And I don't feel tremendously inclined to blog much, though I will a little.
We're hunting for a replacement for the Peugeot 307, which now *feels* old and tired, even though it's done less that 120K miles. Bits have been trying to fall off for years, and although it's still amazingly economical, it requires about 2X the residual value spending to make it good. Requirements: personal, that it's more enjoyable todrive than the Pug - practical, that my mother's mobility scooter will easily fit in the boot and it has 5 seats in the back.
Faves, between 2 and 5 years old, are:
Ford Focus estate
BMW 3 series estate
Kia Cee'd estate
Fiat 500L (like we had in Canada)
I drove an Octavia Scout with 4WD last week. Handling was brilliant, ride much firmer than the pug, but the cockpit felt claustrophobic, and my head was almost on the ceiling. That's not the end for the Octavia, but I also need to try something else. Will try to arrange a test drive of a Focus shortly: they have a really good reputation for refinement, but there's something about Fords that makes me want to run away (had a Fiesta for a week a couple of years back - not great).
The Beemer makes me nervous, because of the investment and cost of repairs, and they don't have a pristine reputation for reliability either. And there's the snob value, which is both attractive and repellent. The Kia balances that, in that it's almost an anti-snob car, but I keep hearing hints that the performance doesn't measure up to the marketing, and that the 7 year warranty is needed.
Which brings me to the Countryman and 500L.
Both very similar cars in some ways, looking like MPVs that someone shrunk in the wash. The 500L we had a good time with, driving for many hours across Canada, so we know it's comfy and handles OK (not exactly WOW inspiring though) but I'm concerned about a lack of power for a car that's not small. The Countryman OTOH could be everything that the Fiat isn't, with a great rep for handling, decent, enthusiastic engines and even available in 4WD (great for snow round here). The questionmark I have is over size, because the width appears *just* enough to fit the scooter in, and the rear seats come as either 2 or 3 seats.
Cars that have fallen by the wayside are the Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (heart says YES, but the boot is small with a VERY high lip) and BMW 1 series (ditto). I've also seen a few affordable 2 seater convertibles, but we need something sensible to balance the beetle.