Annie Reyburn is a 56-year-old retired school teacher, and she is looking for a hatchback with a large boot or fold-down rear seat. She rarely travels great distances, and has a budget of around £5,000. Annie was considering the scrappage scheme, which has now finished, but liked the idea of a warranty. Even so, Annie is worried about depreciation, especially if she buys a newer car.

A car for the head

Yes the scrappage scheme is over, and that has to be a good thing. For me, it condemned thousands of perfectly good cars to the scrapheap. Scrappage simply kept the retail motor industry ticking over. Nonsense. To the matter of getting Annie a car, all she needs is a spacious, reliable and good value vehicle, which does not have to be that big. I would go for the very underrated Mazda 2. It has plenty of head and legroom and Annie should like the high driving position. The boot is large and low, although when the rear seats are folded they do not lie flat. All Mazda's have excellent reliability records and the 2 also benefits from being cheap to run. The smallest petrol engine, a Ford 1.25, should return around 45mpg. Her £5,000 buys a 2006 example.

A car for the heart

One of Annie's concerns was a warranty. If she buys from a good motor dealer, one will be offered as a matter of course. It is also possible for Annie to buy a warranty independently. These are comprehensive and reassuring, and shopping around is worth the effort. A vehicle which may not need a warranty could be the Honda Jazz (inset). This is a compact but spacious little hatch. The boot is surprisingly large and the rear seats fold completely flat, and for a small car there is masses of room. The engine is a 1.4 and returns just under 50mpg. Ideally a well-equipped SE model would be worth finding over the more basic S. In the used car classifieds a Jazz is not particularly cheap and £5,000 will buy a 2004 to 2005 SE from a dealer and most importantly for Annie, with a warranty.

Looking to buy?

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at, 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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