Can you recommend a safe, reliable car for touring southern Europe?

For the first time in 40 years I simply do not know which car I should go for. Two years ago my third Berlingo blew two turbos in quick succession (Iatterly I discovered it was a fault with the model). I needed a car for work and swapped it plus pounds for a 1.4 petrol Nemo, which I find severely underpowered. I retire shortly and we wish to tow initially a folding caravan (700 kg), and perhaps later a small caravan of up to 1200 kg. My mileage will fall from February, say to 8000 - 10,000pa, but a lot will be dual carriageways and motorways in 30-60 mile journeys, so diesel is an option again.

We plan to explore the UK and southern Europe and I need a low mileage vehicle that will last. I have the Nemo to trade in plus up to £10,000 maximum. The Skoda Octavia looks solid and reliable, but which engine? I also carry timber/garden implements/cement etc as I DIY a lot. The Kia range offers space, high ride and transferable warranty out to seven years. The Zafira has issues with the siting of the computer on the engine. Toyotas and CR-Vs appear out of my price range. Towing capacity and safety are priorities, rather than style or speed - I've never regarded cars as status symbols, just workhorses. I now you cannot say what I should do, but pointers on what to avoid in this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Asked on 12 January 2012 by IA, via email

Answered by Honest John
Why not consider a Dacia Duster?
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