Car Choice: What's comfy, cheap to run, and has room for the dogs?


Jane Laws suffers from a lower-back problem and currently owns a Peugeot 305 Hdi 2 litre diesel estate, which is both uncomfortable and about to expire. Jane is looking for something which has a more upright seating position, and she insists that her next car should have steering-wheel adjustment, up and down as well as in and out. Not only that, it must be an estate car with room to accommodate her dogs and, obviously, in this day and age, it should be economical to run.

A car for the head

Back problems are a recurring theme in Car Choice questions, but we must always emphasise that there is no substitute for going to a car showroom and playing with the seats to try to get comfy. It is certainly logical for Jane to go for an estate car, which has an easily separated rear area where her dogs can travel. The obvious first choice would be the Ford Focus estate. Here is a model with plenty of room inside the cabin for people and, of course, dogs. Even so, this is not the largest small-family estate, however, it is one of the most practical and it has the sort of very adjustable and upright seating which could suit Jane perfectly. Firstly, the driver's seat can be moved up and down with a lever at the side. Certainly the seat is quite high set, which could also be perfect for Jane and give her an excellent view out. The steering also adjusts up and down and in and out, so I would be hugely surprised if she could not get her driving position absolutely right. I don't think the dogs will have a problem hopping into the rear. Having previously enjoyed diesel power there are a couple of diesel engines a 1.6 and 2.0 TDCI, which return 50mpg and 60mpg respectively.

A car for the heart

Jane may want a car that is a little bit different and one of the best and most spacious alternative estates is the Skoda Octavia, pictured. Related to the Volkswagen Golf, it is a very different and strangely more attractive proposition. The Skoda is a fine looking car and it's pleasant to drive, soaking up uneven road surfaces with ease. In terms of overall space it is hard to find a rival which comes close, as the boot is well shaped and suitably huge and, with the rear seats folded, there is a massive 1,620 litres of space, otherwise there is still a substantial 560 litres. In terms of driver comfort the seat and steering wheel can be adjusted in every direction and I think Jane will find that she can get comfy surprisingly quickly. One thing Jane did not mention was a budget, but with around £12,000 to £14,000 she could certainly get a brand new, or nearly new, example. Price will depend on the specification and the engine she wants. Sticking with diesel a 1.9TDI will return around 57.6mpg overall. The level of trim starts at Classic, which has air conditioning and electric front windows. Ambiente will add a CD player with autochanger, electric rear windows, – which may please the dogs – and electric door mirrors, which will certainly please Jane.



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.

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
  • 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

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    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