Jan Dennis has an R reg Fiesta 1.2, with 98,886 miles on the clock, and wants to change the car via her main Ford dealer. She needs a three-door hatchback that is reliable and can cope with local trips, plus the occasional motorway journey. She averages 10,000 miles a year, and her budget is £5,000.

A car for the head

This is an odd query, as Jan is planning to go back to her local Ford dealer and has £5,000 to spend. Main dealers don’t always have vehicles that cheap, plus, an R-plate Fiesta – even if it was immaculate – will not be worth much, maybe £600 maximum. I think that Jan needs to look at used-car dealers and part exchange her Fiesta with them. The obvious first choice would be another Ford Fiesta – but one rather less worn out.Otherwise I would pick a Nissan Micra.

This is an undemanding small car, which is well equipped and perfectly suited to Jan’s short trips around town. I found a 2009 1.2 Visia three-door, with 5,000 miles on the clock, for £5,000 – so there are some sensational bargains around.

A car for the heart

I do think that Jan ought to consider the very classy Skoda Fabia. Beneath the smart styling is a Volkswagen Polo, which gives you some idea of just how good this car is. It may look small but the interior has been cleverly designed to maximise space. Four adults don’t have a problem fitting in, and the large doors help access front and rear. The Volkswagen petrol and diesel engines are very economical and contribute to the low running costs. Overall, an excellent small, family hatchback and estate that is roomy, practical, well built, and comfortable. Out in the real world it is possible to find the newer model 2007 Fabia from £5,000. I found a 1.2 petrol model, with air conditioning, full history, and 40,000 miles on the clock, at a dealer’s.

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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