Family fortunes: Let us help you spend €20,000 on a family Crossover (SUV)
Here are three we think you should consider
This week Aidan Timmons teams up with Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham to help you make a better decision when buying a used compact Crossover. Aidan visits dealers all over the country, each year, 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: This week it is the fastest growth area in motoring: compact family crossovers. Tough call; some good motors out there.
Aidan: I've picked three for this week. Three more next week?
Aidan: Here goes.
KIA SPORTAGE 1.7 EX
Background: When the present generation Sportage was unveiled in 2011, it was a fly in the ointment for the Nissan Qashqai, which until then had enjoyed four years without serious competition. It got it from the Sportage. So did family saloons.
Engines: The Sportage initially arrived with a 1.7 litre diesel and was followed in late 2011 by the 2.0 litre diesel. The 1.7 is the more popular choice as it was more than €4,000 cheaper than the 2.0 in 2012. There is ample power and excellent fuel efficiency from the 1.7.
Residual values: Really good values are due to limited availability. Ironically Kia's seven-year warranty is the culprit here. Most owners don't feel compelled to trade in their Sportages and so stock is scarce. Simple supply and demand mean the Sportage holds its value exceptionally well.
Cabin: The exterior look is complemented by a smart interior. Watch out for the earlier EX models. They came with sunroofs as standard in 2011 but were an optional extra or part of the EXS spec thereafter. The EX also came with half-leather, Bluetooth, front fogs, air-con and cruise control. It's the pick of the bunch.
Choice: If you are in the market for a Sportage you'd better act fast. They come and go in the blink of an eye. You might have to settle for an entry level LX model but at this budget you should still be just about covered to get the better equipped EX.
Watch out for: Nothing serious. Kia's seven-year warranty comes with some stipulations about when and how their cars should be serviced. Ensure the one you are buying comes with the remainder of the manufacturer's warranty and then you have nothing to worry about.
Owners of the previous Sportage are not nearly as happy with the visibility out the rear window in the new one. It is not an issue for those buying one for the first time. Something to watch out for.
HYUNDAI IX35 1.7 COMFORT
Background: When it rains it pours. The ix35 was released at the same time as the Sportage and was every bit as popular as its Korean cousin. If you are in the market for a crossover, the ix35 has to be on your list. It yields two years warranty to the Sportage but even at this price you will still have a couple of years' peace-of-mind driving ahead of you.
Engines: Like the Sportage, the 1.7 came first, followed by the 2.0 litre and most people opted for the former because it was cheaper. It's a straightforward diesel engine that pulls well through every gear.
Residual values: When new, the ix35 costs as near as makes no difference the same as the Sportage (€27,000 plus metallic paint and delivery costs). However, such is the scarcity of the Sportage that the ix35 loses out a little bit as it gets older. This doesn't mean the ix35 has poor residuals. They are still phenomenal and better than most family saloons.
Cabin: Again, not a massive departure from the Sportage. There are lovely chrome features around the air vents and steering wheel. The boot is enormous and it's comfortable. Comfort models are the equivalent of the LX in the Sportage.
Choice: At this budget you shouldn't have any problem finding a 2011 1.7 litre Comfort model. Higher spec 'Premium' versions are quite scarce but don't tend to fetch a great deal more than Comforts so they make an excellent buy. 2.0 litres cost around the same as 1.7s but don't be surprised if you are asked for up to €500 more.
Watch out for: I think the suspension is a little soft and to me it feels less surefooted when tackling bends at speed. As with the Sportage, make sure the remainder of the manufacturer's warranty is in place; otherwise you could be at a disadvantage.
Fine car this and might be a better-value second-hand buy in terms of real money because the Ford Kuga is still a bit expensive and the Sportage seems to have a bit of a premium due to the seven-year warranty.
FORD KUGA 2.0 TDCI ZETEC
Background: The Kuga's pricing blurs the lines in the crossover versus SUV debate. It arrived shortly after the Qashqai and was priced higher than Nissan's crossover but less than the Toyota's Rav4. In a sense, it's a crossover of a crossover. But silly market politicking aside, it's big, powerful and a great choice if you've got €20,000 in your back pocket.
Engines: The Kuga comes with Ford's fine 2.0 TDCi engine. I'm a big fan of it and I don't think it gets the appreciation it deserves.
There are some niggles to watch for but they're mainly due to neglect and improper maintenance. It's got 140bhp, which is ample in a car this size.
Residual values: Almost as tricky to describe as the car itself. Costing more than the ix35 and Sportage means that freshly used models still hold a premium over these rivals. As the Kuga ages, it loses this premium and becomes similarly priced to the others. Not great news for those who buy new Kugas but excellent news for anyone in the used market.
Cabin: I'm not especially taken with Ford's interior styling but, thankfully, the Kuga is a little less cluttered. Most Kugas sold with Zetec spec and look great with 17ins alloys, lots of silver trim and a clever split-boot opening mechanism. The Kuga is really comfortable for long journeys.
Choice: There are lots of 2.0 TDCi Zetec models. Most are front-wheel-drive versions too. Expect to pay an additional €1,500 for the all-wheel-drive option. Kugas are relatively plentiful and represent very good stock for dealers of all brands. Even non-Ford dealers might offer 12 months warranty with a Kuga of this age.
Watch out for: Neglected models will blow turbos. DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters) will expire at varying points depending on how the car was used. It's an inexact science. A slightly higher mileage but properly driven model could be less troublesome than a car with low mileage.
The previous Kuga had its price cut to compete with the Qashqai for a while. Last year they gave the current model a serious overhaul but I think the price is a bit stiff. Best handling in class. I think the new one overshadows old and you should benefit.
Eddie: Three more next week Aidan?
Aidan: Look forward to it.