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Smaller car for mum; trading down; exec 7-seater; PCP due; our Rio dilemma



Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

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

I'm looking for advice to help my mother (in her early 80s) select a car. She is driving an old Renault Megane (1.4 petrol) which will be scrapped. She wants to buy a smaller used car and has a max budget of €12,000. She was looking at a Renault Clio but is concerned about the rear visibility. She tried a Yaris but didn't find the seating position comfortable. She would like a car with good visibility and possibility of raising the driver's seat. She mainly drives around town with a small amount of motorway driving. Annual mileage is under 8,000km.

Gillian: Here are my top three picks: Skoda Fabia, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo. For €12,000 she can get a two to three-year-old model and all three come with height adjustable driver seats.

I would also suggest you look for one with rear cameras and sensors to assist parking.

Most buyers are looking for spec these days and her budget should allow her plenty of room to shop around. The Jazz had a change of model in late 2015 so if you can find a 152, it would be a good place to start. Also, has she thought about buying an automatic? It will cost a little extra and limit your choices but might be worth it.

Eddie: I think the three you have mentioned Gillian are excellent, but I would add a Nissan Micra automatic.

I have a 2011 Honda Accord 2.2l DTEC Ex with 100,000km on it. It was previously the family car but is now only used for short journeys and is no longer really fit for purpose. I'd trade down in terms of power for a used car which would effectively just be a runaround, the only requirement being a couple of Isofix for children's car seats. I'd like to trade-in like-for-like in terms of price while perhaps getting a newer model/lower mileage with lower tax and running costs. Would there be a car/cars that you'd recommend?

Gillian: So you are working with a budget of around €9/10k and your low mileage 2011 would be a great car for someone who will rack up a bit of mileage so I wouldn't rule out selling privately to get that €10k. Then I'd point you in the direction of a petrol Nissan Qashqai for a boot big enough for a buggy and two Isofix points in the rear seats.

You should get into a 131/132 but the Qashqai has been selling in huge numbers since 2007 so you will be sure to find something to suit. I'd love to recommend a Hyundai i40/Ford Mondeo/Opel Insignia as they are all good value but from 2008 to 2016, they sold primarily as diesel. So finding a petrol will be tough. Your driving really doesn't warrant a diesel anyway. Have you considered a Toyota Prius hybrid? You will have to stick with an 11-reg but the running costs will be much lower than the Accord.

Eddie: Predictably, perhaps, I'd be pointing you in the direction of a Honda dealer where you should be able to do a deal along the following lines. Sell your car privately, as Gillian suggests, and look for a fresh Honda Civic hatchback. I've a feeling you'd like it.

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I have a 152 BMW X5 with 3-row seating (7 seats); current mileage 88kkm. I bought it with high mileage, but mine is only in the region of 17,000km a year. I intend to trade in this car (estimate €40k-€45k value). I need to stay with a 7-seater SUV due to children. Have a budget of €20k-€25k approx on top of the trade in amount. Are there electric/hybrid options to be considered? Thinking of a new Volvo XC90 or a used Audi Q7 or another BMW X5 (used). Appreciate your thoughts/opinion.

Gillian: A hybrid would be a good choice with your annual mileage. However, as I mention a lot, there are fewer choices available with this engine. But it is a growing market and one option for you is the Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV (plug-in electric hybrid). A new 191 is out of budget, starting at €79,750 (including government rebates) for the R-Design model but a 171 might work if you are lucky enough to find one.

Both the Q7 and the X5 are good and if your budget was less I would say go the Q7 if you want a change or the X5 because you know how luxurious it is. But my only reservation is that both have a new model recently launched and so you are buying an old version and spending a lot of money to do that.

Having said that, you will have no issues selling it on down the line and you could have a 181 out the front of the house that will give you and your family and enjoyable drive so my reservation is probably unwarranted. One to throw into the mix is a LandRover Discovery 7S.

Eddie: The Volvo XC 90 has a plug-in hybrid version and comes nearest to meeting all your wishes. They are scarce, however. I'll throw one in from left field here: the KIA Sorento which is a proper 7-seater SUV. Only it doesn't have a hybrid, but you'd be able to buy new and have change left over. Worth thinking about.

I have a 161 diesel Audi A4 on a PCP due to roll in March (my second such arrangement). It has 73,000km on it as of today. There is approx €18k left to pay and I do approx 27,000km a year: mainly from Galway to Dublin and back each week. Current monthly repayment is €422. I could have this go up to under €500 and put some cash towards upping the equity when trading in. I don't believe buying another new diesel is a good idea as I am afraid in three years the market value will be close to the balance left to pay - a lot of the equity wiped out due to falling values of second hand diesels. I was thinking hybrid until I realised they don't self charge to any great extend so on long drives will be using petrol (is this correct?) I am thinking of getting a 181 and maybe an A5 or a Mercedes C-Class.

I like the comfort of having a warranty. But am really confused as to which way to go as each garage has a different view depending on what they are selling. My other option would be to take the 161 off PCP and keep if for another two years and see what comes into the market. What do you think?

Gillian: If you are happy with your car, keeping it for another year or two is a perfectly good option. Its current value is well over what you have left to pay on it and while you are correct, diesel cars are selling in smaller numbers than before, this isn't the case for all makes and models. The Audi A4 lends itself to someone just like you that drives "diesel mileage".

A petrol is a no, a petrol hybrid is less of a no but still a no, in my opinion anyway. However, you are being a bit hard on the efficiency of the hybrid engine. The self-charging system works well. A diesel hybrid would suit you but these are extremely limited. So my suggestion is keep it or for a change, move into an A5 or C-Class. Both are great buys but I personally would opt for the A5. The C-Class is really taking off as a petrol and so your fear of lower market value on this would be more likely than an A5 in diesel.

Eddie: I think I'd change. And I'd go Audi A5 petrol. Lovely car. The Merc is nice too but I'm always mentioning it. So A5 and Merc petrols for me.

A problem has arisen with our 5dr Kia Rio bought in 2011. Repairs could cost €1,000/€1,500. Mileage 80,000 to date. Should we: A. repair the car; B. trade in for secondhand or C. buy a new car. Similar spec. We could buy for cash but would prefer loan arrangement. We are at a loss to work out what is best.

Gillian: Buy a nearly new Rio as you were clearly happy with it if you kept it since 2011. With it being in need of repairs, you won't get a whole lot for it as a trade-in and going back to Kia, you are more likely to get a sweeter deal against a new one. You could find a dealer that sells both Kia and another brand to open your options up a little. A Nissan Micra would be a solid replacement or a Ford Fiesta.

Both are available in plenty of spec choices and hugely reliable motors so I would have no fear going for a change and removing the worry of repair costs you have now. The dealer will be able to help you decide how best to finance the car so make sure to ask the question.

Eddie: Sorry to hear that about the Rio. It's a car my family knows well and likes. You stand the best chance of a deal with a KIA dealer, I agree. But I would also try Hyundai for the excellent i20 or i30, Toyota for a new Yaris and Nissan for a Micra. See what each dealership will cost you to change.

Don't worry too much about what you get for your car. Concentrate on the cost of change. I'm not mad about you getting a loan. Your cash is probably earning little interest whereas a loan will cost you a good few percent. So if it isn't too much of a strain I'd go at least half on cash.

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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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