Monday 23 September 2019

Should I upgrade? Our experts answer your questions

Car-value expert Gillian Keogh teams up with Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham to help you make the right choice with your next purchase. Gillian is Editor of a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars produced by the Motor Trade Publishers team. The team supplies a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses.

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Question: I have a 12-reg Seat Leon 1.6 diesel with 230,000km on the clock, doing around 30,000km/year. Would I be better to upgrade now to a newer 15-16 car (Leon or something similar) or hang on to my current vehicle until it gives up? More power and comfort with cruise control for the longer journeys would be nice.

Gillian: Sounds like you are ready to change.

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Your car may just keep going forever, as those Leons are good motors, but it does have a lot of kms, so be prepared to take the hit now to get yourself into that newer model.

Leons from 2015 sell for around €12,000 and 2016s for €2,000 more (spec-dependent).

For similar money, you could also look at a Hyundai i30, Kia cee'd, Ford Focus and plenty more but to me, the Leon has the edge on power and comfort. Cruise control won't be on all models, but I am sure you will find one.

If you are willing to go to a year older, opt for the 2.0 FR model which came well specced. You won't lack power with its 150bhp or 184hp options.

Eddie: Sorry to be contrary to Gillian, but I think I'd hold on so long as safety isn't compromised in any way.

What have you to lose? You'll get little enough for it considering the kms.

So let the dust settle on the whole diesel/fuel debate in the Budget and keep going for another year if you can. But if any tiny bit impacts on selling, get rid of it.

Question: I drive an 05 petrol Zafira with 82,000 miles (132,000km), bought in the UK. I drive about 10,000km/year; longest journey is a 1,000km round trip. I like the Zafira due to its ride height; I don't seem to get the back problems of other cars I have driven. My budget is probably €18,000 plus whatever trade-in I get. Ideally, I would like a car of similar ride height. I need a bit of room as I'm tall and have some trouble getting out of vehicles.

Gillian and Eddie: If you wanted to stick with Opel, we suggest going petrol again.

How about the Opel Mokka X? You could get a one-year-old 1.4 SC (which is nicer to drive than the 1.6). As it and the Zafira are around 1.65m tall, the height is perfect, and important for you.

The Grandland X and Citroen C5 Aircross are other options, but are not around long enough for your budget.

A Peugeot 3008 is well worth a look, with a height of 1.64m and it has loads of leg and head room up front.

Question: I will be getting a lump sum and private-company pension in mid-January. One item on my to-do list is to buy a new car, or maybe a 2018/2019 reg.

My budget is approx €25,000. I don't necessarily need an SUV, but I am considering it. I drive 10,000km/year. I was thinking of 1-litre to 1.4-litre engine - possibly hybrid, but not electric. I have an attachment to carry a bike - and I think an SUV would come in handy for this. My present car is a Honda hybrid, automatic 2008. I would rarely have more than one passenger.

Gillian: I think a compact SUV would be the way to go, and there are plenty of them.

A small engine is a good idea, but that will mean opting out of the hybrid, as most have a larger engine than 1.4.

While you could go new, I'd just jump straight to a used Audi Q2 (either 1.0 or 1.4 engine).

It would make a nice retirement present to yourself.

Eddie: I'd go for the new Volkswagen T-Cross - it's bang on your budget and a lovely car to be in and drive, as well as a decent height.

An imminent newcomer, the new Kia XCeed (urban compact utility vehicle) is larger and has impressed me a lot on a drive abroad. It's due shortly.

Question: I am about to become a taxi driver. I just passed my tests. My next step is to buy or rent a car. Have you any opinions on this?

Gillian: Your best option is to buy, but without knowing your budget, it is difficult to recommend the optimum fit for you.

A popular taxi is the Toyota Prius, as it is roomy and a hybrid, and therefore low on consumption.

Models from 2011 start at €9,000 and go right up to the current model (from €32,350).

So you should find something here to suit your budget. A large saloon or maybe an estate would be my best suggestion. Something around a 1.6-litre diesel engine size with enough room for four adults and luggage.

Irish regulations stipulate that a taxi cannot be more than 10 years old, by the way.

Renting/hiring is not a great option financially.

Eddie: My advice is obvious (isn't it always?): ask your soon-to-be taxi colleagues for a steer on what works best - and worst - for them. No better people to tell you about the good and the bad.

In addition to the Prius, I have to say anecdotal evidence suggests the Skoda Octavia diesel is hugely popular as a taxi. I'd look at the Skoda Superb, too.

Question: I drive a 12-reg diesel Passat with 150,000km on the clock. I do 30,000km a year. My wife drives a 12-reg diesel Octavia with 230,000km (all motorway). She does 35,000 a year. We have three kids aged four, eight and 10, but need a 7-seater to take elderly parents now and again. My budget is approx €25,000 plus either of our cars. Which car should we trade in and what 7-seater will we buy? New or second-hand?

Gillian, Eddie: We reckon you should sell your wife's car because of the high kms. Your car is still in a safe zone for a good resale value. You'll find it hard to come across a new 7-seater in budget, so how about a fresh Peugeot 5008 or Nissan X-Trail (both 1.6 diesels)?

Help us help you

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.

Irish Independent

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