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.

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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

    £18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

    £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory