Saturday 25 January 2020

One for two; electric option; golf buddy; 'seven seaters'; a car for three teens


Ford Grand C-Max
Ford Grand C-Max

Aidan Timmons and Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham team up to help you make the right choice with your 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 bestseller Clever Car Buying.

We currently have two cars and one is used as our main family car. The second is a 2009 diesel Toyota Avensis (100,000km). My husband uses it a couple of times a week to drive to work (5km each way) and the odd time at the weekend. So, we were thinking of changing to an electric car. We aren't in the market for a new one. We were looking at a 141 Nissan Leaf. It seemed like the price would be close enough to the trade-in value of the Avensis (€12k). How many years do the batteries last? How much do they cost to replace? Do they get worse after time (need charging more frequently)? Would we get any value for the car as a trade-in in a few years' time? We need a car with back doors as we have two ERF car seats so couldn't access them with a 3dr car. Are there any other types of electric cars we should consider?

Aidan: Firstly, you will not move laterally from a 2009 Avensis to a 141-plate Leaf. Without knowing anything more about your car I am confident its value is not €12,000 regardless. This matters a great deal as it seems that your budget is contingent on whatever you can get for your own car. Its true value almost certainly rules out a Nissan Leaf entirely. I think you need to go back to the drawing board on this.

Can you augment the trade-in value of your Avensis with savings or borrowings? If not and, if the Avensis is in decent mechanical condition, then do nothing. It is obviously not an ideal choice for such a short commute but it costs you nothing so you may as well get the use from it. Bolstering your car's value puts you in a slightly more advantageous position to change but without knowing your overall budget it is impossible to advise you further. As for the Leaf; it was launched in 2011 so you don't need to shoot for the 141-plate if you really want to get into an EV. Your other questions are excellent but they can't comprehensively be answered for another few years when we will have a proper picture of battery degradation and the real costs of replacing parts in EVs.

Eddie: Can you make up the difference between the Avensis and the Leaf? If you can, do so but be sure it's not a strain. It seems like a waste to have a fine car lying around doing nothing. Not good for car or your pocket. I'd be on for selling it. Could your husband get a taxi to work? And could you rent a car for the 'odd weekend'. Do your sums but don't leave the car lying much longer.

We have two cars but are looking to change to a SUV. We have an Opel Astra 07 with 196k and a Citroen C5 131 with 87k. We're looking to go to a 151. We have two children (4, 6) plus another one on the way. Our annual mileage is 15k-20k with some trips west for family visits. We have €5k plus our two cars. I like the Qashqai and the Kadjar but can you suggest any alternatives.

Aidan: Be careful when halving your transport resources. Ensure you have robust alternatives before making that leap. It can be quite a shock to find yourself at a loss on a miserable, cold, windy February evening. If you have all your ducks in a row, then don't trade both cars in at the same time. Sell the Astra privately and don't rule out selling the Citroen yourself too. You will need to liquidate your assets for as much as possible to get into a 151-plate SUV. If you eventually go this route, then sell the C5 first. It means you will have to borrow a little more but you won't be left car-less and you can then sell the Astra and use its value as a lump payment against the loan. Also, it might be a bit of a squeeze in the rear row of seats for your three children considering bulky baby seats are still on the agenda. I think you would be better served by an MPV to be honest. It doesn't need to be as large as a Ford S-Max but certainly something as roomy as the Ford Grand C-Max. There is a new Peugeot 5008 just out so I expect a few trade ins of the old model to present themselves.

Eddie: Aidan is absolutely right to warn about the impact of suddenly having one car where you had two. I'd steer you towards a people carrier such as the Ford Grand C-MAX for your expanding family. More suited for purpose altogether when you get the other two off your hands in sequence.

Looking for recommendations for 7-seaters. We have a 131 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso due for change in January. Need a minimum of a 2-litre as will be using it to tow a caravan as well as being the main family car, with an auto box. Have shortlisted the following, but are there any others? - Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, new Peugeot 5008 SUV, Skoda Kodiaq. Need to keep payments down to €500/month.

Aidan: Citroen does not offer a 2-litre diesel automatic on their price list but perhaps one is available to special order. Ask your Citroen dealer seeing as you already have a touchpoint in a garage somewhere. If such a model exists, it is likely to be your cheapest option. Such is the demand for the Skoda Kodiaq, if you want one in January then you need to order one now. To get the best towing capacity in the Kodiaq range, go for the 190bhp 4X4 DSG model. It can tow 2300kg, whereas the 150bhp model tows a still healthy 2000Kgs. However, I would like to know more about your current arrangement with finance on your own C4 Grand Picasso. Do you own it outright? Your budget is generous but some of the desired models and others (ie Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe) will stretch your limits unless you have a sizeable deposit or can borrow money cheaply (at a low rate of APR).

Eddie: There are 7-seaters and 7-seaters. The ones you mention have a third row but space can be a little tight. Not so much with the Sorento and Santa Fe. I think you mean the first batch. I'd steer you towards a 1.6-litre new Peugeot 5008 diesel automatic.

I have an 05 Renault Megane Cabrio 1.6 (105k). Only do 80km/120km a week mostly on the M50. I am a golfer so need a big boot and for security reasons I prefer a 3dr. Am open to the idea of a higher seat but not fussed. Like a little weight in the car and I need it to be long-serving. Budget: €12k-€15k.

Aidan: I am not sure what the significance of having a 3dr means for security but it is worth noting that the wording of your insurance policy might preclude the reimbursement for items stolen, which were visible from the outside. The boot is the best place to keep valuables. If you prefer a 3dr for other personal security reasons, that is a different matter. Diesel 3drs will be more popular but you don't need a diesel car. Still, you will have best choice from the Kia pro-cee'd. It's a looker too. A three-door SEAT Leon would be a sound choice. It's called the Leon SC. Petrol models will be rare but look for the 1.2-litre SE model as the best option.

Eddie: I'd add a 3dr Volkswagen Golf to Aidan's list. Might have to go back the years a bit, but you get what you're looking for: a little weight and long-serving.

Please advise the most suitable car for us based on following:

1. €30k budget. 2. 50,000km annual mileage. 3. Two adults, three teens. Current car: 2-litre diesel Toyota Avensis.

Aidan: See if you can get an ex-demonstration Mazda6 2.2-litre diesel Platinum model. If a Platinum version is out of reach, then the Executive SE is perfectly fine. The Mazda6 is a fine car with loads of room, a big boot, lovely driving position, powerful engine with loads of torque and it looks smart. If it doesn't float your boat, then go for a Skoda Superb. Three teenagers require loads of rear leg room and the Superb is enormous. Again, look for a 171/172-plate ex-demo with the 2.0 litre diesel engine. Ambition models are likely most affordable for you. A Superb Combi would be even better.

Eddie: You say 'car' so we are presuming saloon/hatch/estate and Aidan has covered most of the ground - but how about another Avensis? However, with three teens would a diesel SUV suit better? There's plenty of choice around the €30,000 mark from the SEAT Ateca to Nissan Qashqai. But I'd opt for a 5-seater Skoda Kodiaq - if you can safely stretch to a slightly larger budget.


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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