One for the Road: A car that'll take care of itself


Samuel Ball wants an economical replacement for his ageing Volvo S60 automatic. He has around £12,000 to spend.

A car for the head

I know that Samuel wants an easy car to live with that is also as good as new and he couldn't get much better than an automatic, diesel-powered Toyota Yaris. It will be easy to live with because it won't break down. It also fulfils the economy criteria because the 1.4 D-4D will officially return 62.8mpg, but I would deduct several miles from that because of the automatic gearbox and because the official figures are not real-world ones. Samuel's budget will buy a 2011 Spirit model with just 3,000 miles from a dealer.

A car for the heart

If the Yaris is too small, there is an alternative in the slightly larger shape of the hatchback Honda Insight 1.3 IMA. It is a hybrid with a small petrol and electric motor designed to work seamlessly with the automatic transmission – so progress will be incredibly smooth and, being a Honda, it won't break down. The specification is decent in ES trim. Officially this model will return 61.4mpg. Still quite rare, a 2010 example with 11,000 miles from a main Honda dealer will be £12,000.

Looking to buy?

Email James Ruppert at, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget