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What car should I buy that's fun but economical?

I am 69 and generally reasonably fit and still working. Three months ago I decided that I really needed a car with a higher driving position. I fancied a MINI Countryman, but the only one near to me and not white was a Cooper S version. As I still enjoy driving and a bit of performance I bought it privately. I love it but I am horrified at the fuel consumption, my journey to work is outside of the rush hour 6.5 miles on A roads and dual carriageways. If I just let the torque do the work and change up at 3000 revs I am averaging 33 mpg. If I actually enjoy a bit of a blast every day I get just over 20 mpg.

I am retiring next February and will change it next spring with a budget of £7000. I need to get two large dogs in the back What would you suggest?

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It doesn't sound like you will be covering many miles, so we'd advise avoiding a diesel. We'd be inclined to keep the Countryman, if you like it. The cars you've mentioned will feel like a bit of a step-down and, if you're not covering many miles, the fuel savings will be wiped out by the cost of changing cars. If you do want to change, I reckon a Skoda Yeti would suit your requirements well. You'd probably enjoy the 1.8 TSI petrol but it's thirsty (our readers report around 31mpg on average: www.honestjohn.co.uk/realmpg/skoda/yeti-2009). Look for a 1.4 TSI for the best combination of performance and economy.
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