A car for mum-in-law - Morris Ox
Mum-in-law runs a petrol auto Peugeot 306, the second she's had in the past four years. It leads a life of predominantly short journeys and economy is, frankly, appalling.

Her last 306 auto ate its cat because it was spending so much time having a rich mixture fired at it. The latest is too new for it to happen yet, but she now knows that the car probably isn't best suited to her lifestyle.

I've finally planted the thought in her mind that she should consider something different. She doesn't want anything smaller than a 306 but might consider something slightly bigger.

Her 306 is a two year-old 1.6 auto Meridian, it's spotless, cared for like a baby, and has done under 10k miles.

So, some suggestions guys and gals. It must be more economical, must be tolerant of a low miles lifestyle, must be able to take a set of golf clubs and a trolley. Still has to be an auto. I'd reckon her overall price ceiling )taking into account a trade-in) is probably up to £15k, and while she isn't after prestige she doesn't want cheap and cheerful.

A car for mum-in-law - TrevP
Skoda Octavia TDI AUTO (£12,325 from UKcarbroker).

I know the "convential wisdom" says that only high mileage drivers should look at diesel, but at that price and economy?
A car for mum-in-law - DavidHM
I tend to agree with Trev on this one. Of course, she might have issues with driving a Skoda, but as I would very much like a vRS myself (seen one for £12k on a 52 plate!) I think the quality and space would more than justify any problems she might have with the badge.

Diesels do tend to take shorter journeys better than petrols with cats. Of course, financially, she's already taken the big depreciation hit on this car (she's likely to get £5500-£6000 as a trade in) and it would make more sense to keep the 306, but I suspect your mother in law is one of those older drivers who value convenience over anything else - and if she has the money, then frankly why not?
A car for mum-in-law - Morris Ox
The Pug's depreciation is an important point, and when I mentioned to her what the likley trade-in value might be there was a predictable intake of breath. The decision to do something now has been prompted partly by this factor. The other reason is that she's concerned - I think with some justification - that this car is going to prove expensive in all sorts of ways as time goes by. She doesn't want the bills or the hassle.

You've sussed her out quite well, David. She isn't frivolous but does have the money to indulge herself if she believes there's a reason for it. I'm sure she'd be interested in a diesel auto; is there anything which would match her spec other than a Skoda?
A car for mum-in-law - DavidHM
Surprisingly, a Golf is about the same price (£12824). It's basically the same car as the Skoda (with the 100 bhp PD engine) but obviously the image is better.

A Citroën Xsara can be had for less (£11815) and is very similar to her old 306 - but depreciation will be worse on that than either of the other two. A C5 110 LX HDi (£13600 ish from www.broker4cars.co.uk ) is likely to be too big and still depreciate rapidly.

There's the Honda Civic Imagine, which is a 1.6 petrol, but will do the job very well and is very well put together, for £12049. Alternatively a Corolla 1.6 T3 Auto is £11589.

You could also look at a Focus, 307, etc., but they're also petrol autos, without the Japanese reliability.
A car for mum-in-law - DavidHM
Should point out that the Golf is the 100 bhp TDi Match and the Xsara is the HDi 110 LX.
A car for mum-in-law - DavidHM
Finally, I should point out that I can't read and I was quoting for a 1.6 petrol Golf by mistake. They were next to each other on the price list, okay? :-( The equivalent Golf is right at the top of the budget, £15348, in SE spec, with a tiptronic transmission.

At that money, she'd be better off with the Octavia. If she's in a hurry, she could look at the Bora ST 130 PD Tiptronic (assuming she can say it) which is £14811, much faster and with a massive boot, but iffy depreciation like all booted Golfs since the 80s.
A car for mum-in-law - J Bonington Jagworth
"..economy is, frankly, appalling"

She's not pulling the choke out and hanging her handbag on it, is she? :-)
A car for mum-in-law - Morris Ox
My mother-in-law is far too diplomatic to do anything other than smile politely at that one...
A car for mum-in-law - Nortones2
How far does she actually travel? Petrol engines are likely to self-destruct on a diet of short journeys, so diesel, LPG, LNG, hybrids might be better for engine life.
A car for mum-in-law - J Bonington Jagworth
"My mother-in-law is far too diplomatic.."

Not like me, then! It was a cheap shot, I admit, and I don't suppose the 306 even has a choke...

More seriously, couldn't you persuade her to go on just the occasional longer run (or borrow the car to do so yourself)? I'm not suggeting an Italian tune-up, necessarily, but a longer trip would help stop things furring up and should extend the life of the cat. It's a car she likes, I imagine, and it seems a shame to get rid of it for a less known quantity just because it's using a bit more petrol than it should. That can't be costing a lot if the journeys are so short.
A car for mum-in-law - Morris Ox
She does like the car, JBJ, but I think her attachment to Peugeot relates mainly to it being a trustworthy dealer. She isn't so attached to the car that she can't see its shortcomings.

I think she's more likely to look at a Golf than an Octavia for image reasons, but that's due for a swap this year I think.

Have thought about the Xsara, but the usual concerns about French 'lite' construction wander into view.

She might even consider something like a Bee Em Compact, but whether they do a diesel auto I'm not sure at this time of night...
A car for mum-in-law - mlj
The BMW compact diesel is available as an auto, predictably you are looking at £20k+. The Xsara auto is poor- by any criteria you can think of (see HJ's column in yesterday's paper). Would a Mazda 6 be too big? This does have a diesel auto model.
A car for mum-in-law - Morris Ox
Spoke to M-i-L yesterday; she quivered at the suggestion of a Skoda, despite my best 'It's a VW really' argument.

Perked up at the idea of a Golf, and sounded intrigued by the Beemer, though I suspect she would be more interested in a used Compact auto than a new one.
A car for mum-in-law - Flat in Fifth
Thinking laterally, why not a suggestion of suggesting she keeps her Pug, bring it over every other week and while she is fixing your Sunday lunch suggest you take it out and give it a little technical attention, aka Italian tune up, to avoid all the trouble.

That way, M-i-L thinks no one can cook as well as she can, Mrs Morris Ox avoids having Sunday lunch duties so you're in her good books, and you get to go out on a Sunday morning and thrash the living daylights out of the poor little thing.

M-i-L will then drive her rejuvenated motor back, notice how well its going and tell all her mates that her favourite S-i-L is the cat's pyjamas as he's saved her all this wonga!

Known as win - win situation methinks.

A car for mum-in-law - frostbite
Known as win - win situation methinks.

Unless m-i-l is a rotten cook!

Value my car