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‘What’s the best compact car for a suburban golfer?’

Alex Robbins is contributing editor at Telegraph Cars where, as well as responding to readers’ queries, he also contributes reviews of new and used cars, together with articles on buying and selling.

His knowledge of the used car market informs his many buying guides relating to the best buys in particular sectors, with an emphasis on value for money. Every week he will answer your questions on buying and selling, as well as solving your car problems, whether consumer or mechanical.

Do you have a motoring dilemma you’d like our expert to solve? For consumer and used car advice, or car faults, email and include your subscriber number. This week’s question…

Dear Alex,

My 2016 Honda HR-V meets two key criteria it has a relatively small footprint (I live in suburban London), with an excellent boot (big and, crucially, wide enough to carry my golf clubs, with ease). Other essentials are front seat comfort, digital displays, Apple Carplay, a well laid out dashboard and a large navigation screen. I have done extensive research on a replacement, but nothing I have yet seen ticks all the boxes. Do you have any suggestions? I also need to keep costs down – the Honda is excellent on fuel out of town, but pretty rubbish in urban driving. I understand that hybrid cars are the reverse, so I am wary of one. Is that correct?


Dear SK,

Your HR-V’s boot is a meter wide by 0.8m long, and the car itself is 4.3 meters long and 1.8 meters wide. My first suggestion is therefore the Nissan Juke. The latest model has a surprisingly large boot for its size – 0.9mm long and 1.1m wide – so it should swallow your golf clubs with ease.

From the mid-range N-Connecta model upwards you get an eight-inch touchscreen and a seven-inch dashboard display, as well as Apple CarPlay, and we like the Juke’s smart, easy-to-use dashboard and an economical little engine. And while it’s a touch wider than the HR-V at 1.9 meters, it’s also shorter, at 4.2 meters, so it should still be easy to park.

Next up, the Volkswagen T-Roc. It’s 4.2 meters long and 1.9 wide, so almost identical to the Juke in terms of its dimensions, and while the Research Institute for Disable Consumers charity hasn’t measured its boot, Volkswagen quotes a boot length of 0.8 meters (its width isn’t mentioned, but it should be about a meter).

The T-Roc now has an all-digital dashboard, with a big, clear screen in front of the driver instead of digital dials, with Apple Carplay as standard. We don’t like the fact that the majority of the interior buttons have been replaced with touch-sensitive pads, which makes them fiddy to use, but I’d still give the T-Roc a try regardless – it’s a great car otherwise.

Finally, there’s the Renault Captur, which is actually based on the same mechanicals as the Juke. But the Captur’s big USP is its sliding rear seat – with this in its furthest forward position, you get a 0.9-meter by 1.0-meter boot, but you can then slide the seat back when you aren’t carrying your golf clubs if you want to gain space for rear-seat passengers.

The Captur also has a five-year warranty, which is obviously worth having over and above the three-year warranty you get on most modern cars; if you did want to switch to a hybrid, meanwhile, it’s available with just such a powertrain. It’s a good one too, with seamless switching from electric to petrol power and gutsy acceleration.

In response to your final question about hybrids, that certainly used to be true. But in my experience, modern hybrids can be almost as fuel-efficient on motorways as they are around town. The last hybrid I drove achieved 60mpg on a motorway run at a fairly constant 70mph, so I don’t think it’s something you need to worry about.


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