One For The Road: An estate to cope with the worst of the weather


Deborah Elliot and her partner Neville need a car to cope with their daily commute, sometimes in adverse weather conditions; ideally an estate big enough for teenage children and camping trips.

A Car for the Head

No mention of a budget, but Deborah has inherited a small Polo, which is for local runs, and she tells me that they are not precious about cars and just need a workhorse. I get the impression that although mention was made of snow, that a 4x4 might not be what they have in mind. They really need a simple and practical car that is cheap to buy and run. For those reasons, the best option would be a Ford Mondeo and I would also recommend the last of the old model from 2006. First of all it will be cheap (£4,000), well-equipped (in Ghia trim) and, if fitted with a 2.0TDCi 130 engine, economical, returning around 45mpg. It will also be able to haul loads and, when fitted with decent tyres, will easily be able to cope in the winter.

A Car for the Heart

When it comes to a workhorse, you can't go far wrong with a Volvo V70. As you would expect, there is masses of room in the load area and it also has lots of nets, hooks and straps to keep everything in place. A waste bin and umbrella holder are neat and useful touches, while at the back, the centre of the seat has a useful pop-up worktop. The suspension is quite smooth over a mix of conditions, and quality, safety and reliability are not in question. The D5 2.4 diesel will return just over 40mpg and won't cost a fortune to run if a good independent garage is used. A 2005 D5 can be bought for just under £5,000 and with SE specification, which means that all the essential extras, from air conditioning to remote locking, are there.

Looking to buy?

Email James Ruppert at onefortheroad, 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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