Independent Advice Desk: Unsure about the ins and outs of your next car purchase? Here’s what the experts say



I’ve been waiting five months to take delivery of my new car. All I hear is that production problems and shortages for semi-conductors are causing delays.

Question 1

Should I cancel my order and wait until next year? Or will it be worse by then?

Gillian: I presume you are checking in with your dealer regularly, who should be able to give you an estimated date for delivery. We are lucky to have a second registration period so if you do manage to get your new car this month or next, then a 222 reg plate is attractive. However, if it heads into September or beyond, I advise you to hold off until the new year.

The best thing to do is discuss your concern with the dealer. The scarcity of new stock is worldwide and while some brands are coping better than others, it is a tricky situation this year.

If you decide to cancel, then get your order in early for 2023 and you should be ok for a January/February delivery.

Bear in mind that when you go to sell or trade in this new car, a 222 reg plate will generally make more than a 221 and can even make more than a 231 if the kilometre reading, spec and condition is right.

Eddie: I’d book for 2023 now. Things are not going to improve that much this year.

Question 2

My car got sideswiped recently; not my fault. It’s a five-year-old Renault Megane with a diesel engine and good spec. The car was parked when the incident occurred and I wasn’t in it.

I know it will cost a lot to repair it, so should I try to gather a few euro together and buy a newer car? Or will I be penalised for the state it is in, and would I be better getting it done and then selling?

Gillian: Sorry to hear this and thankfully you weren’t in the car at the time. You could fix the car up and keep it so your only expense is the cost of the repairs. Or if you want to sell, then yes, you have two options.

In good condition and depending on spec, a 2017 Megane can sell privately for around €13,000 with 100,000km. I would suggest you get a quote for the repairs.

Deduct this from the €13,000 and then advertise online for a little while, at that cost. Mention the damage in the ad and provide the quote for repair to anyone interested in buying. If after a few weeks you are still looking at it, get it repaired and try to sell again or trade it in against something newer.

The outcome will be similar in monetary terms anyway, it just depends on if you want to be out of pocket now or later.

Eddie: Brilliant plan. Why didn’t I think of that?

Question 3

I can buy an old Mazda 323 for half-nothing from a neighbour who no longer needs it as he has just bought a new Audi. I can also buy a five-year-old Corolla from a local garage but obviously there is a stiffer price. My own car, an old Focus, is on its last legs but has served me well. I don’t have much of a budget so I’m favouring the 323. What would you advise?

Gillian: If you don’t have much of a budget and a neighbour is willing to sell you their car at a good price, then it is the best option to me.

Neighbours/friends generally shy away from selling to people they know unless they are confident the car they are selling is in good condition, to the best of their knowledge anyway.

Mazda, like most Japanese cars, give little trouble and are cheap to run and maintain. The 323 is a great little car. Having said that, a five-year-old Corolla would also be a solid purchase.

With car values being so high, you might be better with the 323 in the interim and then go for a Corolla, or similar, when you need it and hopefully values have come back a little.

With any used car, there will always be additional costs so weigh those up against each other, including service cost (should come serviced from a garage), NCT due date, road tax cost, tyres etc.

Eddie: I’d chance the Mazda. Little risk. Just get someone to give it a really good service/going over.

Question 4

I want a hybrid for my next car. I’m giving my old Honda Civic to my younger brother as it has 140,000km on the clock and needs some work. I have €30,000 to spend between savings and a loan I can get. What would be your top three?

Gillian: Coming from a Honda, I am happy to say that my top two choices are from Toyota and hopefully up your street.

I will start with the Corolla 1.8 hybrid as your €30k will get you into a brand-new Luna spec so you won’t be forking out money on a used car, which are heavily priced at the moment.

For just over budget but not by much (€31,880), Toyota has my second choice: the CH-R 1.8 Hybrid. Not only will this introduce you to the world of hybrid, but it will also bring you into Compact SUV territory. Its style doesn’t suit everyone, but I am a big fan.

After that, the choice of new hybrids in your price bracket is limited. So, it might be worth looking at some used options, such as a Lexus CT 200H.

I would recommend this for a smaller budget as they were discontinued in 2021 and are a little dated looking for your money in my opinion. It would be a great car for someone with €10,000-€20,000.

A Lexus IS 300H is a bigger car with good specs and it looks sleek. You would be looking at a 2018 model in it. Suzuki have also brought out a few new hybrids in your price bracket that might be worth a look.

Eddie: Corolla hybrid. No brainer.

Question 5

My daughter is selling her five-year-old Audi A3 petrol with 52,000km on the clock. She no longer commutes and works from home most days and can use my Golf when she needs it some days.

I don’t know how to sell the car as I don’t want loads of people calling to the door.

Should I sell it to the garage? What price should I be asking for? Everyone has a different idea.

Gillian: It is a great car with low kilometres, so my first choice is to sell privately to get the best value. However, this extra cash could come at the cost of your time and patience.

Any dealer would be happy to take it in as stock is low and customer enquiries are high. They will need to have it in a sellable condition and will take account of that when giving you a price as well as including some profit on the transaction.

Depending on the spec you have (manual/auto, 1.0/1.4/1.5, Base/SE/SLine, 3/4/5 door) and with your low kms, I expect you would be offered around €16,000 or €17,000.

If you were to advertise it on sites such as DoneDeal or Carzone, you should ask for around €3,000 more and expect to get most of it, again, depending on your specific model. Specify that you will only accept phone calls and not text messages.

Arrange to meet in a well-lit area near your home and have someone with you. If they wish to take it for a test drive, ask someone to accompany them if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

Selling a car privately does come with some pain but the financial reward is worth it, especially for a popular car like an Audi A3.

Eddie: Sell to the garage. They’d jump sky-high at the chance to get one like it.

Gillian Keogh 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


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