Scrappage special - Buyer's guide - Family cars

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  • Our guide to what to buy
  • Get the most for your money
  • Top fives in key categories
Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D TR 4dr
Price £19,255
Target price £17,978
Economy 55.4mpg
CO2 134g/km

The new Avensis in unlikely to make your heart beat faster, we admit, but it's very desirable, nonetheless.

Why? Simply because it's so easy to live with. It starts with a price that undercuts most similarly equipped rivals. Then there's the effortless driving experience – a smooth ride and excellent refinement make it a superb long-distance cruiser, and light steering and precise controls ensure it's undemanding around town. And the 2.0-litre diesel engine is impressively flexible and quiet.

Inside, the Avensis is refreshingly uncomplicated – clarity and solid build quality take precedence over flashy design and there's a huge amount of space for a family and their clutter.

As well as the reassurance of Toyota reliability, the Avensis promises low long-term costs. Average fuel economy of 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions of just 134g/km are on a par with some rivals' dedicated 'green' models, and group 6 insurance rating keeps premiums down, too.

Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI CR 110 Bluemotion 2
Price £18,095
Target price £16,626
Economy 57.6mpg
CO2 128 g/km

Whoever said that going green demands compromise? Seems that no one told Volkswagen, because its new Passat Bluemotion 2 is a classy, desirable, saloon which just happens to produce a paltry 128g/km CO2 emissions figure.

That puts it in the lowest possible bracket for company car tax and average fuel economy isn't far off 60mpg, either, thanks to measures such as low-resistance tyres and aerodynamic tweaks.

Performance isn't particularly strong, admittedly, but the Bluemotion 2 is as spacious and good to drive as any other Passat, and it's very keenly priced.

Scrappage special - Buyer's guide - Family cars - part two

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