Car Choice: When replacement knees mean a replacement car
Sunday 28 November 2010
Molly Storck is 78 and lives in London. Most of her driving is in town, although she does have a major annual trip to France and back of about 1,000 miles.
She has recently undergone a double knee replacement, so she needs an automatic gearbox and adequate leg room. She also needs a five-door vehicle to cope with two growing grandchildren. Low maintenance costs, reliability, and economy must be part of the package. Her budget is £5,000.
A car for the head
Molly might like to consider the Toyota Prius, which has a tremendous advantage when it comes to the London congestion charge – it's free. It has a hybrid engine, which means a conventional petrol engine and a unique electrical motor combine to optimise fuel consumption. This is ideally suited to stop-start traffic in London, and for the sort of short journeys that Molly has to endure. It is quick to accelerate and with smoothly delivered power it is similar to a turbo-diesel in performance terms – but the fuel consumption is even better. Almost 66mpg is impressive, and in theory it will return 50mpg around town. Five can sit comfortably, although the boot is on the small side. Noise levels are minimal and the ride is very smooth. Toyota's usual high build-quality inspires confidence – even if the dashboard needs some getting used to. Molly's £5,000 will buy a 2005 example with around 75,000 miles on the clock.
A car for the heart
The Mazda 2 is often overlooked but is one of the most spacious, practical and reliable super-minis. An automatic gearbox is available with a 1.4 litre engine. Official fuel consumption is 43.5mpg, but with the automatic gearbox and London traffic it will probably be nearer 30mpg. That's the reality of running a car in a city. The Mazda 2 is related to the Ford Fiesta, which is good news for those who want sharp responses, but Molly will appreciate the refinement that this model has. As well as being quieter, this Mazda has been voted by several magazines (including What Car?) as one of the most comfortable vehicles. The excellent access and easy adjustment of the seat, which is high-set anyway, may well be a huge factor for Molly in view of her recent operation. The basic S model has power steering, which was an essential requirement, and £5,000 would buy a 2007 model with around 30,000 miles on the clock.
Looking to buy?
Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at email@example.com, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.
Life & Style blogs
Charlie Charlie Challenge: everyone on the internet thinks it’s a marketing stunt, but it probably isn’t
Not brushing your teeth can lead to dementia and heart disease
Insomnia could be cured with one simple therapy session, new study claims
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca reclaims top spot to be named world's best restaurant
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 4 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading acquirer and m...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...