1. During my blogging break in October we traded in our family car. We had had our Vauxhall Zafira for seven years and it had nearly reached 100,000 miles. Given that we are both reliant on a car to get to work we decided to take the plunge and trade it in. We ended up with one of these:
2. We decided a while ago that our next car would be a Ford C Max. We had a Ford S Max as a courtesy car a few years ago and loved it, but the S Max is both larger than we need and out of our price range so we thought the smaller C Max would be ideal. Although the Zafira was a seven seater (five fixed seats with two more folding seat at the back) and really we rarely need more than five now, so a smaller car made sense.
3. We test drove a C Max ... and decided it was too small. The back didn't seem to have much more leg room than our little Renault Clio - not ideal for driving teenagers around. We went back to the drawing board and went for the in-between sized car, the Grand C Max. It has the two extra folding seats like the Zafira - though these are simpler to put up and down - and more leg room in the back. It also has sliding rear doors and a folding middle seat which gives the other two back passenger seats more space.
4. The Grand C Max, rather to our surprise, is apparently a cool car! It gets an astonishing number of complimentary comments from Marie's friends. I think it may be the novelty of the sliding doors that does it. The cool effect is also helped by a sound system that allows us not only to play music from our phones via bluetooth, but also to make voice controlled phone calls - tell it to "phone home" and it does. Eat your heart out ET!
5. We stuck with our usual rule of thumb for buying cars and went for nearly new - 3000 miles on the clock reduced the price to £7000 under the list price for a brand new one. Crazy!
6. Helen is still thrilled with her little car, which she bought as soon as she knew she had got a full time job. It is a ten year old Nissan Micra. Judging by the number of old Micras I see on the road they are pretty reliable. She did have to have the starter motor replaced (under warranty) and had to use her breakdown cover for a second time after she left the lights on, but generally it is running well.
7. Another plus for her car is that it is, as she put it, "dirt coloured", which avoids the need to wash it!