Help me choose a car!

I need to get an automatic car, I think - but (1) I know nothing about cars and (2) while I can happily drive an automatic, I don’t know anything about them either… I’m a total girl in this respect!

I am after a small car that will last a long time, be reliable and economic to run and have a big enough boot that if & when the time comes I can fit a wheelchair / walker in there. Ideally I would like not to have to buy one brand new - a year or two old - and then get adaptations retrofitted. But I plan to get some advice on specifics there.

Recommendations? Shortlist?

TIA for any help.

That one is almost easy - look at a KIA
The “almost” bit is that automatics are changing from a true auto with a torque converter to an automated manual with an automatic clutch.
My advice was always to get a diesel automatic.
Then I got a Peugeot 3008 with the automated manual.

OK so it was economical, quite fun to drive, had a wonderful boot, but it did have a choppy ride.
Then, coming back from Manchester, I had about 150 miles behind me when warning lights came on all over the dash, the cruise control lost all its settings, the engine lost power and I just limped into Gloucester services.
We finished the trip courtesy of the AA. A fuel injector had failed. The car had just over 20,000 miles on the clock. The last three Peugeots I have had all had electrical/electronic problems at a relatively low mileage.
It was replaced ith a KIA, 3 years old and with four years warranty remaining.

My youngest daughter had a KIA about 5 years ago and has still got it. New brake pads, new tyres, and an annual service.
That is it!
She drives down from Manchester about once a month to see her aged parents

Look at the Honest John website.
Then look at the KIA C’eed Sportwagon (estate) and Soul (estate). You can get either with a Dual Clutch (automated manual) transmission, and a choice of engines.
If you would rather get a petrol before the diesel cars are totally demonised by the Government (tho’ they do have bigger problems to deal with) then get what you are happy with - but a diesel does have more pulling power at low speed.
The Soul is not very sporty looking, but sells very well in the US.

Others may have a different view.


1 Like


My recommendation is a Honda Jazz. It’s a small car, but makes a very good use of the space. One of the most practical things is that you can flip up the back seats (the bit your bum goes on). It’s very easy to then lift in a folding wheelchair.

They’re light & easy to drive, and the automatic gearbox is excellent, very smooth & efficient (make sure it’s the CVT one though). They’re also incredibly reliable, which means used models retain their value very well.


1 Like

Thank you.

My current car is a Kia Picanto, so I wouldn’t mind another of those :slight_smile:

(Just not the Picanto as I want a much bigger boot) - I will look at the C’eed despite its silly name and also the Soul :slight_smile:

Super. I’ll put that one my list too!

1 Like

I confess to not having much interest in cars, but currently on my third Ford Fiesta Auto and they drive perfectly well so might suit your needs. They don’t tend to hold their value terribly well and might be a decent bet second hand.

The trick is to try a few out before you buy, which is obviously part of your grand plan.

1 Like

i had a kia venga as my first motability car.

it was great and not too big when parking.

then my 2nd one was a vauxhall astra.

i love it for it’s acceleration, handy when using the motorway.

but it’s clumsy for parking.

test drive is essential.

good luck

carole x

1 Like

Just my tuppence worth; I drive a Honda CR-V, and it’s a fine car, which doesn’t show its age (2004!) I’d recommend Honda for reliability every time… it just does what it says on the tin! The only problem I have with it is that it’s a bit thirsty, but I trade 28mpg for starting every time and tackling all sorts of odd terrains; flooded roads, potholes that you could lose a Land Rover in, steep hills with four sizeable drunken blokes on board, and towing the trailer. If you’d like something smaller, I’ve heard good things about the Honda Jazz… never tried one though.

1 Like

Yes, I haven’t figured the practicalities of a test drive yet as I won’t be able to drive without adaptations. Trying to book a driving assessment thingy and hoping they will help somehow…

Completely agree with the reliability of Hondas. My friend has got a Mk1 version of the Jazz, and it just goes. It’s had the odd rattle every now & then, but never broken down. Another friend has got one too, and she loves its reliability too.