Car Choice: In search of a small car with the highest seats


Janet Ingamells is looking for a small car. She is disabled and therefore needs an elevated driver's position, power steering, and automatic transmission. Apparently, the vehicles we suggested a few weeks ago for Peter Unsworth sounded absolutely ideal – but we treat every Car Choice request individually. Therefore we will apply fresh thinking to Janet's requirements, bearing in mind that she has a maximum budget of £2,000.

A car for the head

One car that Janet should seriously consider is the Toyota Yaris. It is a small hatchback, but it has a high set driving position. I would also recommend that Janet makes sure that the seating position is appropriate for her disability. There is no height adjustment so she might need a specially designed cushion. Otherwise the Yaris is a great little car that is economical, reliable and, despite its size, spacious. It is most likely that only the earlier 1.0 litre model is going to be within Janet's budget. So it won't be that quick, but miles per gallon will be in the late 40s depending on how she drives. So, what will she get for her money? Mostly it will be 1999 registered 1.0 litre models in comprehensive CDX trim for upwards of £1,595. However, there are some 1.3s just within budget, and they should provide similar fuel economy to the 1.0 but be slightly more relaxing on longer journeys.

A car for the heart

The truth is that small automatics are always very popular, especially ones that offer a degree of flexibility and a high driving position. So a lot of models were too expensive for Janet's budget. However, the Suzuki Wagon R (pictured below) may fit the bill, as it has a suitably high driving position and a square and very practical body. It has real character and a very enthusiastic 1.3 engine. It is well built and has a decent level of standard equipment. Tall passengers won't have a problem at all and there are lots of cubbyholes and a small but practical boot which can be boosted by the split/fold rear seat. Otherwise it is the Suzuki badge that guarantees a lack of future breakdowns. What Janet will have is a durable car that is very well equipped and, at this later stage in its life, just the one specification. That means, air conditioning, remote central locking, power steering, CD player, electric front windows and mirrors are all standard. For £1,995 you can buy a two-owner 2003 GL and it will have around 85,000 miles. That will be a dealer price and it will come with a warranty. A 2000 example, with lower mileage, will be £1,700.

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.

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