Thursday 14 December 2017

Room for big dog; Can't shift Corsa; Cheap 'n' cheerful; 7-seater for family?


Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe

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'.

Myself and herself are looking for a new car as currently we're using her 16-year-old VW Beetle and badly need an upgrade. We'd only do around 10,000-12,000 miles p/a. We're thinking along the lines of an SUV partly because boot space is important (large dog). Total budget would be around €150-€200 pe rmonth.

Aidan: The difficulty with providing a monthly finance repayment as a budget is that I have no idea for how long you are comfortable with repaying that amount.

If you are saving for a house and want to show a bank that you have no other financial obligations, then a long-term car loan (five years) might not be ideal.

However, the shorter the term of the loan, the bigger the repayment. You need to do some household financial planning to ensure you don't bite off more than you can chew when it comes to the cost and the term of your repayments.

With that in mind, you need options spanning a variety of budgets, and thankfully there are loads from which to choose. Start with the Nissan Qashqai. The model changed in January 2014, so if you can stretch to one of those, you will be doing well as most of them were sold in SV trim, which is generously kitted. Older XE models are fine too. You will also have a choice of petrol and diesel.

Petrol is really coming back into fashion but diesel continues to retain a premium of €1,500 to €2,000 depending on other factors such as mileage.

I think you will love the Kia Sportage. If you aren't fussy, then go for the entry-level LX version. Look for a 2011 model onwards. Well worth the money.

Although not an SUV, I think you should consider a Skoda Octavia Combi (estate). Your pet will love the boot space and you will enjoy the drive and practicality.

I think you can make petrol work for you but seeing as you stated your annual commute in miles, then you cover nearly 20,000km and that might just make a sensible case for a used diesel car, too.

Lastly, the Peugeot 3008 has just been revised, so expect good volume and competitive pricing on used ones. A 1.6-litre HDi Active is the way to go.

Eddie: Chicken and egg. Dog space or running costs? Let me assume dog space wins. That makes you, herself and the dog.

You don't need an SUV. You need an estate, properly cordoned off (for your safety and the dog's in event of an accident). I'm serious about this. Buy a Skoda Octavia Combi (diesel I think because of 20k/year) a Kia cee'd SW (estate), Opel Astra estate, Peugeot 308SW. And make sure your dog travels safely.

I have two cars; one is a 2008 5dr Opel Corsa with 180,000km. The second is a 2010 5dr Volkswagen Polo with only 23,000km on it. I have been trying to sell the Corsa since Christmas. There seems to be no interest. Would I be better trading in both cars for a newer one? My budget would be the price I would get for the two cars plus max €1,000. My annual mileage is 10,000km.

Aidan: Have you a newer car in mind? You'll find it hard to get something as good as your Polo with that sort of mileage without spending a few more quid.

Price gaps between registration plates are narrow, particularly for superminis, but even still you might need to spend a little more to justify the change.

Regarding selling your car online, you have raised an interesting point, which I don't think has been tackled here before, namely: what to do when your car won't sell online? There can be a few reasons for this. The first is that it is uncompetitive. Have you checked other models to see if you have priced it too high?

Another reason is that some sites order ads according to the date they were listed, so your car might have drifted too far down the pecking order. Revise the ad once a week, every week, for four more weeks. Each time, revise the price downwards by a few euro (don't go mad). Take new photos (front, rear, sides, interior), and re-word your ad so that it tackles the headline topics such as tax expiry, NCT expiry, service work carried out, mileage, and condition.

Stick to short bullet points and deal in facts. You do not need to explain why you are selling the car. Pay to bump the ad to the top of the page each time. If that doesn't work, then trade the Corsa in with the Polo but don't expect a huge price for the former.

Eddie: Why sacrifice a perfectly good Polo to get rid of the Corsa? Any deal involving both will realistically value your Opel at next to nothing (because the dealer knows it will be hard to shift).

Aidan's is brilliant advice. Try it for another month. Do you have a family member you could give it to for a few hundred? I'm not making little of your car but you would be better rid of it ­- nearly at any price - rather than involve the Polo. Trading in both would be utterly foolish.

I'm 35 and midway through my lessons and looking to buy my first car (don't really like driving so never missed it till now).

I'll need to make a 300-mile round trip 2-3 times a month in the autumn so I'd say I'd do 11K/12K a year. Really only looking for something to go from A-B as it would rarely be used Mon-Fri. No kids but a dog is imminent so looking at hatchbacks such as the Auris or Polo/Golf.

Ideally, it'll be cheap to tax and can spend €10k max. I'm still trying to work out if I can justify the silly insurance costs but in the meantime I'd like to hear what your advice would be.

Aidan: Toyota Auris or Honda Civic. Both have lovely petrol engines and they are cheap to tax. However, be sure to get the Auris with the 1.33-litre petrol engine. It is cheaper to tax than the 1.4-litre. Both cars are very easy to drive as their clutches and steering weights are light. They will take a fair bit of abuse, too.

Word of warning: don't let service intervals lapse just because you are covering small mileage.

Ensure you get the car looked over every year to mitigate issues and avoid parts expiring and becoming dangerous.

Tyres spoil as they age and require replacing even if it appears that there is plenty of tread left on them.

Also look at a petrol Nissan Note. The 1.4-litre engine is frugal and they are a reliable machine. You might find your money goes further in the Note, too.

Eddie: I'd buy a second-hand Dacia Sandero. They're roomy, functional and bargain basement. You should get a fairly recent one for your budget. You are blessed not having a trade-in. Sandero it is.

I have a Nissan Qashqai plus 2, model SE 1.6 litre. The car is 2012, diesel with 130,000km. I am looking for a 7-seater please, as I have 3 young children and need the extra seats. I do 25,000km a year. I have a have a budget of around €15,000-€17,000 and don't want a people carrier. I was considering the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Aidan: Let's work with a budget between €25,000 and €30,000. That brings your excellent options very much into the fray.

You don't need four-wheel-drive, so to maximise your budget favour the Hyundai Santa Fe 2WD Comfort model instead of the 4WD Executive version.

However, if a 4WD SE (Special Edition) model comes in on budget, then give it some thought. If you can get a 142-plate model, then you will have Hyundai's warranty for two more years.

The Sorento is similarly sized to the Santa Fe and priced very close to it but you won't get the latest model because it arrived in 2015. Opt for EX models as a good middle ground.

Kia's warranty lasts for seven years or 150,000kms, so it makes sense to favour a low-mileage Sorento.

Lastly, have a look at the Mitsubishi Outlander. It has seven seats, 4WD, and very good equipment levels for the price. You should be able to get a 2015-plate model.

Eddie: I think Aidan has covered the ground well. Just for a change I'd plump for the Mitsubishi Outlander. Vastly underrated. Worth a try.


We love getting your enquiries but can't reply to all queries in as full a manner as this due to time and space restraints. We try to deal with as many as possible via email. But you can help us help you if you make sure to include the following critical elements in your query:

* Total budget.

* Annual mileage.

* Size of car required (number of seats).

* Present car (make, model, year and mileage).

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