One For The Road: A fair way to replace a Rover that's hit the rough


Charles Hooper has a Rover 75 to replace. It must have room for golf clubs and an electric trolley, be automatic and smaller than the 75. He covers just 6,000 miles a year.

A Car for the Head

There are some quite compact cars with some very flexible storage options. I would nominate the Vauxhall Meriva as the best of the current crop of spacious superminis, which are really scaled down people carriers. It's a pretty vehicle but perhaps the most distinctive thing about it are the doors – the rear ones being hinged in reverse so that they meet in the middle, just like a Rolls-Royce Phantom, in fact. This is no gimmick; it is practical, too. And where space matters for Charles, in the boot, there's a usefully flat surface. Not only that, there is a facility that allows the floor to be dropped by several centimetres, while the rear parcel shelf clips neatly to the back seats. Not a cheap option, the S model with the 1.7CDTi engine and six-speed automatic gearbox is £20,125 on the road.

A Car for the Heart

Another small car with a big boot is the more conventional, but great-value Nissan Note. This is a compact five-door hatchback and, as Charles wants an automatic gearbox, he needs to go for the 1.6 petrol engine. Choosing the second-level Acenta specification means it will come with air conditioning as standard, rather than an option. Also part of the package are six airbags, alloy wheels, MP3 compatible CD player and the Flexi-Board boot-storage system. There is a sliding rear seat, so you can increase luggage anyway, but the Flexi-Board incorporates a false floor in the boot; I am sure that will come in handy at some point. It is a nice car to drive and the 1.6 litre is reasonably lively and should still return around 40mpg. A new Nissan Note on the road will cost £14,600.

Looking to buy?

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