Immediately I have to say that four-door convertibles are rarities in the showrooms these days, so we can discount that one. I'm glad she likes the idea of an A Class, because Mercedes has notched up the quality quotient, especially inside. It now looks like a proper old Merc with nice fixtures and fittings. Certainly in terms of leg- and headroom Colette and her teenage passengers will find plenty of room. The A Class is shorter than many superminis but has loads of room inside. There is even a nice wide and flat boot that will take plenty of luggage. I reckon that Colette will feel very good about herself and ultra-confident when she turns up for those power business meetings. The icing on the A Class cake is that Colette can have a roof. There are two options: a fixed panoramic job, which is fixed in place and costs an extra £440. There is also an electric version, which is louvered and slides back and up and costs £780. On the subject of servicing, in theory an approved repairer could service Colette's car using genuine parts and keep the warranty intact.

A CAR FOR THE HEAD

For unpretentious transportation the Kia Picanto costs virtually nothing, is reasonably spacious and it may impress her business colleagues with her ability to spot a bargain.

It could be a bit too low rent for Colette, so I would unreservedly recommend a Mazda 2, which has a large amount of room for such a small car. It is reasonably tall, usefully narrow and has a creditable boot.

One big problem, though, is that a sunroof is not even an option. To get that Colette would have to trade up to the rather larger Mazda 3. That is also a fine car, with bags of room in the back, but it does not have the high-rise style and premium badge that Colette probably craves. If she wants cool and funky, a Fiat Panda should be acceptable. You can get six-footers in the back and there is a sunroof, manual or electric, on the options list. Colette will also pay considerably less than she would for a Mercedes and the running costs are much friendlier.

A CAR FOR THE HEART

The funkiest city car has for some time been the Smart, but that only seats two. However, the Smart ForFour looks suitably youthful and the rear-sliding seat gives longer legs the extra room they need. Trouble is, what is fashionable now can soon look dated and Colette does not want her business partners thinking she is so last year.

That's why I would prefer to go for the Mitsubishi Colt, which has the same underpinnings as the Smart but looks a lot more classy. Luckily, Colette can buy herself a sunroof. This is a conventional small hatch, but I think Colette will appreciate its practicality: it is well built, economical and spacious. Maybe the Mitsubishi badge isn't the most prestigious (although it does look just a little bit like the Mercedes three-pointed star), but the company has a good reputation for making a wide range of quality products. One tip for Colette with a vehicle like this is to order it in a darker colour. A metallic grey or black always makes a car look a lot more upmarket.

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