Sunday 18 February 2018

Should you make the change from Diesel to hybrid?

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 bestselling book 'Clever Car Buying'

Q: I've been driving new Toyota diesels since 1999. I change every two years, doing 50,000km. I love the drive and rock-solid resale value along with the economy. I currently have a RAV4 Luna. I'm not particularly fond of it. I'm starting my search for 2018 and feel like a change. I love the look of the Nissan Xtrail. I know there is an update due for which I would wait. I've also toyed with the idea of an Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-Class or Lexus IS. I know the last three will be a little more expensive but could reasonably stretch to them? Any thoughts on diesel? Is hybrid an option? I want a minimum 50mpg.


Aidan: If the nature of your driving means your mileage is racked up from a succession of short journeys, then a hybrid might be a sensible option. If that is the case, then look at the Lexus IS300h. It's a smart machine with a great balance of frugality around town and power on the open roads. The Luxury model is most popular. Would the new Prius tempt you? However, I get the impression your annual coverage of 25,000km is more typically regular, long spins, which are better accommodated by a diesel.

If you can afford to get into a premium brand, then explore that option. That is not to say the X-Trail does not enjoy its fair share of conquest business from people who were previously in premium brands and opted to change, but I wonder if part of the reason you are not enjoying the RAV4 is because it is an SUV.

All your premium alternatives are saloons so maybe you are naturally inclined towards that style of car. You still have plenty of time to drive all three premiums to gauge which suits best.

You are in a strong position as the RAV4 is a very agreeable trade-in and you can afford to wait for January's offers to be announced. If they mirror this year's incentives or are even more aggressive, then it might not cost as much to change as you think.

However, you still have an option of the Prius or the X-Trail if the outlay is a little too saucy for you this time around. Not a bad situation whatsoever.

Eddie: I think the Prius will do several jobs for you at the same time. It will get you close enough to your 50mpg on mixed driving, it's as roomy as an Avensis and it is a hybrid so you have no concerns on trade-in values after two years. As well as that I think you'll do a better deal sticking with Toyota, seeing as you're in a RAV4. The Nissan is a good option but, like Aidan, I suspect you are not an SUV fan.

Just to say

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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