Patrick Douglas wants a car that his father can get in and out of easily. The whole family is moving to the country. The buying budget is up to £24,000.

A Car for the Head

By the kinds of vehicles that Patrick has already looked at, such as a Golf Plus, I know he is considering fairly compact vehicles, but with higher seating to make access easier for his father. I think there may also be a suggestion that some form of four-wheel drive may be helpful. First, let's consider what spacious hatchback would suit their requirements.

I think the Toyota Verso would be the obvious choice as a sensible, slightly larger than average hatch. Indeed, it will seat seven if required. There are two very small seats right at the back, which are best for children. Otherwise there is plenty of room and this is a very safe and practical car. A brand-new TR model has fancy alloy wheels, seven seats, a multimedia system including satnav and a dual-zone climate control for £21,610.

A Car for the Heart

Because Patrick has looked at the Skoda Yeti I will assume he wants to consider some form of four-wheel drive to cope with winter in the countryside. My first thought is a Ford Kuga, but it may be a bit tight as a family hatch with offroad ability. As the family is replacing an Audi A3, a Volkswagen Tiguan from the same group may provide the quality and solidity they are used to.

In practical terms there is plenty of room inside and a decent boot. The interior has won many plaudits for being very well finished but no more daunting than a standard Golf. Actually, it is no more difficult to drive than the family hatch, just set a bit higher. Never the cheap option, standard specification is good. They can afford a Crossover 2.0TDi Bluemotion Tec S at £23,580.

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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