One for the Road: A comfortable car that can deal with a bumpy life


Graham Wood's wife has arthritis of the spine, which causes her considerable pain. Their Skoda Fabia estate is not comfortable for her and they have £12,000 to spend on a replacement.

A Car for the Head

We need to find a car with a smooth ride to cope with the country lanes and rough, unmade roads that Graham and his wife have around their home. The problem is that most modern cars are set up to be slightly sporty. It is at the expense of comfort, especially if the car is fitted with silly low-profile alloy wheels. Traditionally, the cars with the softest set-ups have been Citroëns. Yet even they have been firmed up over recent years, so a slightly older, though not particularly reliable C5 could be one answer. It may be bigger than a Skoda Fabia, which actually helps the ride. They should at least go and drive one to see what the fuss is about. Just £5,000 will buy a 2007 2.0 HDi 16V Exclusive automatic estate.

A Car for the Heart

What may suit the Woods is a breed of vehicle sometimes referred to as a "crossover". It is part high-rise 4x4, but also compact, useable and often with four-wheel drive as standard. Bearing in mind that Graham has to negotiate some quite rough roads, he could easily justify some off-road ability. I think the Peugeot 3008 would be ideal. This is more like a large estate than a clumsy 4x4, but it will still be bigger than their Fabia. It's a comfortable car to be in, and has a soft side, riding well and soaking up bumps rather than bouncing around in them. It's good value, too: a 2010 model with the 1.6HDi engine is £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.

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