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Help needed please - advice on buying a car


Registered User
Jun 30, 2010
Our car has just been written off after a major engine problem and I need some help in replacing it. Can anyone give me advice please? We had an old faithful Landrover Freelander but it's packed up. I relied on it to transport family. I've never had to buy a car it was always something my husband took care of but he is now seriously disabled, he's 83. My mum is 89 - we all live together. I haven't a clue about cars, I've read so much today and still none the wiser. We need a model that will work for us, we can't afford a new car. My husband loved the Freelander but he struggled to get into it, even with a step to help as it's quite high off the ground. It was time to consider a more practical solution on that front.

I take both Husband and Mum out together on trips to garden centres etc and so both need access. My H has a wheelchair so need space for that. We live on high ground and often get snow during winter. 4 x 4 was a good solution but I realise we have to forfeit that luxury.

I would be so grateful for any ideas you might have. Where do I start?


Registered User
Oct 8, 2009
Herefordshire UK
Hi Jancis
If you,your Mum or your husband gets Disability Living Allowance have you thought about getting a vehicle through the Mobility Scheme people. You have to use your DLA as monthly payments, but the vehicle would be new and after three years (I think) it can be exchanged for a new model.

I have a Citroen Berlingo, which isn't as high up as a Freelander, but still very useful for putting a wheelchair or two in the back. I've had my Berlingo for about 16 years and it has been very good. I used to take my Mum out in it and would put her wheelchair in the back. I think you could get this or a similar vehicle with the Mobility scheme.

Hope this is of some help.


Registered User
Jun 30, 2010
Hello Pauline, I did look at the Mobility Scheme Website but it doesn't seem to support people over a certain age. My H gets Attendance Allowance but not PIP. Because I look after two people only one seems to qualify for an allowance but I could be wrong?

carpe diem

Registered User
Nov 16, 2011
Hi. I've got a Citroen berlingo. They're regularly used as disability cars and thus you can get them at 3 years old with low milage when the mobility leases have sold them on. They're higher than a car so easier to get out of and have sliding back doors so easier to get in. If you want a bit of power for hills get a higher spec not the basic model, mine is a 1.6 HDi XTR estate. There are newer models now. Its a multi space which is between a car and a van. 5 seats, 5 doors and windows all round.
I used to own a 4x4 but they use too much fuel and have high road tax.
Try to look at all the costs like tax, insurance and fuel. Some cars cost more for parts. Look out for the little extras like air conditioning, you might miss it if you had it before.


Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
It might be better to look at petrol models, rather than diesels, at the moment.
The AA still do used car checks, (for non members,) just contact them for a cost quote.
It's an independent check on the cars condition, and could be very useful.



Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
Near Southampton
I checked Which and What Car which I followed up online and then read reviews from other motor sites. Then when I'd narrowed it down, I also read loads of user reviews which were very helpful.
It's important to decide which features are important to you as not everything will be useful to everyone.

Nice to hear from you again Jancis. You were the first person to respond to my first post here!


Registered User
Apr 13, 2015
I would happily recommend a Honda CRV or a Renault Scenic as I have found them to be very reliable MPVs and not too costly to run. I would also recommend leasing a car if you are not able to qualify for one under the mobility scheme as I found it to be a more cost effective way of getting a new car and if circumstances change, you have the option of returning it to the dealership or getting a newer model. My Dad also went for this option as he wasn't sure if he would still want to be driving when he hits his mid-80's but didn't want to lose a lot of money selling a new car privately (plus have all the hassle).

Happy car hunting :)


Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
North Manchester
If buying a used car and asked to pay extra for a warranty read the small print carefully. Most do not cover diagnostics to find the fault, this can amount to tens of pounds to replace a cheap item the failure of which could be obvious given a few minutes thought.

Also some new car warranties are following BT Openreach policy and charging for any diagnostics/work done if the dealer decides it's an NFF (no fault found). Be careful of complaints like 'the central locking does not always work'.

More reliable cars and a growing numbers of competent third party marque specialists, with no showroom overheads, whose work, provided original parts are fitted, has to be accepted for warranty purposes is making it financially tough for dealerships.

With a specialist you can talk to a technician not a receptionist who may use Chinese Whispers to forward your problem.


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
I'd look at what dealers are local to you, no point in getting something where the nearest dealer is miles away. If you use a local mechanic then I'd ask them what's the easiest car to maintain and they think is the most reliable.
Most manufactures make a suitable mini MPV type of car, Citroen Picasso or Berlingo, Ford CMax, Vauxhall Meriva or Zafira...too many to list really.
All I would look for is something you have to get "up" into as opposed to getting "down" into as getting out of a low car can be a problem.


Registered User
Apr 19, 2016
Chard, Somerset
Buying a car

I had to buy a car recently when our saloon was written off by an idiot on the M3. I guess I was lucky as I went up to the local garage and said 'Any ideas?' I live in the country, it is a small community and everyone knows everyone. They knew I needed something to get up and down an unmade road (we have a Land Rover Disco as well). Mum has difficulty getting getting in and out of the LR (steps needed) so something a little less utilitarian, easy to get in and out of but still able to cope with an unmade road was what was wanted.

I was sent to a local car dealer who they knew had a Nissan XTrail. Perfect. Walking aids fit in as it's an estate, same height as a saloon so no probs getting in and out, and it can switch between normal and 4 wheel drive as necessary. It is not as good as a LR if you want to off road but it's fine for getting mum about. Also has a built in satnav and lots of gadgets but, to me, cars are for going from A to B so I'm probably not the best person to tell you about the extras.

Are we supposed to be like the BBC here and not advertise? If so, I daresay I will be 'moderated' out.

Good luck


Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
West Hertfordshire
I'd second a Renault Scenic, when mine sadly died after many years of abuse I moved onto a Nissan Note, which again I couldn't fault. Best bit of the Note was that the back seat slide backwards and forwards ( unusual) via a lever in the bootspace, - great, you can slide the seat back when your passenger is in. Load of wheelchair space too.


Registered User
Jan 29, 2014
Quite a few people have a citreon berlingo. I have a picasso as I wanted it to look normal but work for us. It's ideal and we are on our second.


Registered User
Sep 3, 2015
4WD estate car

I'd suggest a 4 wheel drive estate car perhaps a Skoda Octavia for good value secondhand. I'm not too well up on it as I can't drive due to medical issues.


Registered User
Jun 30, 2010
Thank you everyone

Wow, I didn't expect so much helpful information and lots of really good tips too. I was overwhelmed by the idea of where to start but now I have a shortlist to consider I feel a little more confident. I'm getting a hire car today so I can at least get from A to B while considering all the options. Wish me luck and thanks again.


Registered User
Sep 9, 2016
Hi Jancis,

For what you need I would recommend a crossover, for example a Ford Kuga, VW Tiguan, Skoda Yeti as they are slightly raised in seating and have plenty of room. You can't really go wrong with a Ford or VW, both reliable types but defo worth getting a petrol over a diesel at the moment.

Dawn [emoji4]