Monday 18 December 2017

Where will I get the cash? New Audi? We need hybrid car for towing


Audi A3 saloon
Audi A3 saloon

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 love reading your answers to everyone's questions on how to spend their hard-earned cash or, at least, their borrowed cash. But my problem is, where will I ever source money to buy a family car?

The number of children means a 7-seater, a real one not a pretend with no space and where there'll be rows every time we plan a trip.

I've pulled through bankruptcy nearly a year (it was business-related). I've an 06 7-seater and could do with changing over the next 12-18 months. I'll keep it going; it's worth approx €7k-€8k. But I know I will find it impossible to get finance. Or will I?

No one wants to take a trade-in, or they'll insult you with a price while looking for full retail on their vehicle.

Really, I need to know how to get finance with a shot credit history - even a starter package to prove I mean business again.

Aidan: I am not a qualified financial advisor, but still I think there are some pragmatic things you can do so.

I suggest you stick to mainstream lenders and try to structure a deal. If that means that you can't borrow as much as you might like, then so be it.

I think it would be prudent to start setting aside a few euro each month. I realise this won't be easy but as you say, you have a good lead-in time of about 12 to 18 months before you really need to upgrade so any regular savings could stand to you no matter how small.

Until recently, MPVs have been quite scarce on the market as families who buy them tend to drive them into the ground to maximise their ownership and reduce the expense of trading out of their cars regularly.

However, MPVs are never so rare that buyers are confined to buying new models only. Regardless of when you eventually change, I would be quite confident you will find a good used MPV.

Be sure to contact us again when that time comes and we will point you in the right direction.

Lastly, forget trading in your car. It is now beyond retail age for most dealers. That makes life less complicated as at least one decision is made.

Keep the car in as good condition as you can. Retain receipts for service work, tyres etc and sell it privately while it still has a healthy duration of NCT and tax left on it.

Eddie: The absolutely essential thing to do here is to make contact with your bank or credit union manager, however difficult you might find that. It is amazing what the personal touch can do.

Sit down and talk to them. Make no bones about what has transpired. Emphasise you are personally and independently out to show you can repay a car loan, and the best way to do that is to start saving as much as you can every week in a special account with them.

As Aidan rightly says, you have time on your side to re-establish real creditworthiness and trust. Realistically, you may have to pay a little above the odds for a loan (you may not) but the vital thing is to keep in contact with the manager and prove your worth.

It might mean sacrificing something else but start by getting money regularly into that savings account asap.

We'll sort you out on buying a car when the time comes. Hopefully by then you'll be in a much stronger financial position.

I have a 2009 Audi A4 2.0L TFSI (211 bhp) with 68k miles. At the next major service it will need a timing belt and probably brake pads and tyres, so I thought it was time to change and put the money towards a new-model Audi.

Annual mileage is about 12k (mostly country; odd trip to Dublin) and as my wife has a primary certificate she can get €10k VRT and VAT off as a driver a new car, which makes it even more affordable.

The only adaptation she needs for now is a steering ball, so no big outlay there. I do most of the driving (hence the current model). Budget is €300/month, so I thought a new A3 petrol S-line model (there's a 1.5TFSi 150 hp coming out in July). I think the engine is a good fit for size of car and won't be a huge difference power-wise from what we have.

We were considering PCP, which we're happy, with but the dealer is pushing a 2.0 TDI (I suspect for an easier resale). The only other powerful petrol model I was considering was a Golf GTI but the boot is a bit small, unfortunately, and insurance might be an issue. I would appreciate your advice.

Aidan: You have driven a thirsty petrol engine without complaint and your mileage puts you squarely into a petrol car, so stay on your original tack. I have not yet driven the 1.5 TFSi engine in the A3. Presumably, it is slicker than the 1.4 TFSi, which was smooth as butter to begin with. It sounds like a perfect fit for you.

Are you opting for a 4dr saloon or 5dr Sportback? I prefer the saloon. It does a great job of retaining its premium on the used market, so you should not be at a loss by buying it. S-Line is certainly the preferred spec option if you can afford it but I would also encourage you to consider the automatic versions.

Audi's S-Tronic gearbox copes equally well when trundling about town as it does when you want to give the car a bit of a blast. I like it and I think you will too.

As for the PCP route, you should do the maths and determine if you will likely move again in three years.

If you already know that you will hold on to the car for longer, then traditional hire purchase might suit you better.

As an aside, deposit amounts on hire purchase can be whatever you like. The bigger the better.

When it comes to PCP, talk to your dealer about the deposit amount as you want to structure the deal so that you are still likely to have a chunk of equity at the end of the loan agreement.

I wish you had not mentioned the GTi because I would happily take it over most other cars. It is hard for anyone who has not driven one to understand just how great a car the GTi is but I still think you should stick with the A3 for now.

Eddie: The 4dr A3 saloon with 1.5-litre petrol engine is your car. No doubt about that at all. I'd probably say PCP over HP but do your sums carefully. Lovely car in prospect: pep and practicality.

We have a Prius 2010 with 135,000km on the clock. We are more than happy with it - near-silent drive, fuel efficient, low emissions.

However, we need a car that can pull a horse box and don't want to have two cars. Apparently, it is not possible to put a tow bar on a Prius.

We were wondering if there is a car that would have a vehicle towing capacity of no more than 2,000 kg, electric with a back-up petrol engine and qualify for the government grant for new electric cars.

Our budget is not fixed as we have the option to borrow, although safe to say the Tesla is out of our range.

What would you suggest? We do about 12k km annually. PS: We are adamantly opposed to diesel.

Aidan: You say you want an "electric car with a back-up petrol engine". I see hybrids the other way around- a petrol car with a supplementary electric motor - but it never ceases to amaze me how quickly people are readjusting their views of hybrids and electric vehicles in general.

Diesel is quickly and unjustifiably turning into a dirty word. But for the moment diesel serves many purposes, one of which is towing.

You will struggle to find something that suits here. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) has the engine technology you are after but it has a maximum braked towing capacity of 1,500kg.

The towing capacity of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid fares 10pc better at 1,650kg. Unless I am mistaken, it is only when you get to the likes to the Lexus RX that you will have the pulling power for two tonnes.

In general, petrol vehicles lag their diesel counterparts when it comes to pulling trailers. So it is back to the drawing board, unless you can buy a heavy-metal hybrid.

Perhaps you need two cars, and one of them should be a diesel.

Sorry, but it's a case of 'horses for courses' and, when it comes to towing, it's a one-horse race with diesel winning by many lengths.

Eddie: Given your aversion to diesel, you have little alternative but to look at a larger petrol hybrid (conventional or plug-in).

The Lexus RX is an obvious one (2,000kg towing capacity with brakes) but at €71,000 is a budget stretcher. Same goes for the Volvo XC90 T8 petrol plug-in (2,200 kg) at €84,200 and BMW X5 and Audi Q7 e-tron etc.

Would you consider a Subaru Forester with a 2-litre petrol engine? It costs from around €38,000. Might suit you best of all I think.


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)

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