Caroline Lindsay loves her Toyota Corolla for its air conditioning and tilt-and-slide sunroof. For her, these are essential in any replacement. She appreciates the Toyota's reliability but doubts its greenness. She wants good fuel economy and decent luggage space in a car that can cope with the Lake District's hilly bits.

A car for the head

Caroline is not alone in wanting to see and feel the open air. Increasingly, though, sunroofs are being deleted from options lists because of the ubiquity of air conditioning. Caroline should look at slightly older cars, especially as she does not want to spend too much. I was pleased to find a Nissan Almera Tino which would be perfect for her. In this compact people carrier she will sit high, so visibility will be good. Being a Nissan it will be as reliable as Caroline's current Toyota, and there are no recurring problems with this model. If Caroline goes for the 2.2 diesel version she should expect to get at least 45mpg on her regular motorway runs. The Almera Tino is very underrated as a practical vehicle with lots of space for oddments in the cabin and a reasonable boot. The model I found was a 2002 diesel SE+. It had electric roof and air conditioning. It had covered 70,000 miles and was on offer at a dealer with a warranty for £2,990.

A car for the heart

I hope the thought of an adapted van does not alarm Caroline but I believe that vehicles offered by several French manufacturers could fit the bill. The Peugeot Partner has an electric sunroof as well as the space and practicality that Caroline will find almost intoxicating. Well, useful, then.

The Partner began life as a van so there is plenty of room inside, particularly headroom. A diesel engine means that Caroline should get close to 40mpg overall and a Partner should be cheap to run. Again, being a van, there is loads of room for days out in the Lake District. Caroline does have the option of buying the very similar Renault Kangoo Trekka, which has four-wheel drive. I did find a 2002 Peugeot Partner with sunroof for £3,495 and a Renault Trekka from the same year and for the same money.

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or email James Ruppert at, 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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