Which reliable estate should I buy for my wife, and should I buy petrol or diesel?

I am looking to buy my wife a better car. This needs to be an estate due to the fact we have two children and a dog. I have a budget of £4000 and am wondering which car to go for, and whether I should opt for diesel or petrol?

Asked on 16 November 2013 by PC, via email

Answered by Honest John
Focus' or Volvo V50s are the easiest to get fixed and essentially the same underneath, but the Focus is cheaper. Avoid the 1.6TDCI 110 of either. Stick to petrol. You’ll get worse fuel economy but not suffer the colossal expense of replacement DPFs, DMFs and turbos on a diesel car that could easily swallow £4000 alone.
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