Mrs King and her husband want to replace their compact Suzuki SX4, and need a similar-sized car, with a high, easy access/entry, five doors and automatic transmission, with a budget of £4,000.
A car for the head
The ideal car for Mrs King would be the Ford Fusion, a small car that couldn't be easier to get in and out of. The high driving position combines with a large glass area so it is also very easy to see out. The comfort level is equally good, with excellent head and legroom. The Fusion is instantly more practical than the Fiesta on which it is based and it also extends to the boot, where there is plenty of room for trips to the supermarket. The 1.6 petrol engine is more than adequate and comes with the option of an automatic gearbox. The budget will buy a 2006 1.6 Zetec Climate with 36,000 miles from a dealer, with a warranty.
A car for the heart
For a truly luxurious car, Mrs King could go for a Citroën Xsara Picasso. The ride is supple, all engines are decent (the turbodiesels excellent) and it goes round corners tidily. You get five seats, plenty of space and a roomy boot. The seats fold and are light enough to remove without sweat. The diesel engines are excellent, but a 2.0 petrol engine would probably be best with the automatic gearbox. Trim levels start with the LX but step up to the Desire spec for its air-con. Top-spec Exclusive adds cruise control, electric rear windows, electric sunroof and alloy wheels to the already decent list of kit: all models have a CD player, remote locking, twin front and side airbags, ABS brakes and electric front windows. Around £4,000 will buy a 28,000-mile Exclusive model from a Citroën dealer.
Looking to buy?
Email James Ruppert at firstname.lastname@example.org, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.