Wednesday 22 May 2019

Seven-seater SUV; MINI change; an ice breaker; for Clare; Possible VW exit?


Hyundai Santa Fe Executive 4WD
Hyundai Santa Fe Executive 4WD

Aidan Timmons and Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham are here 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 best-seller 'Clever Car Buying'.

I'm thinking of changing my car. I have a 132 Toyota RAV4 Sol 2.2l diesel, which has been great and has 125,000km done. I also have a 10-year-old people carrier, which is off the road. I do about 20,000-25,000km annually and get about €2,000 travel expenses. I need to get a seven-seater to carry the whole family (wife, four kids and dog). I don't want to drive a people carrier as the roads I travel on are not good and I've often relied on the 4WD of the RAV4. I have a budget of about €12,000 and while I would consider selling privately and going to England, ideally I would prefer not to. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Is it time to stick or twist? Purchase or hold on to what I have? Taking my circumstances into account, how often would you advise changing my car?

Aidan: How often is your entire family in the car at the same time and who is the main driver when you are together? The reason I ask is that it might work for you to downsize the people carrier slightly and get something like a Skoda Octavia Combi and then trade out of the RAV4 into a Hyundai Santa Fe Executive 4WD.

I realise there is a bigger cost implication to this, but hear me out. I try and keep car purchasing as simple as possible, but in your case you can approach things from a different angle. You need to change an MPV for another seven-seater with four-wheel drive on a budget of €12,000. That's a big ask.

You could easily look at several used large SUV seven-seaters, but I don't think they will suit you. You obviously rack up a lot of kilometres, so a Hyundai with five-year warranty would be a sound purchase.

If the mid-week runs can be done with a regular five-seater, this is the way to go.

The frequency of changing is entirely a personal affordability consideration, but you should try, as best as possible, to always keep something in warranty.

Eddie: The people carrier that's off the road doesn't sound as if it is up to much, so it will take all your money to get a used 4WD seven-seater. You have little choice but to hold on to the RAV4. Your budget will evaporate, I fear, if you try to change both.

I'd go to the nearest dealers, including Hyundai (Santa Fe 4WD) or KIA (Sorento 4WD) and see if they have anything reasonably fresh of either model in stock or coming in at your budget for a seven-seater.

If you decide against that and go to England, you have to worry about trying to get shut of your off-the-road people carrier at the same time. That might be difficult. I'd try local dealers first and see what they potentially have before going abroad.

To answer your question on how often you should change, if you can manage a three or four-year gap it reduces the cost of moving up the years.

I am considering trading in my car for a newer model. I have a 2003 MINI Cooper (3dr) with 80k miles and would be looking for a similar-sized car. My current annual mileage would be between 7,000 to 8,000km - split between city and motorway driving. My budget would be €10k (including trade-in) and I would like to replace with a MINI but am not sure if other makes would be better value?

Aidan: Another MINI is a great choice. Sure, they are more expensive than other cars of a similar size, but they are priced in the premium end of the market to begin with and they retain their values excellently, so everything sort of balances itself out.

Get one with low kilometres. There is no point moving from your well-minded car to something on fresher registration plates but which has been driven just as far. A service history is a must, too.

For variety, look at an Audi A1. It's a super machine. Also consider something more mainstream but with a slight edge such as the Mazda2 in Sensu trim - 2014-plate models are in reach.

Eddie: Keep it simple. Trade in against a newer MINI with far lower mileage - make sure of that. Buy from a local dealer.

I read with interest the performance of the Mazda CX-5 in Siberia. I have a Ford Kuga and am thinking of trading in. What do you think? Any other recommendations?

Aidan: Considering his Siberian expedition credentials, I'll leave the assessment of the CX-5 to Captain Eddie. As for other recommendations, in typical Mazda fashion the CX-5 kind of sits between SUV segments in that it is bigger than most volume models (like the Tucson) but costs less than premium marques such as the BMW X3.

You might need to sit into a few different brands to see, which fits best. Stick the Volkswagen Tiguan on your shortlist. It's hard to fault its build quality and the serenity within the cabin. It looks the part and Highline models are handsomely shod with the latest gadgetry. It's an entirely convincing SUV package.

The availability of the Skoda Kodiaq has freed up and it's been in astonishingly high demand. I've spent some time in a friend's Kodiaq and it's impressively functional if you need space.

Lastly, the Honda CR-V is an eminently sensible purchase not least because it has a very frugal 1.6-litre diesel engine that is extremely refined.

Eddie: After my Siberian exploits (and thanks for all the kind comments) I'd have to go for the Mazda CX-5.

My daughter is moving to Co Clare to work and will need a car. We can just about manage, between savings and a credit union loan, to raise €10,000. Please give us a short list of three cars to choose from that are safe and reliable and easy on fuel because she will make a 300km round trip home most weekends.

Aidan: In no particular order, my three are the Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi Edge, Toyota Auris 1.4 D4D (Sport if buying a 2012 model, Terra if you can stretch to a 2013 newer-shape) and KIA cee'd 1.6 diesel EX. Prioritise buying from a dealer who offers comprehensive warranty (not just three months or 1,500km on engines and gearboxes only). Get something with a decent service record and pay attention to mileage and condition. If you can get a 2012 Auris Sport with lower kms and a verified maintenance record, choose it over a newer model with a patchy past.

Eddie: Here's an alternative list - Volkswagen Golf 1.6 diesel, Hyundai i30 and Honda Civic diesel.

I am a loyal VW driver, having driven their cars for more than 15 years. I'm currently driving a 2010 1.6-litre Golf. I usually go for high specs - leather interior, heated seats etc. Due to a new job and a daily M50 commute, I want to go automatic. Ideally, I would love something similar in size to the Golf but automatic and taller (SUV) for better visibility. I have looked at the Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai iX35 etc, but they really don't compare to VW. I thought about the Tiguan but don't want to go for a bigger engine size (along with the fact they haven't received great reviews). The Audi Q2 is on my wish list but it's out of my budget of €14k. Could you recommend something? I suspect I would need to go the UK to get a smaller automatic car.

Aidan: With €14,000, quite a few of your preferred options will be out of budget. A new VW T-Roc would tick all your boxes, so if you decide to finance a new car then perhaps pursue one of those.

Keep a keen eye out for used, petrol Golfs with the DSG gearbox (automatic). They are rare. I think the Toyota Auris hybrid is perfect for you, but it's neither an SUV nor has it got heated leather seats.However, if you can make your peace with not having an SUV then look for a Lexus CT200h. It's also a hybrid, but some models have leather and other niceties.

Eddie: You're steering yourself back into a Golf with automatic (DSG) gearbox and top-of-range spec. Otherwise - if you buy an SUV, for example - you are going to have to settle for something much older to meet your comfort-spec demands. I'd stick with the Golf. You'll probably get a better trade-in from a VW dealer too - a small reward for your loyalty.

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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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