Sharon Griffiths is 62 and has already downsized from a Toyota Avensis estate to a Honda Civic. However, the lack of a rear wash-wipe on the Civic has annoyed her hugely. Despite that, the car has been excellent in bad weather, and dealt well with ungritted inclines in the Yorkshire Dales. Sharon has a budget of up to £20,000, expects to cover 25,000 miles a year, her tall, non-driving husband needs to be comfortable – and she really needs that rear-windscreen wash-wipe!

A car for the head

The rear windscreen wash-wipe may be a small matter, but as Sharon told me: "It makes me cross every single morning. I have to wipe it with a rag – something I haven't had to do since my first car, a Hillman Imp, somewhere shortly after the Stone Age." That's one reason why I will suggest a Ford Focus – but obviously not the only one. Here is a great all-round car. The 1.6TDCi ECOnetic may suit Sharon's high mileage, especially as the mpg is rated at a remarkable 70mpg. Zetec specification would be ideal as it includes air conditioning and fog lights which should see Sharon through 25,000 miles. Being a Ford, a discount is not usually a problem, and going via, an on-the-road price of £16,060 represented a saving of £2,434. That is for a brand new car supplied in the UK with a full warranty.

A car for the heart

Sharon seems to appreciate cars and I think that a Skoda Yeti would certainly grab her attention. There is also the option of going for a 4x4 model. It looks like an off-roader with its high ground clearance, but there is a front-wheel drive version which may be fine for Sharon. Actually, it is a clever 4x4 which delivers power mainly to the front wheels during normal driving but once it detects any slippage will supply extra power to that wheel. The 2.0 TDi 140bhp engine, combined with the 4x4 capability, will return a decent 43mpg. Alternatively there is a 110bhp diesel model which will deliver 52mpg. Inside there is a huge amount of flexibility with the second row of seats that fold, flip and can be removed. There is a decent level of standard equipment, so even an E model will have air conditioning, front electric windows, and heated door mirrors. So although the cost of a Yeti starts at just below £14,000 and rises to just over £23,000, a 4x4 model can be bought through a broker for £16,615, saving at least £1,642 on the official price. Oh yes, and there is a rear wash-wipe system, so no rag required.

Looking to buy?

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF, or email James Ruppert at carchoice@, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.

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