I'll pre-empt the hate mail, as I know that multiple car ownership does annoy some readers. I think Alison is right to be thinking along these lines, as, even though it is possible to find one car to do both jobs, if there are two drivers in the house it is impossible for the vehicle to be in two places at once. So although one car is good, often two can be far better. The choice is potentially huge, as there are so many cars that have a seven-seat option, and when it comes to city cars we are spoilt for choice. One thing Alison said to me in her letter is that they would consider an old Land Rover Defender. So something older and cheaper could be an option, and maybe spend more money on a state-of-the-art town car that will be safe and economical as well as spacious.
Cars for the head
Put in the simplest possible terms, a Toyota Landcruiser is huge, tough and very reliable. Plus, some models can even seat up to eight. I can't think of a better vehicle that is expected to work hard. Certainly when it comes to towing, there should be no problem at all and everyone I know who runs them swears by their build quality and reliability. With £14,000 to spend, it would be possible to pick up a 2003 or 2004 example. It is a big old bus, but it does the job with space to spare. When it comes to the smaller car I am mindful of Alison's three growing children sitting three abreast in the rear. One very underrated model is the Nissan Note, a spacious small car, rather like a micro people carrier, which also has a half decent boot. Prices for a 2006 example with a low 23,000 miles is around £5,500. It is certainly worth a closer look.
Cars for the heart
If the bigger vehicle is mainly used at weekends and for trips, an old Land Rover will do. A year 2000 example I came across with two past owners and a full service history was on offer at £7,000. I would prefer Alison to go with a Defender, as the Discovery and Range Rover have patchy reliability records. Potentially, this is also a car for life, as it is easy to repair and look after. For the smaller car I know Alison is aware of the Ford Fiesta – a good basic choice. On the other hand, the Mazda 2 has bags of room and a very decent boot. With £5,000 to spend, there are lots of 2006 examples.
Looking to buy?
Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or email James Ruppert at email@example.com giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you areinterested and your budget.