Car Choice: 'What's fit for a six-foot family?'

Sue Hamon Watt wants to replace the family's R-reg Peugeot 806 with an estate car, which she thinks is more dog-friendly. They are a tall family: Sue is almost 6ft, with two strapping 6ft 5in teenage sons, a 6ft 3 in husband and a more modestly proportioned 10-year-old daughter. As well as needing space to pack them all in, the car will have to go on several university runs over the next few years.

Sue is right that people-carriers are not necessarily the answer to everyone's accommodation needs. Dogs in particular can be short-changed when it comes to space and a decent view out. Of course, the Hamon Watts only need to occupy five out of a possible seven seats, so going for a people-carrier and then rearranging the seats is certainly an option. However, there are a lot of very good estate cars on the market which are superbly thought out.

I'll presume that the whole family, including the dog, won't be involved when packing youngsters off to university, otherwise I'd be recommending an articulated lorry. There is a breed of vehicle that is the effectively adapted van, such as the Renault Kangoo and Citroen Berlingo; but for all those six-footers and the dog, despite sliding seats it will still be a squeeze.

There really is no substitute for the whole family being part of the buying process. It sounds obvious but the Hamon Watts all need to make sure that they can fit inside whatever vehicle they ultimately choose. In theory, a Volvo V70 ought to be perfect, but I don't think they will have enough rear legroom.

A car for the head

In sheer value-for-money terms it is hard to look further than the Citroen C5 estate. Boot access is through a wide hatch or even by opening the rear screen. The boot itself has a large, flat floor. Significantly, that sill can be moved, thanks to the hydraulic suspension system which lowers the rear even further.

The unevenly split seats are useful, as are the seat bases which can be removed to boost luggage space still further. That clever suspension is also self-levelling, whatever the load in the back, and it delivers a fantastically smooth and comfortable ride. The best engines are diesels and the larger 2.2 Hdi makes the most sense; it is powerful enough and frugal at almost 50mpg overall.

The level of equipment is high, with lots of things you need such as air conditioning, and gimmicks such as rain-sensitive wipers. The great news is that most UK car brokers can get at least £3,000 to £4,000 off; and Citroen dealers always have cashback deals that mean great value for money. I firmly believe the six-footers should be fine in the back of what is an incredibly spacious interior.

A car for the heart

When it comes to XXL estates there is none better than the Mercedes E Class. It is possible to pay over £40K for a brand new one, but it is better to go for the last-generation E class. It may look dated but it will be cheaper (under £20K) and just as effective at lugging loads, people and dogs. In practical terms, it is hard to beat, and in headroom and legroom terms it will easily take four adults.

A 10-year-old girl should be OK in the middle seat, despite the fact that there is a transmission tunnel for the rear-wheel-drive layout; and it is right to assume that the vehicle won't be fully occupied all of the time because of university commitments. Still the rear load deck is flat, even with the rear seats folded. It is truly massive at the back. The boot alone is 538 litres, and with the rear seats folded it is 1,974 litres; so there is lots of room for dog and luggage.

Ideally Sue should go for the smooth automatic gearbox; this will be standard with a diesel engine, which is the power plant she should go for. An E320 Cdi should be smooth and powerful and deliver an average of 35mpg.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
I'm not worried about United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
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.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Datacentre Consultant (Infrastructure Consultant, HyperV) £45k

    £45000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Datacentre Consultant (Datacentre,...

    English Teacher

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Randstad Education Cardiff is...

    .NET Developer (C#, .NET, Support) - Coventry - £45k

    £45000 per annum + Excellent Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: .NET Develope...

    C# / ASP.NET Developer

    £40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: C...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker