Car Choice: 'I'd like a car with better adjustable seating'

Seat height adjustment for the shorter driver is a perennial question - the short answer is to say that there is no substitute for going to sit in the car you think may fit the bill.

I have several shorties in my family and often they have to resort to a strategically positioned cushion. However, the design of modern cars, with thick windscreen pillars for safety, actually causes more blind spots for all drivers. Only by driving, adjusting and prodding can we decide whether the car we want to buy is suitable.

Audrey wants a well-equipped car. Air conditioning is virtually standard now and automatic gears make sense as Audrey is 73. However, items such as satellite navigation still seem to be expensive when factory-fitted so it would better to get an aftermarket system. Tom Tom Go and Road Pilot would be suitable. The same goes for reversing sensors - a good auto electrician should fit them for under £200.

A CAR FOR THE HEAD

I think the key for Audrey is a tallish car, like the Daihatsu Sirion.

This Daihatsu hatch is a great value for money package. Audrey will find that both the steering and seat adjusts for height, although that is only on the SE model. Air conditioning is standard along with electric windows and a CD player. Audrey should also go for the 1.3 engine rather than the 1.0. Miles per gallon is around 48mpg. The 1.3 is the only model available with an automatic gearbox as an option. This will cost an extra £795. There is a lot of glass which aids visibility. The boot is small but the split and fold rear seat will help. The basic price is £8,395.

A CAR FOR THE HEART

The automatic recommendation would be the Fiat Panda. The seat is set quite high and further adjustment costs a paltry £80 on most models, although it is standard on the 1.2 Eleganza.

Audrey could also consider the Renault Modus. All but the lowest specification model has adjustable seats. From the Dynamique 1.6 upwards Audrey can also have an automatic gearbox. For the Initiale models sat-nav is standard along with climate control and air conditioning. The cost would spiral beyond £13,000. One other downside of the Modus is the large front windscreen pillars.

The bottom line is that Audrey has to go and have a look at one, because at least the Renault dealer may give her a decent part exchange price on her old Clio.

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail James Ruppert at carchoice@independent.co.uk, giving your age, address and contact number, and details of the vehicle in which you are interested.

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