Car Choice: Retired couple seeks low cost, easy access runaround


Paul Jackson is 60 and has just retired; his wife is just about to. They have a Subaru Impreza Sport, which has been brilliant, but it is getting old and expensive to run. They do about 10,000 miles a year, local and motorway, and hope to do more journeys. They would like a five-door car that's easy to get in and out of and performs like the Subaru, but would like low road tax, insurance and are flexible about the fuel. Their budget is £6,000 to £7,000.

A car for the head

This is a difficult one. How do you go about replacing a four-wheel drive vehicle, which is economical, practical and easy to live with? To do that, you should really choose a Japanese soft roader with a diesel engine. It won't be that new and it may have a few miles on the clock, and it won't be that cheap to tax and insure. So here's the obvious answer: either a 2004 Toyota Rav 4 or an older Honda CRV. I'll plump for the Toyota. The Rav 4 is nice to drive, just like a proper car and also very comfortable, unlike many off-roaders. Paul will have to go for the diesel to boost his miles per gallon, being disappointed by the Subaru struggling to 30mpg. The 2.2D will return around 40mpg and £7,000 will buy 2004 examples with a 90,000-plus mileage. Its specification is fairly comprehensive with air conditioning and alloy wheels. Ideally Paul should aim to buy from a dealer and get a warranty. At the very least the Rav 4 should have a comprehensive service history, as on the whole this model is one of the most reliable on the used car market. The perfect compromise between car and 4x4.

A car for the heart

I don't know if we can recommend a vehicle to replace the Subaru directly, but there is an underrated hatchback, which offers plenty of benefits for Paul. Roll forward the Suzuki SX4: a relatively compact, cheap to buy and cheap to run hatchback with added ride height, which is important because it makes it easier to get in and out of without going for an oversized 4x4, or a people carrier. The SX4, inset left, does have a limited amount of boot space, but as Paul says that there will mostly be two of them, it should be fine. There are several engine options from a 1.6 petrol and a couple of diesels, 1.6 and 1.9. Significantly the petrol engine will still return about 40mpg. Road testers have found the 1.6 engine noisy. £7,000 will buy a 2007 1.9 DDiS that should return almost 45mpg and have a reasonable 30,000 miles on the clock. I believe that the SX4 is different enough, as is the Subaru, to appeal to Paul and deliver lower running costs.

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.

  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Purchase Ledger Administrator

    £5120 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...

    Recruitment Genius: Engineering Surveyor

    £20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Support

    £9000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Estimator

    £17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence