Sunday 19 January 2020

'I need a car for short journeys and the school run'


Honda Civic
Honda Civic

Car-value expert Gillian Keogh teams up with Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham to help you make the right choice with your next purchase. Gillian is Editor of a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars produced by the Motor Trade Publishers team. The team supplies a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses.

I drive a 152 Nissan Note. The PCP agreement is due to end next month. My current mileage is just under 10,000km/year. Family circumstances have changed recently and I need a car that has a good boot into which I can fit a child's wheelchair, preferably on its side rather than upright. At the moment I have to put the wheelchair behind the driver's seat because it obscures the view.

The Note is valued at about €7,500, and my dealer has told me he will take it as a trade-in and source another car suitable for me.

Maximum budget would be €10,000 including the Note as a trade-in. I just need a smallish car that has a boot that a wheelchair will fit. Generally, there is just myself and my son (8) in the car.

We are very new to this whole area and hope his use of a wheelchair will be short term. He is able to sit in an ordinary booster seat. I do know that there are grants etc (refunds of VRT and other taxes), but I am not sure if we will qualify so I need to limit my budget to what we can afford at the moment.

The car I need is really for short journeys/school run etc. The driving I do is mainly around a rural town, with occasional motorway trips.

Gillian: The first one that comes to mind is Skoda Rapid. Opt for the 1.2 petrol. Your budget would get you into a 131/132 Ambition 60 version but don't rule out a 141. Actually, a Skoda Roomster might be just what you need. A 151 1.2 Petrol Ambition would be in budget but bear in mind the Roomster was discontinued at the end of 2015, so it might feel a little dated soon.

Did your Nissan dealer mention the Pulsar to you as a next move? The boot space is quite impressive. A 142 should be just in budget for the 1.2 SV model. If not, the XE spec should work.

Eddie: First off, all here at Motors hope the wheelchair requirement is short term.

The last car I'd advocate would be a Skoda Rapid, so Gillian and I differ yet again, but the Roomster is a good, if left-field, suggestion.

I think a fresh (petrol) Ford B-Max might suit. It has been a poor seller, so there should be bargains out there. It has no central pillar, which makes entry and exit easy and opens up a lot of space.

Also think about a Honda Civic petrol. It has special seating/luggage combinations that give a lot of room and versatility.

Other than that, I'd trust the dealer to get you what suits, or I'd buy a new-as-possible Dacia Logan (estate) petrol - you'll get a 151/152 for your budget. Loads of room and lots of (basic) car for your money.

Currently driving an 08 Saab 9-3 but I'm finally in a position to splash out a bit. I'd really, really like a BMW 4-series Coupe or an Audi A5 but wouldn't rule out a BMW 3-series or Audi A4.

Generally, it's only me in the car, no kids, so 3dr wouldn't cause any issues.

I have a budget of around €25k to €30k. Is now a good time to buy or wait until the new year?

With all the recent stories about diesels, is it smarter to buy a petrol? I do 15/20,000km/year.

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.

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