A brilliantly-made Honda CR-V with 81,000 miles on the clock would fall well under Robin’s budget / Honda

Robin Thomas is replacing a dependable – but rusty – Mercedes E-Class estate and has £7,000 to spend on a roomy – and ‘classy’ – family vehicle

A car for the head 

Estate cars have moved on and effectively become sports utility vehicles, which are sort of high rise estates that can also go offroad if they want to. Three is often more than enough room inside and the models don’t have to be large, unwieldy 4x4s. Indeed, I would recommend that Robin find himself a Honda CR-V. Here is a brilliantly well-made vehicle which is easy to drive, own and is wonderfully flexible. I found a 2.2 CTDI EX model with 81,000 miles on sale for £6,500 with a full service history. 

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The R-Class is comfy and strangely stylish, if a shortlived experiment

A car for the heart

Robin has been happy with Mercedes and perhaps he should go for another. Although it would be dead easy to go and find another Mercedes E Class estate car, there is an alternative. The R-Class was a shortlived experiment in making a people carrier that did not look like a van. Here was a really comfy and strangely stylish vehicle. For just £4,250 I came across a full service history 2006 model. It is an R320L CDI SE which has a huge amount of equipment as standard, from sat nav to climate control. Dealer warranty too.

If you would like James Ruppert to help with your car choice, email  james@freecarmag.com. For more motoring views visit freecarmag.com 

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