We have a 2015 VW Golf estate, which has now done almost 130,000 miles, and although the engine is fine, other things are beginning to fail. We would like a replacement with similar fuel economy (our diesel Golf gets 55-60mpg), and a high degree of reliability. Diesel, petrol and hybrid are all acceptable. We would prefer an SUV-type vehicle, with a hatch-rear opening and a bit more comfortable or higher spec than the Golf. Our budget is £15,000. What do you suggest?
If fuel economy is top priority, I suggest the Nissan Qashqai. The boot won’t be as roomy as your Golf’s, but the Qashqai is a smaller car than most SUVs, and that makes it lighter, which will give you a better chance of achieving that sort of efficiency. Being slightly smaller, the Qashqai is also better value than most SUVs.
Go for the 1.5 dCi – it’s the most efficient, and smoother and nicer to drive than the more powerful 1.6. You should be able to achieve 50-55mpg in the real world, though 60mpg on a run is not impossible. I found a 2019 1.5 dCi Tekna with all the toys and 41,000 miles on the clock for £15,000.
If by “higher spec” you mean a car with a premium badge, you could try the BMW X3. Go for an SE version to get the best comfort levels, and the two-litre diesel should be more than enough. The downside is that you’ll probably get no more than 45mpg on average, and that badge commands a premium, so for your £15,000 you’re only getting a 2015 example with 65,000 miles on the clock.
A good compromise would be the Mazda CX-5. The latest version is smart inside, so will feel more plush than your Golf, and it comes well equipped. There’s more boot space than the Qashqai, and while the 2.2-litre diesel engine isn’t quite as economical, you should still see around 50mpg on average. The CX-5 is great to drive, and should prove dependable, too. I found a 2018 example with 49,000 miles on the clock for £14,995.
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