. To rectify this (under warranty) the full digital display was replaced and I was told that the odometer could not be reset to show the previous 41,000km. I asked the dealer to query this as it seemed wrong to me. Today they repeated the story. So as an interim measure I insisted on a written report.
They insisted that the correct reading is on the system but really that is no protection for future owners. It is now relevant as I am hoping to move to an EV in the near future and do not want to have my name associated with clocking.
Gillian and Eddie: Odometers break, not often, but they can and so need to be repaired or replaced. To do this, the new part will start at zero but the previous reading must be recorded and any future buyer informed. A written report from a reputable dealer, preferably a main dealer in these instances, will suffice. This is why keeping a full service history is so important. At every service, the service manual should be stamped with the date and km reading, giving any potential buyers peace of mind. We hope you have this in place already and then clocking is ruled out but you may need to take a hit on what someone is willing to offer you.
A Suzuki spokeswoman told us the dealer should have made a note in the service book to say the instrument cluster has been changed and the odometer had been set back to zero - with a note of the real km. She added: "That is correct that it will have been set back to zero."
Q We are a couple in our sixties. We have a 2011 Mercedes C-Class Coupé 220 diesel automatic 2dr. It's a car we love and find it economical. It has 180,000km on the clock. We are anxious to come up 3/4 years with a budget of €20,000 plus trade-in allowance. We do 10,000-15,000km a year. We are confused about what we should go for: petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric.
Having had two Mercedes Coupés, we really like them and a 2dr vehicle is not a problem for us. Your suggestions and advice would be appreciated.
Gillian: Your mileage says petrol but the majority of C Class Coupés, especially for the years you are looking at buying, are all 2.2 diesels. But that's not a big concern.
Coming up four years into a 2015 will certainly suit your budget and that's for a highly specced AMG Sport model, in automatic again. You may even get into a 2016 if your own car has been well minded.
If you wanted to switch to petrol another option is a BMW 420i, but again, they will be scarce. An Audi A5 will be diesel only but there is nothing wrong with that and it might be a nice change from the Merc.
Have you considered a Mercedes CLA? More widely available in petrol (CLA 180), it is a 4d Coupé that might feel smaller but you could get a two-three-year-old for the same money and I feel is worth a look.
Eddie: Excellent choices, Gillian. Somehow I have an instinct the BMW 420i might just fit your bill.
Q I own a 161 Renault Kadjar which I bought through PCP three years ago. That was my first mistake. My mileage is high but I was assured by the salesman I wouldn't be penalised if I stuck with them or bought the car outright at the end. It currently has about 120,000km. I have an 80km commute to work four days a week.
The mileage would have been higher except I was off work for 10 months after my last baby. So I need an economical seven-seater SUV. I really don't want a people carrier. Renault doesn't do a seven-seater SUV at the moment so my plan is to pay the €11,000 owed on the Kadjar to buy it out and then trade in for a seven-seater. What do you think?
Gillian: By paying the €11k now, you have a car that is worth more than that and so you are in a good position to trade it in against something that you need. I will work off a slightly higher budget than a new Kadjar, as you are going to a larger vehicle - so a new price of around €35k/38k - and give you some seven-seater SUV options. Seat has recently launched its Tarraco range and a 2.0 diesel SE starts at €38,250. I have seen a few on the road and they are impressive.
Skoda's equivalent is the Kodiaq; it's a big hit with Irish families and is priced almost identically to the Tarraco. I think I recommend this every week, but the Peugeot 5008 comes in a good bit cheaper, starting at €34,810 for a mid-range Active spec. It has a host of family car elements and with a 1.5 diesel engine, it is fairly economical too. The Kodiaq and 5008 have been around since 2017 so don't be too pushed to go new and spend a fortune again. There is plenty of money to be saved buying used so keep that in mind.
Eddie: I like the Kodiaq and the Peugeot 5008SUV. I drove the Tarraco relatively recently but somehow the two aforementioned stack up a little better for me.
Q I have an 08 Ford Focus with 116,000km on the clock. I'm looking for a new or nearly new car. Budget will be €25-30k with trade-in. My mileage is 15,000km, so diesel isn't necessary.
I'm looking for a car to suit two adults and two small children with good boot space. It also needs to be automatic.
I'm unsure whether to stick with petrol or go for hybrid. The hybrid would be more economical but there's limited choice. I have looked at the new Corolla saloon which is nice and ticks a lot of boxes but is just not a very exciting car.
I would prefer an SUV type vehicle and really like the Peugeot 3008 SUV. Any guidance on petrol vs hybrid and model would be appreciated.
Gillian: Wouldn't a 3008 hybrid be perfect? I am with you on that one. Yes, hybrid will save you money over a petrol but as you said, the choice is limited. I am surprised that you didn't mention the Toyota CH-R. New, the hybrid model starts at €30,710 so tops of your budget. But if you opt for a one-two-year-old model, the cost comes right back. The back row of seats slopes a little so it can feel tight for carrying teenage children but little ones will have plenty of space.
Also, the boot is decent so it should tick the same number of boxes as the Corolla, which I love by the way. Not all that exciting to drive perhaps, but if you drive a hybrid the way a hybrid should be driven, then they aren't overly exciting anyway.
So I think if you like the 3008 then go for it. The 1.2 petrol automatic model starts at €31,440 for the Active model but with your budget, I would suggest opting for a top of the line GT Line spec and search for a 181/182. You might struggle to find one in automatic, however, so other options that you could afford new in automatic are SEAT Ateca and Nissan Qashqai. The Qashqai doesn't have a 1.3 petrol engine and is slightly over budget but there might be some deals to be had on 2018 or run out 1.2 models.
Eddie: Buy the Peugeot 3008. Why? Because you like it and it suits you and if you don't buy it you will always feel you should have.