Electric Cars

The big question is: should you turn to electric now? Here’s what we think

The big question is: should you turn to electric now? Here’s what we think
Written by Publishing team

I am in the same state as everyone else wondering about what to buy next time around.

I have a Skoda Octavia diesel which is five years old now and has 95,000km on the clock. It hasn’t given us (wife, three children aged five to 15) a bit of trouble for our three years of ownership, so I’d like to go the same route only I might buy new this time. I live in the midwest and do a fair bit of mileage. What should I do?

I don’t trust electric yet, and what I have seen is too expensive. Plug-ins are not a great proposition either for me, but am I digging a hole for myself by sticking with diesel? Other than the Octavia, what else would you recommend if I stay with diesel?

Gillian: No, you are not digging a hole, because I feel there is certainly a place for a diesel on Irish roads. However, its popularity is dwindling and so it depends on how long you are planning to keep it for really.

If you plan to keep it for three to five years, then I wouldn’t worry too much. The Government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 so there is still plenty of time for your car to be sold on without being hurt too much.

The Octavia is a perfect car for a family of five, but the 1.6-litre diesel engine is no longer available so it would need to be a 2.0d if you are opting for new.

I would have no fear or lack of trust with an electric. They have proven themselves to be a good choice, so don’t rule that option out. PHEVs too.

My recommendations for another diesel around the €30k mark include another Octavia as you will find it hard to find something with similar space, a Ford Focus high-spec model, Toyota Corolla to enter the hybrid market, or push the budget a little for a Skoda Karoq and enter the SUV market.

Better still, look for a one-year old so delivery date isn’t an issue and gets you back closer to the price of a new Octavia.

Eddie: If you are concerned about diesel, I’d just go the Toyota Corolla hybrid route.

While you shouldn’t panic on diesels as such, there is no doubt that new-car diesel sales are falling heavily, according to the latest SIMI statistics.

Gillian’s point is an important one: only NEW petrol and diesel sales are banned from 2030; not second-hands – as things currently stand, anyway. But if you feel uneasy, then a first step towards electrification would be the Corolla hybrid; good room and really decent fuel consumption.

My daughter is about to work in a career that will require a lot of driving to events some weeks and little enough at other times. Her Nissan Micra is getting on now and she wants something bigger and roomier.

She has savings of €15,000 and we could chip in another €5,000, plus whatever she would get for her eight-year-old Micra. She estimates she will be covering 16,000km to 20,000km a year. What would your advice be?

Gillian: With around €23k/€25k she has plenty of choice. She could stick with the familiarity of a Nissan and opt for a Qashqai, although the extra room is probably not necessary, so perhaps a Juke.

Her annual kilometers are average so a petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric will follow. A Toyota Corolla hybrid would be a good move too as they have one of the highest residual values ​​for this price bracket.

I am assuming she is in her 20s so an Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class are all screaming at me. Not in everyone’s price bracket but as she can afford it, I say go for it. Look for high spec and full service history, and buy from a reputable dealer. She will enjoy it and should have no hassle selling it on when she wants to change again.

She should get a 2018/2019 model, but watch km readings as some can be high. For something newer, you can never go wrong with a Focus or a compact SUV such as the VW T-Cross or Seat Arona.

Eddie: I have a strong feeling from what you’ve told us that the Audi A3 would suit her quite well.

I am 68 years old and have a car from the company I worked for since I started there 20 years ago. But now I am soon to retire and will have to find a car for myself.

I have €20,000 to spend, €25,000 at a push, and I’d like something with a good boot as I enjoy the outdoor life of fishing, hill-walking and hunting.

I know little about cars, but I don’t expect I’d need diesel because I won’t be driving that much. What would you recommend?

Gillian: You shouldn’t have to push past a comfortable budget as €20k will get you something to suit. The Skoda Octavia is well known for its boot space, as is the Peugeot 308, and both are available in petrol.

If you want something close to new, a one- or two-year-old 308 is a good choice as the Octavia would most likely be a 2019 model.

However, there are not many 308s around so you may struggle to find one. I am wondering if these might be a little small compared to what you have been driving. Company cars are generally saloons and so some other large-boot options in this segment to consider are the Skoda Superb or Audi A4.

The Superb sells mostly in diesel, so a petrol might be as hard to find as the 308. The A4 might be the reason to push the budget though if you are happy to do so. A 2017 should fit budget and would be a nice car to take out on your adventures.

Eddie: The Skoda Octavia Combi (estate) would be worth looking at as well.

List your top three electric cars in the €30,000 to €40,000 price range for me, please. I have my own ideas on what’s what with EVs but I would love to know what your thinking is on the matter.

I’m in my mid-40s with two children, but the EV we’re planning on buying would be the second car as we have a Mercedes C-Class diesel (four years old) as the main car. We need a second car now and we’ve decided it is going to be electric. Help us choose which one, please.

Gillian: I am also in my 40s with two kids, and my husband drives a Hyundai Kona electric. A new model starts at €30,995 (after grants) but for €37,495 you can get the Premium model with a 64kWh battery, which is impressive. They come well specced.

Hyundai claim that it has a range of 484km per full charge, and I can’t argue against this. I am going to put this one as my second choice, however. The main reason is the boot is a bit small not tiny, but it can be an issue sometimes.

My first choice for your budget would be the Kia e-Niro, priced at €38,750. Bigger boot, seven-year warranty (Kona has five), and it provides more space inside. They are both very similar though, so I think it will just come down to your own personal taste.

Well worth a look and a mention is the MG ZS. Yes, MG are back. The ZS is available from €28,995 for the base model with 44.5kWh battery, but also as a Long Range version, 72.6kWh, which can reach 80pc charge in less than 45mins. I would put a 2008 electric ahead of it if I am honest.

Eddie: In no particular order: Kia e-Niro, Hyundai Kona, MG ZS LR.

I am like thousands more in not knowing if I should switch to electric.

In my case it would be from my Peugeot 308 petrol to an electric model of the same size or thereabouts.

What would you advise? I have a budget of €35,000 including my own 308, which is petrol and five years old.

Gillian: Don’t feel the need to switch to electric, but there is also no reason not to either.

The market is certainly going that way and your budget allows it, so why not?

Peugeot have a good range of electrics on their current new retail price list, including the 208 and 2008.

While the 208 is smaller than your current car, it is a nice car and you will have some change left from your €35k, even if you opt for the highest spec GT model.

The 2008 starts at €32,925 but the Allure model is just €1,710 extra. It would be my choice. If you are happy to buy a nearly new model, a 202 Volkswagen ID.3 is an excellent choice too but it will take all of your budget, if not a tad more.

Eddie: I think you could switch to an electric PeugAugust 2008. Looks great too​.

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