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Selling privately? Holiday home car? Petrol vs diesel? Which small SUV?



The Skoda Kodiaq seven-seater

The Skoda Kodiaq seven-seater

The Skoda Kodiaq seven-seater

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'.

I'm thinking of selling my car privately. What is the safest way to conclude the deal? What steps do we take after we've agreed a price? My car is worth about €10,000, so I can't expect a buyer to bring that in cash. Should I ask for a cash deposit and the rest by electronic transfer? Do we write the buyer's name in the log book after they've paid a deposit? The car is a 2010 Toyota Prius (38,000km). I've owned it from new: good condition, regularly serviced by main dealer

Aidan: There is always a risk when dealing privately. I can't precisely recommend what you should do as all deals and buyers are different.

Have you already been given a Cost-to-Change figure from a dealer for the new car you are interested in? A one-owner, 2010 Prius with that mileage is in keen demand; you might fare better than you think.

Anyway, if you and the private buyer have accounts with the same bank, an EFT payment can be a simple, quick solution. Be sure to call your bank at the moment of the transaction to confirm the funds have been received. There have been reports of bank drafts and other seemingly secure payment methods being used by crooks: a buyer purports to be a dealer, uses a phoney bank draft and arranges to transact the deal outside of business hours. This means you can't confirm provenance until the following day (or Monday, if you sell on a Friday evening).

Be vigilant. Only write the buyer's name in the change-of-ownership form when payment has been received. Retain the document after the transaction is complete and post it yourself.

It is a good idea to print two copies of a 'bill of sale', citing the car's registration number, your name, buyer's name, buyer's license number, date/time of the transaction and mileage (handy for toll charges). You and the buyer can sign and retain a copy each. Anyone unwilling to do this should be avoided.

Eddie: I think Aidan has done a brilliant job outlining what to do and what to look out for.

1. Ask for a sizeable/substantial cash deposit. 2. Hand over NO documents (receipts etc) or keys until the EFT or bank draft has cleared into your account. I think you'd get a good deal on the Prius from a dealer with no hassle.

We have a holiday home in the south east; we visit at least three times a year. We have a 'spare' car in the UK and wondered about bringing it and leaving it here permanently for our own use. It's a Mini Paceman, estimated value £10,000. What would we need to do to bring it to Ireland and what would it cost.

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Aidan: I encourage you to verify with Revenue your exact requirements on VRT as this is primarily a tax compliance issue.

My understanding is that if you live in the UK but the car is based here, you are not exempt from VRT, so you need to pay a tax to register the car as 'Irish'.

To determine the amount of tax, consult the VRT calculator online (also provided by Revenue).

If importing, you must make an appointment to bring it to an NCT test centre within seven days of landing it. The NCT centre carries out a pre-registration examination. When complete, you have to pay the VRT and complete the transaction within 30 days.

Then you will receive your Irish license plate number. You should then get new Irish registration plates. Anyway, that's the route as it stands for making a car 'Irish'.

Please double-check your situation with the authorities.

Eddie: Take my advice, go online and expend your energy on getting a good rental deal for the few times you're in the south east.

It should work out a lot less expensive and flexible than going through all the hoops and spending that Aidan has outlined. Sell your 'spare' car if it's not being used. Leaving a car lying idle in the UK or here for long periods is not good for the vehicle (battery, tyres etc).

Total budget €25k plus trade in: €11k. Annual mileage: 18k. Need car with 7 seats (2 adults, 4 children - 17, 15, 12, 9). Current car: 2012 Opel Zafira 2.0 diesel Ecoflex 136bhp; tax €200pa; 1-car family. We are facing a dilemma: we have a diesel, do lots of short city driving and want to trade before the car starts costing too much. With all the talk about petrol and diesel I'm confused. We have looked at the Prius + hybrid, the only petrol we can find with 7 seats and a reasonable engine size. There is the Zafira 2.0 diesel 170bhp and the VW Touran, but the petrol model is a 1.2l. The diesels are larger. Don't like the Picasso. We are looking for a bit of power for the longer (once-a-month long motorway drive/holidays) and find the car we have is losing oomph. Bad experience with Ford so SMax/Galaxy out. Any suggestions welcome.

Aidan: Your short, stop-start city driving lends itself to a petrol. Yet your longer motorway spins would be better served by a diesel. Your children span primary school age to young adult. You need something with decent pulling power. Diesel usually fits that bill better. If you think the Zafira is losing oomph I don't know if a petrol MPV with six on-board will be a suitable replacement.

You have made a diesel car work so far, and if the profile of your mileage has not changed, then it looks like diesel is the right option again. Consider another Zafira Tourer or the VW Touran. The Prius+ is a suitable balance for you and as it is an a hybrid it also has an automatic transmission. Don't make a decision without driving the Prius+.

Eddie: In addition to what Aidan outlined I'd add the Skoda Kodiaq 7-seater. It's diesel, roomy and the extra row of seats only adds €1,000. Leg space in the third row is surprisingly good. The 2-litre diesel with DSG (€36,095) would be my pick. No worries on power. Prius+ good too.

What should I buy? Petrol or diesel? I have a 2012 VW Polo 1.2-litre diesel (90,000km) to trade in. I am hoping to get €10,000 for it. I will have a further €15,000: total budget €25,000. I'm looking for a compact car but with a boot big enough for a buggy; I need room for 2/3 passengers in the back. I'd like a high driving position and high seats in the back so I don't have to bend too much when putting our one-year-old in her car seat. I'm looking at compact SUVs (Qashqai etc are a bit too big) including the Renault Captur, Opel Mokka, Peugeot 2008, Opel Crossland X. I do approx 18,000km/year, mostly 15km to work on country roads, 18km motorway and final 3km city. I am considering petrol. I hear the new 1-litre engines are almost as efficient as diesels. But does my type of driving, mileage, make buying petrol or diesel the more sensible option?

Aidan: Total annual mileage generally determines fuel type, but either petrol or diesel could work for you. The nature of your driving allows for a diesel to clear its throat, but your mileage makes petrol a real option.

The only question mark is the amount of leisure driving you do outside your 18,000km commute. I'd have no issue with buying another diesel. I know this doesn't really help settle that consideration, so l'll play devil's advocate and go for some petrols even though they might not be quite right in the grand scheme.

There are such strong offers for the 172 period I think you need to loosen your €10,000 expectation for your car and focus on how much the trade-up will cost. Don't lose heart if someone values your car less than your figure. The reality might be the new car at €25,000 will be sold for less. So the net sum you pay will be the same. You've picked some great models. The Peugeot 2008 will suit you. Your budget might just let you treat yourself to an Allure model. Have you considered the Nissan Juke? It's a 1.2-litre petrol engine too. SV models have been most popular, but you can probably stretch to SV Premium.

Eddie: You are probably doing 22/25,000km a year when you add a bit of social/leisure driving to your 18k commute. So I'd go for a diesel; no doubt about it. You've researched well. I'd go for either the 2008 or Crossland X. A facelifted Captur comes in August.


Welove 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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