Thinking of buying new or trading up? Here's a bumper set of answers to this week's queries
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 have a 2004 E-Class Merc 1.8 petrol auto with 180k. Tax €636; 30mpg. The car is mint and I am in love with it but the costs are killing me. What should I do?
Gillian: While you love your car, the running costs are large not just for you but to any potential buyer too, so you won't make a whole lot of money on its sale.
I would almost write it off financially - you are starting from scratch.
I have three options in different price brackets.
Remember, keeping it is always an option seeing as you love it and it is mint - and you are not going to get much for it.
Option 1 (€10k-€20k): Newer model E-Class.
You could stick with what you love but move up a good few years (2011 to 2013) in an E200d Elegance/Avantgarde auto, and road tax will be €390.
Option2 (€20k-€30k): C180 petrol Auto, Avantgarde.
Selling every bit as well as the diesel and a beautiful car to drive. It was launched in 142 so there is plenty of choice in this price bracket right up to a 162 with road tax of €280.
Option 3 (€30-€40k): GS300h in Dynamic/Luxury spec.
Moving away from a Merc, how about trying a hybrid and going for a Lexus? The GS300h in Dynamic/Luxury spec is worth a drive and a car you could just fall in love with too. Road tax is around €200.
Eddie: I think the best advice I can give you is for you to trade it in against a newer E-Class, regardless of anything else.
That is the only thing that makes sense from a number of perspectives.
You will cut your fuel, road tax and insurance bills by a significant amount, not to mention the big increase in newer safety elements.
Unfortunately, I don't think you have much choice. I wish you had because you obviously love that car.
You could hold it until next year, of course, because depreciation is not a factor any more. But you still have to pay a big price for ownership.
At least my suggestion keeps you in a Merc.
I have a Kia Sportage 2017 1.7 diesel (24,000 km). I do 12k-15k per year. Have €10,000 with trade-in.
Should I go diesel, petrol or hybrid? I want a high-seating position and many safety features. What choices do you advise? Trade now or wait until January?
Gillian: Your car is only one-year-old, so I would say wait until January at least. Then you can really go petrol, diesel or hybrid with your annual kilometres.
Your current wheels give you an approx budget of around €30k in the new year, so here are some safe, high-seat options to consider, assuming you want a 19 plate.
Firstly, a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. "A what?" I hear you ask, but trust me on this.
It's an SUV, so seating works, and its NCAP safety rating is a whopping 97pc. It has a 1.5-litre petrol engine, so you could go for the well-specced Intense model. It's not so high off the ground, but it's a nice height all the same.
Secondly, the Volkswagen T-Roc has front assist emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, to name just a few safety elements. Again, it comes with a 1.5 petrol engine, but also a 1.6 diesel if you choose to stick with it.
Thirdly, I can't ignore the hugely popular Toyota C-HR. We speak about it almost every week as it suits most drivers' needs, including yours for safety and seat height.
Eddie: I'd go hybrid if I were you. I think your low mileage points you in that direction. As Gillian says, the Toyota C-HR hybrid would be a good choice, but so would the KIA Niro plug-in.
I mention the latter because you have a KIA at the moment and you will do better, I feel, if you stick with the brand. I say that most weeks, I know, but it makes sense (mostly). I'd wait until January, but I would talk to your KIA dealer soon about structuring a deal. The early bird catches the worm, and a dealer would love to have a January booking at this stage of the year.
Our 2003 BMW 320d is now our second car runaround. I have it 13 years but I now have three young children. Work is 10km, school 4km (en route), so don't need diesel any more.
We need children-friendly flexibility in reasonably compact car (narrow streets).
Good if front air bag can be de-activated (for booster seat in the front if needed).
A reliable secondhand would be good. Advice?
Gillian: I am going to assume a budget of around €10k and hope I am right.
Going petrol limits the option, but it means we can focus on nice spec and room for three kids.
I am conscious you are coming from a BMW, but how about opting for a Skoda Octavia 1.2 Ambition? It's compact but roomy enough for the three young ones.
You should squeeze into a 13-plate, which was a change of model year and is nicely specced.
The Nissan Qashqai 1.6-litre could really suit you too. Ranging from €7k for a 10-reg to €11k for a 13-plate, you will have plenty of choice of colours and spec (an SVE would be great), and the narrow streets won't be an issue for its body size.
Eddie: The Qashqai probably fits your requirements the best.
There are plenty of them out there too, which is a big consideration in terms of getting what you want.
I'm thinking of buying hybrid or even EV. I commute 80km each way each day with 10km in heavy traffic. I cover 35,000km/year. Concerned about poor fuel consumption from hybrid in motorway driving. Including my 1.6 VW Passat estate trade-in, my budget could be up to €40,000.
Gillian: Electric certainly isn't for you with that mileage. Indeed, a hybrid wouldn't be really ideal either, especially if a lot of your driving is of the motorway variety.
You are still a diesel driver, so here are some options, assuming you want to buy new.
How about a Mercedes C180 diesel Avantgarde Auto? If you need an estate, however, you will need to stretch the budget out another bit.
You spend a lot of time in your car, so what about an Audi Q3 in S-Line? Once again, if you could just stretch your budget a little bit to cover the cost of an automatic, you would be driving a very sweet motor indeed.
Eddie: I'd go Passat 2-litre diesel DSG (automatic) estate. Yes, Passat again. Why not? The 1.6-litre is a bit underpowered for you I feel, which is why I'm suggesting the 2-litre.
Even in Highline spec your €40,000 budget will cope quite well.
Forget electric and hybrid this time around.
My 80-year-old mother drives a 2006 Citroen C5 diesel as she has a bad back. Suspension fantastic, but steering heavy. Please recommend a decent secondhand with excellent suspension, light steering and reliable. Our available budget is €15-€20k.
Gillian: Toyota Auris 1.2 from a 152 to 172 fits budget and needs. Reliable with light steering. Some models came with adjustable lumbar support, so look out for that.
An Opel Mokka X 1.4 sits mid-budget for a one-year-old in an SC spec. Light steering and the driver seat lumbar area can adjust electrically.
I can't help but mention the new Micra. A one-year-old comes in at the low end of your budget and a new model at the top end, and it sounds perfect for her.
Eddie: The C5 is a big car, and as Gillian has given you some smaller options, let me suggest a mix of a few different ones.
Try a Mazda3 (nice and tidy hatch) or Mazda6 saloon (around same size as C5). Both fare really well on reliability scores and have excellent suspensions and seating.
Peugeot's suspensions are always good too. The 308 (small) or 508 (large) would suit you, I think.
I'M thinking of changing my BMW 1 series 2009 diesel (170,000km). Have €11,000 budget (including trade-in). I currently do 12,000km/year, mostly short journeys. We are a family of three, so comfort is a must.
Gillian: A hatchback would suit well, and there is plenty of choice for your money. You put up low enough mileage, so petrol or hybrid would suit. Go as new possible.
How about a SEAT Leon 1.2 in SE spec? Just as reliable and comfortable as the other VW Group family hatches but a good bit less expensive.
Start your search here.
Hyundai i30/Kia cee'd come in at similar money and offer a comfortable ride. Their petrols didn't come very well specced, however, so I'd still favour the Leon.
A Mazda3 1.5 would be nice but you would need to push out to €12k for a 141 Executive, the one you would ideally want.
Eddie: Go petrol. A Ford Focus is a real option for you. As is a Mazda3 or a Honda Civic.
Our 07 Santa Fe does 70km-80km per day. Considering replacing with 1.2 petrol Peugeot 5008. Should I hold off in expectation of more hybrid seven-seat SUVs in €30-€45k bracket? What short-term replacement seven-seater that won't bomb in price would you suggest? Or should I get the 1.2 petrol 5008 and swap for a hybrid version when they arrive?
Gillian: The new 5008 is a lovely motor. I say buy now and enjoy all the pleasure that comes with taking a new car out on the road. Why wait?
It's only August and the 182 plate is still fresh, but I would say go for the highest spec GT Line model at just under €35k.
A hybrid version of the 5008 probably won't be available until the latter half of 2019. At that, I believe it will be a plug-in hybrid, not a self-charging hybrid, so it might not be what you are after, especially with your daily driving. Consult your local Peugeot dealer.
The Toyota Prius+ is a seven-seater SUV hybrid. A new one starts at €35,950. Maybe look at it too.
Eddie: I advise waiting until January (sorry Gillian). Just hold everything, including a short-term buy. I think the year is too short now for you. And I know there will be lots of models coming in over the autumn and winter for 191-sale. I would keep a close eye on what hybrids are coming between now and then. We'll have news of many here in Motors over the coming months I'm sure.
By waiting you are expanding your options several times over. And if none seem to suit, you can still fall back on the 5008 1.2-litre you mention, so it's win-win if you hold on.
We have a 2009 Volvo XC90, 65,000km; looking to buy similar seven-seater; do approx 10,000km/year. Mostly urban. Interested in hybrid. Is it better value to buy new/secondhand/PCP plan/Business customer? Should I sell our car privately? Up North? Have about €60,000 to spend including trade-in.
Gillian and Eddie: If you want a hybrid seven-seat SUV, you are limited in choice currently to the Toyota Prius+, starting at €35,950.
There is the XC90 T8 PHEV, which would be fantastic but starts at €74,750, so it's not in budget.
Your mileage and urban driving warrant a hybrid,but in a seven-seat the choice just isn't out there yet.
You should look at petrol options including the Peugeot 5008, Nissan X-Trail and Skoda Kodiaq.
Coming from the XC90, we think you should maybe look to move up a few years into the new model XC90. You could use yours as a trade-in, which answers your question about if we think you should buy new/used and sell privately.
Selling up North would be going against the norm, and there is little benefit at all.
PCP is an option that might work but may not be available on a 151/161, which is where your budget would put you. If you are a business customer, there are big savings to be made by going for the XC90 T8 PHEV as you can benefit from front-loading depreciation, which brings down the basic cost of buying. Talk to your Volvo dealer and talk to your accountant. We feel you may be on to something if you qualify as a company.
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