'Treat-me' SUV for female exec? Best for fishing gear? The best mid-size SUV?
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 best-seller 'Clever Car Buying'.
I am a female, single executive who plays golf. I want my next vehicle to be a luxury 'treat-me' SUV. Diesel and automatic. I am trading in an 11-reg Hyundai ix35 diesel with 95,000km.
My budget is around €30,000 along with the trade in. Suggestions and an idea of the trade-in price would be really helpful. Many thanks.
Aidan: Let's start with your own car. Although I value vehicles for a living, I tend not to advise trade-in allowances at arm's reach because I do not have the luxury of being able to see the car in question.
However, you are trading in a hot product at a time that could scarcely be any better.
I consider your car's mileage to be a little saucy but not by much. Most dealers would love to see a 2011 registered ix35 arriving into their forecourt.
I suggest that to some extent you pay less attention to what the dealer offers you for your own car and instead focus on the "cost to change".
If one dealer values your car at €1,000 more than another dealer but has advertised the car that you are buying at an additional €1,000, then it is a zero sum game. Apologies if this sounds obvious but you would be surprised at how many people choose the deal which offers the greater amount for their own car.
Whichever way the deal pans out, I reckon you are shopping in the mid-to-late forties money bracket and that brings in a lovely selection of motors.
If you stick with Hyundai, the Santa Fe in Executive trim comes into play. You are already familiar with the brand and Hyundai dealers will probably cut you a fine deal if you stick with them.
Land Rover has just launched its new Discovery Sport. It has a 2.2 diesel engine and is a 5+2 seater. Leave the rear seats folded flat and the boot space will swallow your golf clubs.
HSE models might just be a slight bit out of reach but I am assured that SE trim level is very handsomely shod. It is a brand new model with no successor looming and the expectation is that its residuals should be very competitive.
I am quite partial to the Volvo XC60. It is wonderfully understated for such a large vehicle and your budget will buy you a 2WD Geartronic (automatic) SE model which has a 2.0 litre diesel engine that costs €270 to tax per year. The Volvo's interior is sleek and sophisticated.
Eddie: Here's a few other options I think you have to look at. They bring different things to the table but have that bit of 'treat-me' feel to them. It might mean breaching your existing budget but it is 'treat-me' time isn't it?
The Audi Q5 has a great cabin, chassis and excellent driving feel as well as some excellent diesel engines. Nice bit of 'snob value' too - the car is sought after. As a complete contrast would you consider the new Lexus NX hybrid? It starts from €43,950 but you'll go a few grand more for versions with more goodies (six trim levels). Nice car that is 'different'.
And you have to look at the Range Rover Evoque. It is stylish, fashionable and fun to drive.
Go on, spoil yourself and, at least, take them for a test drive.
We have just sold my wife's Mercedes E-Class. We got €14,000 for it. Now we are asking which of the following new cars we should buy: A Kia Sportage, Hyundai ix35 or Ford Kuga.
Aidan: The Sportage and ix35 are so similarly capable that the decision to purchase one over the other is ultimately a matter of taste.
The Kia seven-year warranty is an attraction but Hyundai's warranty is hardly shabby at five years.
And Hyundai's guarantee is an unlimited mileage warranty whereas Kia's stops at 150,000 kilometres. Both are similarly priced new. Both have almost identical specification.
This year, the EX model Sportage comes with leather and a reversing camera as standard, which will stand to it on the used market when it comes time to trade it back in.
Residual values for both the ix35 and Sportage are among the strongest in the entire market. If this continues, you can look forward to a very efficient cost of ownership.
The Kuga is slightly more expensive but since Ford introduced the new 115PS model at €29,995, the price difference has been narrowed. It is a fine vehicle with a lovely 2.0 litre diesel engine.
Don't forget the car that got this whole crossover phenomenon started; the Nissan Qashqai.
Personally, I prefer the 1.6 diesel engine but it costs €1,500 more than the perfectly fine 1.5 litre version.
Better to spend €1,500 on upgrading from the entry level XE model to the SV trim. It's a nicer car to live with on a daily basis.
Eddie: My advice is to also have a look at the Honda CR-V with its new 1.6-litre diesel. With lower emissions and fuel consumption than the outgoing 2.2-litre diesel, ES trim now starts from €37,495 or €2,500 below the 2.2 - not to be sniffed at.
The 6spd manual version is on sale mid-March. And it gets a facelift, more equipment and a tweaked suspension. Might be worth waiting to give this a try.
I am looking to upgrade an 01 Volvo S40 I took over from my wife which she had from new (then changed to a Toyota Verso two years ago).
I need power to tow a boat (previous Corolla petrol 1.4 managed this no problem, as does S40), room for fishing rods (Corolla hatchback was perfect - little more awkward in S40).
I want low tax, maintenance, something with 35,000km - 50,000km, 2010 or newer. Budget €10,000 including Volvo trade-in (and need to add a towbar). Diesel preferable. I am veering towards a 1.6 diesel Ford Focus as it seems to be value, available and gives me what I require.
Aidan: Your budget will just about stretch to a 2010 diesel model family hatchback. Certainly, a clean, low mileage 2010 registered vehicle with ample service record and some dealer warranty will attract this money and probably more.
I can't find fault with the Ford Focus. Solid engine, good cabin, great space, large boot; it ticks all the boxes.
The Kia cee'd SW is a good choice too. The SW denotes it is an estate and this should bode well for carrying fishing equipment.
Folding the seats flat offers additional flexibility for accommodating long or bulky items.
The 1.6 CRDi diesel performs similarly to engines in most other vehicles in this segment. Kia capitalised on the economic downturn by offering what limited buyers there was a better value for money proposition.
So, expect to find cee'd SW models with higher levels of specification than cars from its competitors. Half leather, multifunctional steering wheels, Bluetooth and air-con are not unusual. Keep your eye out for models known as EX.
The Hyundai i30 SW will perform similarly to the Kia. Both Korean brands have sterling reputations for reliability and good fuel economy.
Even considering some of the Peugeot 407's foibles, the French family saloon (or estate) represents good value for money.
Try to find one of the rarer 2.0 litre diesel versions that has been properly maintained, preferably by a Peugeot dealer, and you will have ample power, torque, space, refinement and frugality from a keenly priced motor. ST Solaire and Ultra models come with great levels of kit.
Eddie usually winces when I recommend the Citroen C5 but it is a car with which we have had different experiences.
Again, the 2.0 litre version is better than the 1.6 HDi.
Exclusive models come fully loaded and the C5 will perform similarly to the Peugeot.
Now, cue Eddie telling you to buy a Skoda Octavia in 3, 2, 1……
Eddie: Oh! dear. Am I that predictable? Okay, buy a Skoda Octavia. Makes sense. I'd also take a good look at a well-kept Volvo V50 diesel - the estate version of your S40 which I consider to have been much, much better.
It might cost a little more but it too will give you the versatility to drop the rear seats and open up loads of room for longer objects. There were some decent and well-equipped versions from 2010 and 2011 when it was on its way out.
But the Skoda's a good option too.
JUST TO SAY
WE love getting your enquiries but can’t reply to all queries in as full a manner as this due to time and space restraints.
We try to deal with as many as possible via email. But you can help us help you if you make sure to include the following critical elements in your query:
* Total budget.
* Annual mileage.
* Size of car required (number of seats).
* Present car (make, model, year and mileage).
EMAIL: ecunningham@ independent.ie