Thinking of buying new or trading up this year? Here are answers to your crucial questions


Thinking of buying new or trading up this year? Here are answers to your crucial questions



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.

We have an 03 Corolla. Need to change next year. I came across a 151 Auris 1.4 diesel (20k) €15,000. Seems a good deal but should I buy a diesel? Hybrids are dear for second car. Or do I buy a new petrol and get a scrappage deal. My annual mileage is 12,000km. We have a 161 Verso diesel, so we don’t want a double hit.

Gillian & Eddie: Keep the Verso for another while to lessen the hit on it. Your 03 won’t make you any money back but you could use it on a scrappage offer. Your annual kms don’t warrant a diesel, so while you did come across a good deal, it’s probably not where you should be putting your €15k. Petrol or hybrid would be where we’d be going.

How about sticking with an Auris, which is available in both? The new-model 1.2 petrol came out in 152 and you would get a nice Luna spec for your budget.

You would need to stretch to around €16k for the same year in the hybrid. Or you could go back to a 13/14 plate and have a lower cost to change, starting at around €12,500 for the Luxury model.

We have a 15-reg Ford C-MAX Zetec 1,498cc diesel with 21,000km. We’re both almost 60, needing the comfort and height of an MPV. We’re living in Dublin, retired, with family in Cork and Tipp, so mileage at most will be under 10,000km a year. In the bigger picture of diesel, hybrids and electric, could you please advise, is it wise to change our car now with a view to economy and maintaining value going forward?

Gillian: In your three years of driving, your car is now worth around 50pc of the original price. You have taken most of the hit already, and if the C-Max suits you for size and comfort, then I would say keep for another year anyway.

You probably shouldn’t have bought a diesel in the first place but since 08 diesel is all anyone bought. The new norm is buying hybrid but not everyone can afford to for the years that they have been around, so there are still buyers out there who only have a diesel choice and they will still be there next year.

If you are happy to take the hit now and want to change into something new, how about a Seat Arona 1.0 petrol? Great value starting at €17,995 for the S 95 model, which won’t cost you too much to come up three years. Ride height and comfort are every bit as good as its rivals and I would have no reservation for its resale value. Other options include C3 Aircross, Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic.

There are hybrid options available for closer to the money that you spent on the C-Max but in bigger body shapes than my suggestions and perhaps not required by you both.

Eddie: The value your car has already lost is money out of your pocket and the next buyer is the one who will benefit most. I think I’d wait a year, probably two. With your really low mileage, depreciation will taper off now and there will still be keen demand for good diesels for a long time. There will also be a lot more hybrids to choose from over the next few years. The latter is critical for you and will play into your strategy of switching from diesel eventually. But if you feel you really need to change then I’d follow Gillian’s advice.


I have a 2007 Lexus GS 450h. The mileage is 300,000km. My average is 30,000/year. I want an SUV. My budget is €15,000. I am exempt from VRT and VAT as I am the driver of a disabled passenger. I am thinking about buying new or importing from the UK. I am looking for a big SUV (3.5 to 4-litre). Your suggestions please

Gillian: You really are going against the grain looking for a large-engine vehicle. Sadly, buying new with that budget isn’t an option for you. Most large SUVs start at a new price of €40k for a 2.0/2.2 engine. The market for new 3.5/4.0 engines is almost non-existent except for the big boys like Audi, BMW and Land Rover, which will not come anywhere close to your budget. I usually recommend shopping Irish, but you might need to go to the UK for what you want. That way you have more choice used that will allow you to use your exemption on VRT and VAT.

How about looking for an Audi Q7 or BMW X5? Both would be for a 12 plate for your money and, coming from the Lexus, they will offer you a similar level of spec and comfort to what you’ve been used to.

Eddie: Never thought I’d say this but a BMW X5 import is probably as good as it gets for you considering your requirements.

I really need some help figuring out what car to buy. I recently sold my VW Polo, my first car, and I got €6.5k for it. I commute daily from southside Dublin to northside, so I spend a lot of time on the M50. I am leaning towards something big and high like an SUV – something which will stand its ground on the M50. Ideally automatic. Hoping to get something no older than a 152/161. Budget is coming in at about 20k – am I being realistic? I’ve really no clue – I’m 25 and female. If I can’t get an SUV for that price range, do you have any other suggestions?

Gillian & Eddie: An automatic SUV will fit your budget. But coming from a Polo we suggest you look at smaller SUVs as they might just be what you are after.

The Mazda CX-3 is a nice motor and a 16-reg GT SL would suit your pocket. This is the high-end spec with leather as standard.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 diesels have been around for ages and there are plenty on the market, so model choice is huge. Look for a 1.5 dsl SV and you should get into a 152. If you do want to go larger and automatic, you will need to go back to a 141/142 and we would suggest looking at a Mazda CX-5 2.2 dsl Executive SE as there would be a good few around in auto.

If you don’t mind going manual, your options open up to include a Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, both in a 152 and still current models.

I’m looking for advice for a second-hand car. My last car was a 1.3l Mitsubishi Space Star. I had it for 11 years. I will be retiring on a small pension in a few years. At the moment it’s public transport to work but I need a car for shopping and weekend trips. I do a 280km motorway round trip two or three times a month. My average yearly mileage is around 12,000- 16,000kms. My budget is €10,000 but I could stretch to €13,000-€14,000 for the right car (no trade-in, I’m a cash buyer). Usually there is only me in the car. A petrol Toyota Yaris would seem ideal, but I don’t particularly like the car (mostly the gears). A petrol Auris 1.33-litre would be a little larger than I need. I might get a 141 model for my budget. I’m also thinking maybe a Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz or a Skoda Fabia 1.2 litre. The Fabia is supposed to be good on fuel economy but does it have the longevity of a Toyota? My dilemma is, do I push to my maximum budget and buy a car that will last me for 10 years while I’m still earning? My instinct is to go for the ‘for ever’ car now but I’m worried there will be so many hybrid and electric models around in four to five years that any petrol car I buy now will be outdated by then and resale value will plummet. My salary is low but my pension will definitely be lower. Do I buy an older, cheaper car now with a view to keeping it for five years and looking to change to a small hybrid or electric when I retire?

Gillian & Eddie: This is a dilemma facing many buyers and one worthy of more space than is devoted to it here. But we will return to it soon because a lot of people are asking questions along these lines.

First off, we would suggest buying now with a plan to keep it for around four to five years. Change again then in another four to five years.

In the meantime, you have 10 years to gather savings that will allow you to buy your for ever car for cash near retirement. If you plan to keep your next car for the four to five year period, then go for as new as possible.

The car jumping out at us is the new Nissan Micra 1-litre. Sounds like the right size for you, will still only be a five to six years old when you sell on and only launched last year, so it is fresh. The SV is the spec to look for. It will mean pushing out the budget to your top end of €14k but we think it’s worth it.

There will be plenty of choice in hybrids and electrics over the next few years and you can make up your mind then what you want to go to. Your suggestions of Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz and Skoda Fabia 1.2-litre are all excellent choices too and we have no concern over the longevity of the Fabia. Best of luck.

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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