Car Choice: New job in the North means a new car for Nic


Nic Neklesa is 38, has recently got a new job in the North-west, and wants a new car to replace his thirsty 1998 Saab 9-3. He needs a car that has enough room for an elderly couple and a young child in the back, as well as enough boot space for a pram. Obviously, fuel economy is an important factor, as is the budget – £5,000.

A car for the head

The priority has to be fuel consumption, but just as important is practicality and reliability. Value for money is an extremely important consideration too – and that's why Nic should consider a Ford Mondeo estate. Open up the tailgate and inside is a huge boot, so everything that a child would need can be thrown in easily. The seating is also good, with enough space for five adults. I would recommend going for the 2.0TDCi engine which can cope easily when the vehicle is fully loaded, yet should return around 47mpg. The standard specification is very good, with air conditioning and electric front windows, but it wouldn't hurt to find a Ghia model with additional extras. Searching through the classifieds it is possible to find a 2007 Ghia that has covered 100,000 miles for just over £4,000.

A car for the heart

If Nic wants driving pleasure then the Mondeo is the sharpest handling estate. However, there are plenty more options when it comes to a blend of practicality and reliability. The Toyota Avensis, for example, has an absolutely huge load bay. With a 2.0D-4D engine Nic can expect up to 47mpg and very reasonable running costs. There are some very efficient petrol and diesel engines which put it in a low tax band. Buyers also get a lot of standard equipment for their money, and the overall package is very well put together. That means the refinement levels are excellent, with quiet engines and only the lowest level of road noise sneaking into the cabin. The interior is one of the largest around, with plenty of cubbyholes and storage options. It easily takes four to five adults without any of them feeling the pinch. The Avensis will look after them too, thanks to the excellent crash test performance and large number of standard safety features. Nic's £5,000 will buy an immaculate 2005 example from a dealer, with 80,000 miles on the clock, and comprehensive T3-X specification, including dual-zone climate control to keep everyone happy.

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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