Car Choice: Is it possible to have it all?


Helen Salter is looking to replace her 10-year-old Zafira, which is now too small for fully grown children, but she is confused by what's on offer. Space is a priority, of course, and after last winter she is wondering whether a four-wheel drive might be a good idea. Ideally, she wants a vehicle that will seat more than five adults in some degree of comfort. Oh yes, and it must be economical. The budget is £8,000 to £12,000.

A car for the head

I'm not sure the car that Helen wants actually exists. Up to seven seats, and four-wheel drive, is no recipe for economic motoring, even with a diesel. Unless you live in the countryside, where the ice and snow is at its thickest, you really ought to get by with a front-wheel drive. The one proviso is good tyres and, in particular, winter specific ones. You should put aside around £400, especially because four spare steel wheels are also required. So what to fit them to? The UK's most popular people carrier, the Ford Galaxy, has been the most comfortable, refined and spacious vehicle of its type. The 1.8 or 2.0 TDCi diesel engine will return mid-40s mpg and it will be cheap to insure. Five adults will be very comfortable and only if the rearmost seats are used is luggage a compromise. The boot is very spacious and will, hopefully, answer Helen's need for space – and all it would take is £11,000 to buy a 2008 model in Zetec specification with 50,000 miles on the clock.



A car for the heart

The option for Helen is either to choose a premium off-road brand, which may cost most of her budget, or something that offers better value for money. I would go with the Chevrolet Captiva (inset) which has solid four-wheel drive ability and a suitably massive interior. If the rearmost seats are folded, which is easy to do, it has a huge level load space. The other bonus is that it is superbly well equipped. The LS has air-con, electric windows and an opening tailgate window. It is cheap to buy, but future resale value is poor and Helen will need to keep it for at least a decade to get the full value. The 2.0VCDi engine will return around 37mpg. It is possible to find a sub-30,000 mile 2009 model, in top LT spec and with self-levelling suspension, for about £11,000.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones