Friday 17 August 2018

Value drop shock; cert winner; prangs and all; inheritance; expensive commute

Independent advice desk

SEAT Ateca
SEAT Ateca

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 have a 161-reg Kia Sportage ES which I bought last March for €38k. I am looking to trade it in for an 181-reg. A Volkswagen dealer said my trade-in was worth €21,000. I was shocked. Would this be correct? Which car of similar type should I look at that would not depreciate so much? I have two large dogs, so boot size is important. I like SUVs because they give height and I live in a rural area. I drive 20,000km/year approx.

Aidan: You only have one dealer pricing your car at €21,000. That is not enough to go on. You need to shop around. Also, there might be a few forces at play. You're trading against a competitor model. It tends to be the case that dealers selling other brands will not get as much as they will from products within their own range. This can impact your trade-in price.

Secondly is the cost-to-change. You are, rightly perhaps, concerned by the quote, but you have not provided the new cost for replacing it. If the replacement car is say, €36,000, then you could argue you have lost €15,000, not €17,000.

The third point is the cost-to-change is earmarked for an increase in 2018. There are complicated reasons for this but, from my unique viewpoint on residual values, the market is correcting itself to a more sustainable level. However, it can come as a shock to many, as I'm sure it has come to you.

For now, stick with another Sportage. It should be more cost-effective.

Eddie: It is only natural you should be upset, but the only deal you should be interested in now is how much it will cost you to change to your next car.

A new Sportage is your best bet. Don't get caught up in the trade-in value. Your only concern should be the cost of changing.

I bought a 2014 Ford B-Max and changed it in 2016 because I had a Primary Medical Certificate for my mother. I no longer have this certificate and I am wondering is it profitable to change it in 2018 again or should I wait for another year or two? I really like the car. So far I have travelled 30,500km

Aidan: Keep your car. You like it. It has low mileage. You changed it more frequently because it was necessary and cost-effective. You don't have the Primary Medical Certificate any more, so you might find it will be a tad more expensive this time around. It is still a fresh model. Stay put for now and look again in July 2018.

Eddie: Hold onto it.

We have inherited a 132-SEAT Leon 1.6TDI (90hp, 50,000km). We only need one car. We were thinking of either selling it privately or trading it in together with our 2012 Opel Astra GTC 1.4 120hp (41,000km). I really like the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen T-Roc with their 1.5-litre engines, but maybe should go for a plug-in hybrid or fully electric. I am a bit worried about going fully electric as charging takes too long. We are only doing around 9,000km/year. I would prefer not to take out another loan. Would our two cars be enough to cover the purchase of a brand new one?

Aidan: Selling both is unlikely to cover the cost of a new T-Roc let alone a Kodiaq. There is also a massive difference in size between both, but I get the impression the Kodiaq will more than do the job considering you already drive an Astra.

You have two very nice machines, particularly the Astra, which is a juicy combination in current market conditions. I think dealers will love it.

The Leon also has low mileage for its age, so it should not be too difficult to shift. However, trading in two cars might well go against you.

Here are two routes to consider. Sell the Astra yourself and trade the Leon against a new SEAT Ateca. Go for the 1.4 TSi engine if you can afford it. Or, sell the Leon and trade the Astra against a brand-new Opel Grandland X.

Both options require you to finance. If you want to stick to used cars, then work on a total budget in the late teens and try to find a nice petrol 1.2-litre Qashqai. Opt for the SV model.

Eddie: Sorry to be blunt with you, but here's a reality check. You've just got a fresh car with low mileage and you do low mileage. I don't think you need a new car at all. Why sink into repayments for something you don't need and for which you have relatively little use?

I'd sell the Astra privately (endure the hassle) and hold the Leon for at least another couple or three years. It's a fresh car. If you can keep the Astra money and save a few euro, there will be a far better choice of plug-ins and electric cars, new or used, on the market by then. Hold tight.

I have a 2004 VW Passat TDI. I do about 10,000km a year; mostly city driving in Dublin rush-hour traffic. I need a five-seater with reasonable boot space as I have two children (but don't need car seats). I would prefer an automatic, given the driving I need to do. My major issue is I am prone to pranging the car. The Passat is well bashed and past the point of getting the bodywork fixed. This usually happens when parking or going around ramps in car parks. It happens two or three times a year. I have a budget of €15k-€20k. I am loath to spend money on a car that I am going to ruin (as is my husband). We are considering buying from the UK as it would seem there are more options available with diesel automatics there and a 2015 Passat would be possible in that budget. Parking assist would definitely help. Any advice gratefully received on the best makes/models to consider.

Aidan: You do not need a diesel car. You cover 10,000km snaking through rush-hour Dublin traffic. That is precisely the opposite driving for which diesel is built.

I love your honesty, but I hope those dings and bangs are single car accidents and don't involve other people's parked cars.

Would you consider buying an electric car? Something like a Nissan Leaf? It is an automatic with decent boot space and a very high level of equipment.

Alternatively, look at a used Toyota Auris hybrid. The model changed in 2013 and the boot space was much improved on the older model. Again, it is automatic and most models are high-grade Luna/Sol (depending on the year you buy). The middle to upper end of your budget puts you into a 2015/2016-plate model.

Eddie: I'd be inclined to go for another Passat, petrol this time, and with parking assist as your number one essential. The Passat is a sturdy motor.

I can't see you importing as you'd have to sell your car privately (difficult). You won't get a lot for it anyway, but it is worth trying your local dealers (some of whom may import). Explain your situation and insist on parking aids. Safe driving.

I have a petrol 1.4-litre 03 Toyota Corolla, 145,000km and I'm told it's worth about €1k. It's my first car, passed my test in May, insurance a factor as it's quite high with my age/experience (25, 1yr NCB) so I don't want something with a massive engine. I am doing a 150km round trip a day commute, all motorway, so around 45,000km a year. I'm looking for something more fuel-efficient as I'm currently spending €100/wk on petrol. Also something that looks good. Not the biggest factor but I would like something that looks the part for a young professional. I'm female and have a budget of €15k-€16k, including whatever I get for the Corolla. I know absolutely nothing about cars so all help appreciated.

Aidan: Buy the very best, lowest mileage, most comprehensively serviced Toyota Auris 1.4-litre diesel from a Toyota dealer. Toyota recently launched its Toyota Plus used car programme, which ensures all cars are inspected, serviced and prepared to a very high standard. The used car scheme provides a minimum of 12 months' warranty and 12 months' roadside assistance.

Insurance ratings should be low on the Auris and, with the amount of mileage you are covering, it would be wise to have the support of a local dealer should anything go wrong.

Eddie: The Auris diesel is perfect for you. Also take a look at the Honda Civic 1.6-litre diesel and the VW Golf diesel. Absolutely vital you get a low-mileage car with complete service record.

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.

ecunningham@independent.ie

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