Are you looking to buy a new or second-hand car? Ask our experts


Are you looking to buy a new or second-hand car? Ask our experts


Ford Kuga
Ford Kuga

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

My sister-in-law is returning from abroad. Budget is €10-12k max with no trade-in. Likely daily commute of 15km with mainly local weekend use (max 40km run) and four-six cross country trips a year. Something bigger than Fiesta size eg: Auris, Focus. Hybrid, small petrol?

Gillian: All good suggestions. I would probably start with the Focus as €12k will pick up a 151 plate and this will still feel pretty fresh, so long as it has been well minded of course. I’d be on the lookout for a Titanium spec and the petrol model which has a 1.0 turbo so there is a nice bit of poke too. Not sure if she likes white it’s a great colour for a Focus, I think.

The Auris would be a good buy too and there are petrol and hybrid options. You would be lucky to find a 151 in budget with a nice spec. A 141/142 would be closer to the mark for the 1.33 petrol or a 131/132 hybrid. She won’t want to buy into trouble so I’d stick with reliable but fun. So how about a Nissan Juke 1.2 or Mazda3 1.5 (although this might be a little thirstier than the others)?

Eddie: I’d definitely add a Honda Civic petrol hatch. Unfortunately you’ll probably have to dip back a bit on the years but they tend to give little trouble and keep their value well.

I am replacing my 131-reg VW Passat 1.6 diesel. Looking for a car that is comfortable, with good fuel efficiency; I do 100km a day; need good safety spec (parking sensors) and if it has Android Auto it’s a bonus.

I am not sure if I should move to petrol and/or to a lower cc engine. I will be looking for same fuel efficiency as I have with the Passat. Have to assume my budget will not stretch to a new car so looking for used from 161 or newer. Budget €22/€24k; annual mileage 26,000km; need five seats.

Gillian: I will give you options for both scenarios: if the budget mentioned includes a trade-in and if it is plus your trade-in. For the former, how about a newer Passat? Same engine size and it had a change of model (since 151) so more current and has a pretty impressive Highline spec you could pick up as a 171-reg.

Or how about a Skoda Superb for similar reasons? Kia’s Optima is a good option too. Most sold in Platinum spec which means a lot of goodies and a 2017 plate is attainable. If you had around €30k to spend, have you thought about venturing into the SUV market? Sticking with the VW Group, SEAT have the Ateca 1.6 dsl and Skoda have the Karoq. Both are priced around €30k new and are worth a look.

If the Ateca does take your fancy, it is out since mid-2016, so even for the lower budget, you should squeeze into a 171.

Eddie: I’d also seriously think of a Peugeot 3008 SUV if you have around €30,000 of a budget.

It’s got a great interior and a choice of diesel or petrol. It would be my pick.

I currently own a 141 VW Golf TDi. It has 112,000km. Timing belt needs to be done soon. It’s in great condition with full service history. I have it three years now. I am looking at changing it. Any advice on value of car and best time to sell?

Not sure whether to keep or trade in. I am looking at trading in for an SUV type. Currently looking at Toyota RAV4. Any advice on these about fuel economy and sell-on value?

Gillian: A rough value for your own is €9k-€11k. This is a trade-in/private sale value and not what you would expect to buy one for. The dealer or new owner will have some money to spend on it, no matter how great its condition.

The average many people hold onto a new car now is three years so I’d say change.

I can’t fault the RAV4. I have no issues to report and they are making good money now, along with most SUVs, so I would be happy with that change. Other models to look at include the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga.

You would need to drive each to see which you like best as really they are all good moves from your Golf into the SUV market.

Eddie: I like the Sportage and think it would suit you for some reason. Not as fond of the older RAV4 at all, nor the Kuga though it is much better since being revised a couple of years back. Sorry Gillian. Hyundai Tucson well worth a look too.

I drive an 07 Audi A4 1.8T petrol, 155,000 km; annual tax €636, NCT €55, before any work – and quite thirsty if driven at all. I do about 15/17,000km, mixed city and motorway driving.

We have kids aged 10, seven and five years. They don’t like going anywhere in the A4 as they find it cramped already and they are only going to get bigger. My wife drives a 08 Ford S-Max, which they prefer, and we use instead of mine. I have a budget of around €11,000 plus my own, by private sale or trade in.

I don’t mind petrol or diesel, and my mileage is low, so petrol probably makes sense. I would like something half decent, as it is a business vehicle, and automatic would be great. Any suggestions?

Gillian: I can see the appeal of an Audi as your business vehicle but perhaps not as something to transport three growing kids. You are out of bulky car seats, which eliminates the need for a second family 7-seater, but you do need a car with a generous second row of seats.

With a full budget of around €13k, finding a petrol will be tricky, so you might have to stick with diesel this time around.

I don’t think I have recommended this one before but it sounds like it would suit you.

It’s the Honda Accord 2.2 dsl Type-S auto. A 131 might be possible; if not then you should find a 12 model. Another odd one is a Subaru Legacy Outback. While the Accord will fit your three kids comfortably, the Legacy happily seats three adults in the back so should prevent some arguing down the line.

The trouble is they are pricey and scarce. One that works well for families of five is the Kia Sorento. You might be lucky and find a 2011/2012 in auto. It does mean another big car outside the house and screams ‘dad’ not ‘business man’.

I’d suggest you take a quick look at the Skoda Superb too, as it might just work for you for another couple of years anyway.

Eddie: I’d also have a think about a reasonably fresh Volvo XC60 crossover. Why? It’s a real smart looking car, is good to drive (diesel though), but even with all the excellent choices from Gillian I think it would fit more as a business car for you – something by which you seem to set some store. If you could stretch a few thousand euro more (but don’t if it would put you under any pressure) it would be all the easier a decision because you’d come up in the years for what would be a great buy.

I got a 2014 BMW 1-series last May as my first car. It had 143,000km on the clock. It’s on a five-year car loan. I had no idea how much mileage I’d do and I’ve driven 32,000km since. If I maintain it and service it, will it last me the next few years or am I best changing? And if I was to change how would I go about it as I still have four years left on my loan? The repayment is €290 a month, but I’d be able to afford €400 if needed.

Gillian: If it’s a personal loan then it’s a simple case of selling your car or trading it in and getting another car and topping up your loan if needed. If it’s a loan tied to the car (hire purchase) you’ll need to clear the outstanding amount before you apply for another loan. If you are doing it through a garage they can help, but if you are planning to sell your car privately, you will need to clear the loan in full.

I would suggest you move out of it now because your current odometer reading is high. A 2014 diesel model should have an average of 90,000km-100,000km at this time. You have almost twice that. It is only set to get worse. Minding it, of course, helps and servicing when due is vital, but you would be better off looking around for a low-mileage diesel that will allow you to rack up the kms so it ends as close to average as possible in three or four years.

Eddie: Get out now while the going is fair. You will take a hit but nothing like what it will be in another year. I pray you are not on a PCP as big mileage charges can apply as soon as you exceed agreed limits. Put your first-car losses down to experience.

Get out of the posh car league for this turn anyway. Organise new repayments of €400 a month and trade your 1-series against a good, low-mileage fresh diesel. Your best bets are a Honda Civic diesel (my preference), a Skoda Octavia, Hyundai i30 or KIA cee’d. And plan on changing every couple of years so you keep your total mileage in manageable confines.

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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