Isabel White is 39 and hates the Peugeot 307CC 2.0 diesel she and her husband own.
First, her 2007 model is a manual and she would prefer an automatic. Second, the driving position is far too low: she wants a car with excellent visibility. The couple cover about 6,000 miles a year and need room in the boot for golf clubs and suitcases. They often carry two adult passengers as well. Their choice is: either spend £8,500 on a second car or invest up to £25,000 by part-exchanging the Peugeot.
A car for the head
I hope this is not a case for marriage guidance. I would argue, though, that having two cars isn't necessary when you cover only 6,000 miles a year. I also reckon the Whites could save some money by going for a used car. On visibility, modern vehicles are poor because ever thicker door pillars create all sorts of blind spots. A height-adjustable seat is going to help matters for Isabel.
The Ford C-Max is a practical car with a large boot. The rear centre seat can fold forward to make a table or can be pushed back, allowing the two rear outer seats to slide in to make a big four seater.
Up front, Isabel will like the high driving position: the seat can be pumped up, while the steering wheel can be adjusted for rake and reach.
The C-Max is refined and quiet on the motorway and in town. It soaks up the bumps. Isabel wanted diesel, and the 2.0 TDCi can deliver 50mpg overall. A 2011 example with 6,000 miles on the clock would be around £17,000 from a dealer, with warranty.
A car for the heart
The Citroen C3 Picasso is a medium- sized people carrier with a funky twist. It was unavailable with an automatic gearbox, but it is now possible to get a 2010 1.6HDi with the easy change option. That engine officially delivers around 60mpg.
The driving position will interest Isabel. It is high, with a panoramic view through a wraparound windscreen. It also has a large and quite deep boot, with plenty of space for luggage and golf clubs. The rear seat splits 60/40 and can also slide to create more room. The VTR Plus specification provides air conditioning and electric rear windows.
Trading up to an Exclusive brings rear-parking sensors, climate control air conditioning and electric folding door mirrors.
You can pick up a 2010 1.6HDi VTR Plus automatic with 6,500 miles from a car supermarket for £10,499. This comes with rear parking sensors and folding door mirrors, so Isabel would not lose out.
Looking to buy?
Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at email@example.com, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested and your budget.