Automatic off-roader

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What Car? Staff
18 August 2009

Name Sarah Williamson
Age 47
Drives Toyota RAV4
Budget 17,000
Wants 'Something just as safe for me and my dog.

It needs to have an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. Better fuel economy would be nice, too.'

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Subaru Impreza 2.0 R auto
Price 16,155
Target Price 16,079

It doesn't have as much ground clearance as an SUV, but the Impreza does have four-wheel drive to help out on those slippery roads. This auto version is surprisingly frugal for a petrol it'll do 34.4mpg. 

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI SE DSG, '08/08
Price 16,800

Pricey when new, but a year-old Tiguan is a great buy. It's as good on Tarmac as many small hatches, and this 2.0-litre diesel version should manage almost 40mpg even with the optional auto 'box. 

Land Rover Freelander 2.2 TD4 GS auto, '07/07
Price 16,200

It's miles ahead of the Tiguan when the road turns to mush, but fuel economy does take a hit from the Freelander's optional automatic gearbox Sarah could expect a maximum of only 33.2mpg.