What's the best car for a mobility scooter?

An enthusiastic older driver asks what's the best car for his mobility scooter and hoist, and what's the best small car for his friend...

Who has What Car? helped this month - March 2018

I’m now in a household of two – myself and my long-term best friend, Mike. I am 63 and disabled but an enthusiastic driver. My last long-distance trip was in the summer of 2015, when I drove from my home in Dunfermline to Istanbul and back. 

I currently drive a 2013 Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 170 with the DSG automatic gearbox. The car is fitted with a hydraulic hoist, which lifts my mobility scooter into the boot. 

Mike is 59 and a person of size. He does much of my shopping and takes our household rubbish to the tip, often accompanied by his dog. Mike’s car is a 2013 Skoda Octavia Estate 1.6 TDI 115.

Both of our cars are nearly five years old and both are facing a cambelt change, which will cost £400-£500. Both cars will also require MOTs and servicing at the same time.

So, what two new cars would be best to replace ours? I need a car that’s big enough for my scooter and can have a hydraulic hoist fitted to it. Mike needs a car he can sit in comfortably and that has space in the back for large bags. He’d be happy with something basic; unlike me, he regards a car as a tool.

Simon Brook

What Car? says…

It sounds like you’ll need a reasonably large car; one that’s roomy enough to accommodate your scooter and hydraulic hoist. As well as a new Skoda Superb Estate, which has a very large boot, we’d recommend an MPV, because these generally have wide opening doors and low sills for easy access, plus relatively high seats that are easier to get into.

Therefore, we’d suggest you also consider the Ford S-Max, Volkswagen Golf SV and Volkswagen Touran. These cars are also great to drive, with surprisingly agile handling.

2016 Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI review

For the Touran, you could go for a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine instead of a diesel if most of your driving is around town. The 1.6-litre diesel is a better option if you do more motorway driving, though. Both engines are available with the DSG gearbox.

As for Mike, a new Dacia Sandero is a roomy and affordable option. We’d recommend the 1.5-litre dCi in Ambiance trim. It costs £9595, yet comes with a decent amount of standard kit, including air conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows and Bluetooth.

Dacia Sandero

We’d say that getting these cars on PCP deals would be the best option for you both. According to Cap HPI, your Superb Estate has a trade-in value of £8725, so you’ll be looking at obtaining finance of £10,000-£12,000 to get a mid-spec Touran or Superb on a PCP deal. The S-Max is about £5000 more expensive.

Mike should get £4550 in trade-in for his Octavia Estate, leaving a balance of £5045, which he could also put towards a PCP deal. It’s worth looking for manufacturer deposit contributions on both cars. And to ensure you get the best deal, don’t forget to check What Car?’s new car buyer marketplace online.

Best MPVs and the ones to avoid

There was a time when all a good MPV needed to do was to provide space for the whole family, and have a big enough fuel tank to cope with long motorway journeys.

Things are a little different now, though. Outright space is still important, but how that space is packaged is even more critical. A new people carrier should offer a versatile interior that can adapt to a raft of scenarios. And if it seats seven, the rear pair should be able to fold flat into the floor.

Our favourite MPVs also provide a comfortable, relaxing environment, plus plenty of safety kit to protect passengers from harm. And, of course, affordable running costs are crucial.

Here we count down the top 10 MPVs on sale right now. And we reveal the model that's best avoided.

10. Citroen C4 Spacetourer

Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer

The C4 Spacetourer is one of the most versatile five-seat cars around, with a roomy boot and seats that slide and fold independently. Its sleek, uncluttered dashboard is seriously classy, too. Just don't expect the Spacetourer to be particularly fun to drive.

Read our full Citroen C4 Spacetourer review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

9. Volkswagen Sharan

Volkswagen Sharan

With a strong range of diesel engines and smooth handling, the Sharan handles more like a saloon car than a full-sized MPV. There's also an excellent driving position and plenty of space for seven people, although the seats are quite heavy to fold up and down.

Read our full Volkswagen Sharan review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

Seat Alhambra front

The Alhambra has all the strengths of the Sharan, but costs less to buy. That was enough to make it our MPV of the Year between 2011 and 2013, and while the Alhambra's huge size can take some getting used to, in return you get near faultless practicality and space for seven adults.

Read our full Seat Alhambra review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

Next: more of our favourite MPVs >

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