Car Choice: She wants it cheap, green and small but spacious – and so does her dog

And strong safety features and air conditioning are on the list too for an Australian who needs to manoeuvre around London
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Rachel is a 24-year-old Australian living in London. She is looking for a city- friendly second-hand car, which must have room in the back for a small dog and be able to fit two people in the back if needed. She wants the greenest car that is inexpensive to run, with a high safety rating, and preferably automatic. Air conditioning is essential, as Rachel will be taking it back to Australia. Her budget is around £7,000.

There are a lot of boxes to tick, but I would give priority to the dog. Small cars often have small boots and, even with the parcel shelf removed, it is better to find a larger area. Otherwise, because Rachel is after a small car, that instantly makes it greener and more economical, although an automatic gearbox means miles-per-gallon statistics will suffer a bit. As for safety, most cars built in the past four to five years will have a full complement of airbags and at least a four-star rating from EuroNCAP, which assesses the safety performance of cars .

A car for the head

The Honda Jazz is a smart, reliable and spacious small car. There is no parcel shelf – the cover just unclips and rolls in on itself – and there is an impressive amount of doggy room. Just as important, the rear seats will easily take two adults. The automatic gearbox is only available with the larger 1.4 engine, but this is very economical with surprisingly low emissions. It will return 48.7mpg overall and produce 137g/km of CO2. Rachel needs to find an SE model, which has air conditioning plus rear electric windows. In the ads we found a 2005 example with just 26,000 miles for £7,300. It has a four star EuroNCAP rating.

A car for the heart

I reckon the Honda is the one for both head and heart, but also worth consideration is the Nissan Note. Here is a truly spacious little car with plenty of room for Rachel's dog.

The Note has a four-star Euro-NCAP rating, and the 1.6 engine that comes with the automatic gearbox will return 42.8 mpg and the CO2 figure is 156 g/km. The SE specification means Rachel will get air conditioning. We found a 2006 model with just 9,000 miles on offer for £7,995.

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