'My wife wants a small car for my daughter to learn to drive'
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 of years ago I bought a 2002 Hyundai Atoz for my adult children to learn to drive. My daughter is taking her time and the Atoz is beginning to give trouble. I'm thinking of buying something slightly better. Budget is €4,000 or so. Any recommendations? I'm thinking of something like Opel Corsa or VW Polo - she wants a small car.
Aidan: Be extremely vigilant at this budget because you are facing transactions with private sellers. While this does not mean you will encounter difficulties (we sometimes recommend selling cars privately), there is no recourse if you end up on the wrong side of a private deal, so have your wits about you.
Forget specification and, only insofar as it might affect your daughter's insurance premium, concentrate less on age. Instead focus on mileage and condition. As well as your excellent choices of the Polo and Corsa, here are two from left-field that I think will maximise your budget: the Fiat Panda and the Kia Rio. You'll be amazed how far your money goes with a Panda, and I know from experience that a good one will be a frugal and reliable machine. Same story with the Rio - built to last.
Eddie: It's buyer-beware territory. I'm not sure how best to advise you on disposing of your own car. If you start dealing with private buyers and sellers, you will be busy and need to be alert. Try a few local dealers/garages to see if they have anything cheap coming in or in stock. With good sense and judgment, you can get this job done. One car I would add to the list is the Nissan Micra. There are plenty of them. Try to buy locally, so you have some comeback.