The Nissan Note offers generous amounts of leg- and elbow-room


Terry Hamilton has always owned comfortable cars but as he is now 81, he's less concerned about power, more interested in easy access and has up to £12,000 to spend.

A Car for the Head

As well as wide opening doors and a high seat, Terry also needs a car that can cope with longish distances to visit friends and family around the country. The ideal type of car would be a mini MPV, or people carrier, which will have the raised seating position that makes it a doddle to get in and out of. The obvious first choice would be the Nissan Note. As well as plenty of room to wear a hat, there are also generous amounts of leg- and elbow-room so Terry should find it easy enough to get comfy. The smallest 1.2 petrol engine will be more than adequate and will return around 47mpg officially. Acenta specification includes air-con. With new prices starting at just over £11,000 a slightly used 2011 model is better value with a few thousand mileage at the most, and improved specification.

A Car for the Heart

The latest VW Polo is a good buy, being very comfortable, though it's not the cheapest option. And I am not sure that the seat height would be ideal. Perhaps Terry should consider the Suzuki Splash or the Vauxhall Agila, identical cars with different badges and specifications. Built by Suzuki in Hungary the reliability record of the Splash has been good and the build quality is certainly more than satisfactory. It may not have that element of quality that the Polo has, but they are competent and spacious. I would shop for slightly used examples; a 2011 model with less than 2,000 miles and an automatic gearbox to make life even easier would be just £9,499. That's an ex-dealer demonstrator SZ4 version with air-conditioning.

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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