Car Choice: Long journeys are wearing on hips and knees, I need a comfortable ride


David McNamara, 69, is starting to suffer from osteoarthritis. A long car drive can become wearing on the joints. According to his physiotherapist he would be better off in a car with a driving seat that allows him to sit up straight, to ease the pressure on his hips and knees, and is higher off the ground, so it's easier to get in and out. At present David drives a five-year-old 1.6 VW Golf Estate, worth about £4,000 or £5,000. He would be prepared to spend up to £15,000. Seating space for grandchildren and boot space would be welcome.

Something that car manufacturers are notoriously bad at making is car seats. Only the most expensive models plus Saab and Volvo have any idea that we need to be comfortable and well supported. Even if you don't have a serious condition, like David, you still have a right to a comfy seat.

Certainly buying a vehicle that is high off the ground is a good starting point to make getting in and out easier. Finding those models is easy but David might like to consider a specialist seat from a manufacturer called Recaro. Famous for their sports car seats, they have diversified into making something called an Orthopaed. It has very low side bolsters so that getting in and out is easy, and a very flat seat cushion. There are also all sorts of clever things such as a climate package which, depending on the conditions, cools or heats the back. Everything is adjustable from the shoulder to the lumbar support and even the seat cushion, which can be moved for better thigh support. It also has a built-in side airbag. David needs to find a local dealer and try one out. However, this is not a cheap option because prices start at £1,240.

A car for the head

The Nissan Qashqai is an impressive and very different package that should suit David. He told me that he is after style rather than practicality, but this has both. David will sit nice and high, the Qash-qai looks just like a 4x4 vehicle, but it isn't (well actually there are now four-wheel drive models). The height-adjustable driver's seat and a steering wheel that moves for height and reach should mean that David can find a layout he is happy with. There is plenty of head and legroom in the front of the car and getting at least three grandchildren in the back should not be a problem. The boot in particular is large and well shaped. There is plenty of standard equipment; air conditioning, alloy wheels, electric windows and a Bluetooth hands-free telephone kit are all part of the package. David told me he only wanted petrol and the smallest 1.6 might suit him. Although this is a heavy car, it still manages to return 42mpg. Otherwise there is a 2.0 model. Prices start at £13,699 for the two-wheel drive Visia model.

A car for the heart

The Skoda Roomster might be a tad smaller than David was expecting, but I think it might fit his lifestyle and look funky into the bargain. Like the Golf he already owns, this car is made by Volkswagen, but it is a lot less boring than that estate car. David should like the upright driving position, the seat can be raised while the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach. The rear is a bit tight, but for two grandchildren it would be no problem and one smaller child should be fine too. The seats can be reclined, folded or removed. Not only that, the two outer seats can be moved inward and slid back and forth to make the best use of the space, hence the name. The boot is a very decent size and suitably square. There is a 1.4 petrol engine, which may be a bit underpowered, so the 1.6 would be better and should return up to 39mpg. Standard equipment includes CD and electric front windows. The price for a 1.6 in higher 3 or Scout trim is £13,010.

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or email James Ruppert at carchoice@independent.co.uk, giving your age, address, phone number and details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested and your budget.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

    Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

    Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

    Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape