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Name: Eric Butler
Age: 60
Drives: BMW 320i
Budget: 20,000
Wants: 'I'd love another 3 Series but find the ride in the current one bone-jarring.

'Is there something that's equally safe and comfortable, but still quick and good to drive?'

Skoda Octavia 2.0 TFSI vRS
Price: 17,995
Target Price: 16,984

The vRS is quick, comfortable and well under budget. It handles well and Euro NCAP gave it four out of five stars for safety. It'd have to be a pre-face-lifted car, though the new one isn't out until the summer.

Mercedes-BENZ C200K SE, '08/08
Price: 19,800

SE models are set up for comfort but are still rewarding to drive. This supercharged 1.8-litre version has more power than Eric's BMW, is more economical and also scores five out of five for safety.

Audi A4 3.0 TDI Quattro S line, '07/57
Price: 18,100

S line models are packed full of creature comforts and the 3.0-litre diesel engine has plenty of oomph. It should also manage 35mpg. Quality is superb, safety is good and the A4 is good to drive.