Sunday 21 January 2018

Good time to ring the changes

But to what? Campbell Spray scours the many discounted price deals on offer for new cars under €20,000

I'M A bit of a nerdy fellow. Before we moved into the home we bought before Christmas, I scanned Which? reports and spent long hours on the internet to make sure I bought the right cooker, washing machine and 'fridge. It's the same with most other things I purchase, from holidays to stereos: research, research and even more research.

The car scrappage scheme has also got hold of me like a bad virus. We have a perfectly acceptable 2000 Nissan Micra -- which, as I say in the accompanying article, in the snow knocked spots off a very expensive BMW. However, I believe there are so many fantastic offers out there that this might be the best time to make a change. But to what?

There's no doubt that Renault is leading the pack in offering an awful lot for massively discounted prices. But do I really trust the marque yet? It's a gamble.

At the bottom end, the Ford Ka looks to be stunning value at under €8,000. Great personality and space. The Hyundai i10 is the mini car of choice wherever there is a scrappage scheme and is really impressive, and great value at €8,500. Similar car and price is the Kia Picanto, but the latter has the advantage of a seven-year warranty. Around the same price is the Nissan Pixo, which is the newest car on the block. Going up in quality, the Mini and Toyota iQ are brilliant statement cars.

The Supermini category is coming down with offers. The new Kia Venga is interesting, but established cars like the Nissan Note MPV and the always popular Peugeot 207 are worth considering. I don't like the small petrol engines in the VW Polo, but the Ford Fiesta is both attractive and brilliant to drive. Prices start from €11,700. Going up a size, the Megane is making much of the running but I would look towards the superior attributes of the Kia cee'd, Hyundai i30 and Peugeot 308. If you can go for a VW Golf, both petrol and diesel models come in at under €20,000. This is stupendous value. The Skoda Octavia is also worth a very strong look.

Anything above this doesn't really attract me, but the Peugeot 407 is offering an incredible deal -- as does its new sister, the 3008 Crossover. Best value for a big car is the Skoda Superb at under €23,000. An enormous well-built car that will last you years and impress the socks off everybody.

But going back to the smaller ones, my ideal would be a Mini, but the 207 and Fiesta are very good. At the bottom I'd go for the Ka or i10, but only with air-conditioning. Overall, my head and heart say push the boat out and get the Golf. However, if you are a Renault fan it might be wrong to fire them out of the equation. There's still more research to be done.

Sunday Independent

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