Friday 23 March 2018

Wife wants bigger car. What should I bring home? Car for a move to suburbs?

An electric car works better for a short commute
An electric car works better for a short commute

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 discovered I will not be able to drive for some time after a major operation. My wife, who does not drive much, will have to take over, but she does not want to drive our Toyota Auris. There is nothing wrong with it but she wants something bigger, and says I will need more room too when I am a passenger. What would you suggest? I would like to have it sorted before the operation.

Aidan: Firstly, best of luck with your operation, and our best wishes for a speedy and full recovery. It sounds like your wife is considering an MPV. There is probably no need to opt for a seven-seater, although they will be more plentiful. However, you could find that a Ford C-Max provides ample room without the premium price tag.

The Grand C-Max has seven seats but try both options and settle on whichever you think will suit best. The C-Max is built on the Focus chassis but has a taller seating position and offers more space. A brand new model arrived in June 2015 but if your budget doesn't stretch to €25,000 for a used Zetec model, then take a look at the old version.

The Auris is in good demand so take it to a Toyota dealer and see if they have a Verso MPV to offer you. A little over €20,000 will buy a 2014 Verso Luna Skyview.

I also encourage you to look at the Citroen Berlingo Multispace or Peugeot Partner Tepee. Both are built on the same platform that is shared with their respective vans but don't let that put you off as they are versatile.

Also, keep on the lookout for a used VW Caddy Maxi or Caddy Maxi Life. It's a little more expensive brand new, but it will be in good demand when you are back on your feet and look to sell it on. Then there are SUVs. The Toyota Rav4 is a solid choice considering your present car. The VW Tiguan is worth consideration too, as there will be a good few around owing to a new model launch. Or perhaps a Mazda CX-5; a big, spacious, well-built car with loads of room and comfortable seats.

Eddie: It seems your wife would feel better in a taller, roomier car. I don't think you need a seven-seater MPV but I would suggest you get a car with good headroom so you are as comfortable as possible getting in and out. I'm going to suggest the functional-looking Skoda Yeti. It is not everyone's cup of tea but it ticks a lot of your boxes.

You can also look at the Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai ix35, Ford Kuga, etc. I just think the Yeti will suit your circumstances best.

I'm living in the UK and have been driving a 320D BMW Sport Plus for the past year. To say this car took me a while to source would be an understatement.

It is a mid-2011 reg with 65,000 miles (approx 105,000km). Mechanically, it is like new. I have lived in the UK for a few years and have the car more than six, so I believe I can clear the VRT at no financial cost as a one-off when I get to Ireland.

However, my understanding is that if I go down this route I would be unable to sell the car on for 12 months. I think, therefore I would lose quite a lot of money in depreciation over the next two years if I were to keep it.

My problem is I'm moving back to Ireland in the next 6/8 months and am unsure about bringing the car with me. Would you recommend me changing and bringing a newer car back with me, or would you recommend keeping the car I have for the next 18/24 months and changing after that period? I have £8-10k to put with the value of my current car as a trade-in. Which way would I lose less?

Aidan: This is a difficult question because we are dealing with future residual values, a potentially VRT-exempt vehicle, different ownership cycles, and foreign exchange rates.

When it comes to matters concerning Revenue and tax compliance, I have to defer to the relevant literature. It is easily found on Revenue's website. This will clear up your query concerning transfer of residence and any preclusion from selling the car upon your return; but it goes so much further than that.

VRT exemption for 12 months comes with some stipulations. Do your homework thoroughly. If everything works in your favour, then sell your current 3 Series and upgrade to the F30 model. You know for certain that the cost to change for three years is around €12,000, or €4,000 per reg plate. You can check the market today and confirm it.

What is less certain is what your cost to change will be for moving from your 2011 old model to a 2016 model (buying a two-year-old car, two years from now). Furthermore, it is prudent to assume that the 2016 model will then be obsolete. How this will affect your cost to change takes some effort to quantify.

And then we have the unknown potential for you to experience problems out of warranty with your 2011 model. One big-ticket item could be enough to wreck whatever savings you make by keeping it and spreading depreciation over a longer term.

Buy the newer car now and enjoy it. But check the warranty because Irish BMW dealers will give you 24-months with unlimited mileage, so it might work out better to simply sell your own, move home and buy here instead.

Eddie: You say you go to a lot of trouble getting the car you really want. And now your enjoyment of it is being undermined by trying to out-think the market, with Brexit and everything else we don't know. I suggest you sell your six-year-old because it is at a tipping point of trade-in value. You've got to just concentrate, I think, on keeping as new a car as possible under you, regardless.

If you do that, then everything else should fall into place. If you don't, you are going to end up with an old car and a lot of ground to make up to get a new one. Buy now and let everything else follow that decision.

I read your answers every Wednesday but you never mention hybrids or electric cars. I am a 40-something, single, renting in Dublin. I haven't needed a car for many years as I have great public transport. However, things are changing and I will need to move out to the Greater Dublin area and commute. Unfortunately the public service is poor where I'm going so I will need a car. I have €25,000 to spend. I want something that will last because, with a new mortgage, I won't be able to afford another new car for many years again.

Aidan: I mention hybrids quite a bit but almost never electric vehicles (EVs). The questions we field never really prompt any reason to recommend them. They are niche but they will get there. But one might just suit you.

With various grants, you can afford a new Nissan Leaf. There is a quick charge option available too. It's a spacious car and does not require learning to drive all over again. The single forward gear automatic can feel odd at first, but that's about as irregular as EVs get.

I am not aware of any serious issues with battery degradation, either. You will also get some premium location parking in the city. Personally, I like hybrids or PHEVs (Plug-in Electric Hybrids; where you can drive and charge both on the go and from mains) because they offer more versatility for longer journeys.

How long is your Greater Dublin commute and what are traffic conditions like? A hybrid is better if you want longer range. Not sure you need to spend your whole budget. A Yaris HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) is listed at just under €21,000 excluding metallic paint and delivery-related charges. There is an Auris hybrid too, but it is probably superfluous for your needs. PHEVs are dearer again, so a used one is your best bet. Look for the VW Golf GTE.

Eddie: You've got to forget genres here and think much more closely about what you really need in the medium term. If you are only going to commute, buy a Nissan Leaf. If you are going to need the car for longer journeys (weekends), or if there is the prospect of starting a family, you may need to think hybrid, or 'ordinary' diesel or petrol. I'd buy a hybrid if I were you.I would look at a Toyota Auris hybrid. You'll get your commute and longer-journeys in one go. You won't buy one with bells and whistles for €25k new but you will be in a car that will last you for years.


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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