Car Choice: A workhorse that doesn't mind a bit of ill-treatment
Sunday 07 November 2010
Richard Pring wants to replace his loyal Audi diesel, which, after 212,000 miles, is reaching the end of its life. He wants a five-door car, which is economical (up to 50mpg), and which has a high driving position to help his bad back. It should be a solid workhorse and will be used for towing a small caravan, and carrying a boat and garden equipment, and will generally be ill-treated. Richard is not bothered about style, he just wants a reliable vehicle, and he has £4,000 to spend.
A car for the head
Richard definitely needs a diesel if he is used to getting almost 50mpg. One problem, though, is that a high-rise car (for a more comfy seat) has a worse drag coefficient, and that means lower mpg. And his budget of £4,000 won't necessarily buy a state-of-the-art vehicle. I know that Richard has considered the smaller 4x4s, but the tight budget means a high-mileage example, which is when some vehicles start to get expensive – and these lighter 4x4s will struggle to get above 40mpg. I would point Richard towards a Mercedes A-Class, which is not known as a towing vehicle, but it should be up to the job. The 1.7TD engine officially returns almost 58mpg. It is a small car but with a massive amount of interior space and the driving position Richard needs. His £4,000 will buy a 2002 example in Avantgarde trim, which has covered around 75,000 miles. Richard would have to pay for a towing hook.
A car for the heart
I believe that the compact people carrier would be the best way to go, and I would suggest a fairly rare model which will last at least as long as Richard's current Audi. The Mazda Premacy is very underrated, and has a great reputation for reliability. One downside would be that the diesel engine, a 2.0TD, is fairly slow and a bit noisy. I don't think that this will matter much to Richard, as he says: "A car is just a metal box." Indeed, the Mazda is a metal box with plenty of room, although there was always criticism that there were never nearly enough stowage options. Most models were five seaters, but could be ordered with seven. Not something that Richard needs and he could simply remove them. Importantly, the fuel economy for the diesel version is officially 49.6mpg. This is an undemanding vehicle. There are not many on sale, but I did find a 2004 example that had covered 43,000 miles, in top GXE specification, at just £4,699.
Looking to buy?
Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at carchoice@ independent.co.uk, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested and your budget.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
Life & Style blogs
Low-cost metal 3D printer could be the next step in home manufacturing revolution
YouTube's most popular viral videos 2013: From Tom Daley to Peppa Pig...
People who drink alcohol outlive those who abstain, study shows
Exercise most effective lifestyle choice for preventing dementia, researchers say
GTA 5 update: Content Creator released, online heists and story mode updates coming soon
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum on call shift allowance: Clearwater People Solutions...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Training and Benefits : Harrington Starr: A leadin...
£59999 - £80001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Senior Manager in...