Bored as you might be by the environmental impact of your chosen vehicle, respect is due to chaps like reader Ricky, who ran a Ford Galaxy from 2005 until recently. That was almost 15 years of solid family motoring. The thing is: what do you replace it with? Assuming, of course, that having to worry about fold-flat rear seats and a loading area is a thing of the past.
The best-case scenario is a few hundred quid for the Galaxy, plus a matured investment, or one of those pensions that you might as well cash in so you have £20k to play with. Time to get yourself a selfish car. A convertible, perhaps? At the moment, there are a lot of Mercedes-Benz C-Classes in circulation that have come off the hire fleets with registration dates in 2017. So just over £19k gets you a C250d, probably with AMG trimmings, sat-nav and reversing camera at the very least with 30k miles. These are one-owner, full-history and showroom-ready. A very easy car to live with and look after.
If practicality is required without going the full SUV, then it has to be a classy estate in the handsome shape of a Jaguar XF in Portfolio specification. I came across a 2018 with a 2.0 diesel at a car supermarket that had fewer than 10k miles on the clock. With a windscreen price of £19,990, it had all the important electrical gadgets like 360deg parking and lane keeping assistance. These are pretty solid buys and, when it comes to resale, the estate has a clear edge over the saloon.
Grand touring is certainly something you should be doing after a lifetime of MPVing. It’s a question of whether it’s a 1990s icon like a two-owner 1995 840ci with 80k miles at £19,950, or a Maserati. Do you take a chance on a five-owner 2008 Granturismo with 60k miles that’s £19,995? Personally, the BMW edges it as, even with a full history, that’s quite an old Italian that probably has parts costs that will eclipse the old German.
However, there’s a random Brit in this dream GT mix. A five-owner Aston Martin DB7 from 2001 with 90k miles is £19k dead-on with a service history that isn’t absolutely comprehensive. Another good-to-look-at, expensive-to-live-with indulgence that would lead me back to Germany.
In real life, Ricky bought himself a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe with 120k miles. You can criticise the adoption of the SUV lifestyle if you want, but this is industrial-scale recycling right there. That’s a reliable old bus that still does the people-shifting duties when required.