Brian Liden needs to tow his 1,600kg caravan and wants a combination of lively performance with decent fuel economy. He has £15,000 to spend.
A Car for the Head
Reliability is Brian's priority so I will only be looking at Japanese cars. I know Brian isn't bothered about having four-wheel drive, having owned a rear-wheel-drive BMW that was perfectly adequate at pulling his caravan along. The sensible choice would be a Toyota Avensis. It used to be boring to look at, but is now a bit funkier in the styling department. However, you don't buy this model for style, but rather its practicality, especially in Tourer estate-car form. I know that caravanners have all sorts of extra items to take with them, so the 509 litres of boot space (with the seats up) will come in handy. The diesel engine is the best option, officially returning 62.6 mpg. A 2012 2.0 D-4D TR model with just under 10,000 miles is £15,000.
A Car for the Heart
As Brian enjoys driving and would like something slightly sporty, a Mazda 6 might be the answer. Here is a family car with sporty handling and a responsive diesel engine. It also has quite bold styling with distinctive designer creases and bulges over the wheel arches. The Mazda 6 2.2D (180) Sport is available as an estate car. The boot area is 519 litres, but fold the seats down and it increases to a massive 1,751. As we are talking numbers, officially the fuel consumption is around 52mpg. The performance is suitably perky and it will get to 62 mph in 8.7 seconds. Trouble is, it's not cheap. A 2011, 24,000-mile example is £16,000, but I did find a private seller with a 2010 model that had covered 15K miles which was on offer at £13,995.
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.