Monday 20 November 2017

What car for my inheritance? Car for three children? Update to smaller?

A reader wants a nice car, which isn't too flashy. Photo posed by models
A reader wants a nice car, which isn't too flashy. Photo posed by models

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 come into a few euro (through a small inheritance) and after getting rid of the mortgage, my family and I have decided it would be nice to have a new car for a change. I have two daughters, 18 and 20, who are still at home so we want something roomy and stylish. All four of us can drive. We'll keep our current car, a Volkswagen Passat. We'd like something nice but not flashy. We have €50,000/€60,000 to spend. What would you suggest? I'd really appreciate your advice.

Aidan: How old is your current Passat? It might be a good idea to have two relatively modest but well appointed cars rather than an expensive one and another one that starts to develop niggles as it ages. Consider downgrading the Passat to a new Golf Allstar and getting something else that is big enough for the family. That way, your daughters can enjoy driving the new Golf but you won't get penalised on your insurance premium for adding them to a car costing in excess of €50,000. Two large family cars at this stage is potentially superfluous to your needs anyway.

Although it is getting on a bit now, the Volvo XC60 is potentially right for you. Opt for an SE Lux model with the Geartronic transmission. Then there is the new Skoda Kodiaq.

There is a new Audi Q5 coming soon so keep your eyes peeled. An automatic model Range Rover Evoque in SE Plus trim will consume your budget too. If you cover lots of short journeys and think a hybrid might work then look at the Lexus NX300h. Beautiful design and drive.

You might notice that I am recommending a lot of SUVs. The reason is because I work with residual values on a daily basis and values for premium SUVs are still very much in an extended honeymoon period.

While their strength could soon wane, the likelihood is that they will continue to retain a premium over their equivalent premium saloons cousins.

However, if you want something more traditional but still stylish and sleek, then go for a BMW 420d Gran Coupe M Sport Auto. They are relatively rare and finished to a tremendous standard.

Eddie: I'd be a huge fan of the Mercedes GLC crossover. I think it is one of the best around. Based on the Mercedes C-Class platform it may be, but it is a lot more spacious inside. Around €55,000 will get you a lot of car and spec. It's for you I think. Enjoy.

I'm currently driving a 2004 Laguna with 100,000 miles on the clock. I'm doing about 12,000 miles/year. No problems with it at present but would like to update, possibly to a smaller car (smaller than a Ford Focus). Usually just two of us but at times carry three in the back. I would have €15,000-€16,000 available. The Laguna is not worth much now. I am trying to do some research and currently am boiling it down to about three models: Hyundai i30, Renault Captur, Ford Fiesta: all 2013/2014 models. Are there others I should consider? I'd be prepared to wait until Jan/Feb, if necessary to get a better model or a reduced price.

Aidan: The first obstacle to navigate is space. Considering you need room for three in the back, however intermittent that requirement is, may I recommend that you don't go for anything smaller than a Focus.

Sure, Fiestas and such-like have space for three, heck I spent my childhood in the back of a Starlet; but you might find the readjustment from your Laguna to be too severe. Besides, you mention the i30 as having caught your eye and it is Focus-sized. Even the Captur is slightly bigger than most superminis so I encourage you not to downsize to the point of inconvenience.

The next consideration is fuel type. You are on the threshold of getting away with a petrol car. I know you drive a diesel but that doesn't mean you need another one. The good news is that you have myriad options to choose from. You have a budget in the sweet spot of the used-car market.

What about sticking with Renault? There were some strong offers on the run-out Megane (gone since July). You won't pick up a nearly new one but your budget will definitely see you into a Dynamique 141/142 plate model.

The Captur is a fine choice too. A bit fresher design-wise than the Megane so it's arguably a better choice. Again, you seem to want a decent trim level and Renault brings a lot to the party so you can expect all of the latest gadgetry without a hefty price premium. Neither the Skoda Yeti nor the Nissan Juke are everybody's cup of tea but they have their following and rightly so. Both come in petrol or diesel and are usually sold in mid to high equipment grades. Look for a Yeti Urban or Style model or a Juke SV.

I have recommended the Peugeot 2008 a lot. Great diesel engine and Active trim is popular but an Allure will give you all the bells and whistles. Worth a close look in my book. Last, if my petrol hunch is right then opt for the Auris 1.33 Luna. The latest model is out since 2013 and it will be everything you need it to be.

Eddie: Buy yourself a KIA cee'd Sportswagon (estate). It has good space, is NOT a Crossover, and remains fresh looking. They tend to age well and you'll pick up a good one for the money you have.

I think it is a good mix of size and space for you. And you'll most likely get a good chunk of what is left of the seven-year warranty.

I would really appreciate some advice. We have a 2011 Passat and I'm thinking of changing it for a new one. We are also thinking of having a third child so I was wondering if I can fit three car seats in the back of the car. We would have a six-year old, three-year old and a baby.

Aidan: You are probably using booster seats for your six and three-year-olds, so the addition of an ISOFIX baby seat is more a question of comfort than space because there is enough room to fit everybody in.

The Passat is a big car so it should be capable but you won't know until you test the two youngsters in the back with their seats and then fit an ISOFIX baby seat in one of the outer seats.

I can't categorically state that the arrangement will be fine because it's all about perspective and what you determine to be appropriate. If it works out okay, then go for a Comfortline or Highline 1.6 TDi. Keep your eyes peeled for lower APR rates on higher grade models.

The same goes for the Skoda Superb. It's massive. An Ambition model will be ample. If neither the Passat nor Superb are roomy enough then you need an MPV because saloons at your budget don't get much bigger than those. If that is the case then consider a new VW Touran. It's generously sized without being overkill for you. As your children grow so will their circle of friends and with them comes additional demands on seats. Buy the Passat next time around. If the appetite for properly minded MPVs in a few years is as insatiable as it is now, then the Touran will represent an attractive trade-in proposition to a VW dealer against a new Passat.

Also, Volkswagen is running an Innovation Pack offering on its new Touran. Spend an extra €162 over a Trendline model and you get a panoramic sunroof, parallel parking assistant, fog lights, and a 6.5in touch screen. Usually, those extras would run you €4,000.

Eddie: What you need with that age profile of young passenger is a people carrier (MPV) and the one with the track record for having three ISOFIX anchor points (I know you might not need all three at once but no harm to have them) in the second row is the Citroen C4 Picasso. It is hugely popular. There should be a good selection of fairly fresh cars now.

The main reason I advocate a people-carrier is the added height and ease of access for you and your children. This becomes more important as the years roll by. The Passat is a fine car but you need something more specific.


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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