I think the actual make and model is a very personal thing. I imported a Toyota-Hiace Bus conversion from Japan and have never regretted it. The Hiace is “B” registered so quite elderly. I am tall for a woman (at almost 6ft) and have an abnormally long spine. I suggest power steering and I like automatic. You can get a second accelerator pedal fitted where the clutch usually goes and that helps with the back/leg muscles. I also have an extension on the brake pedal and as my right leg is weak I often drive using my left foot only.

The Toyota seats a driver and up to 7 passenger so is ideal for my large family. It is a diesel automatic and I get about 35 mpg on urban and semi-urban driving. It only goes up to 38 mpg on longer runs but I am happy with that. The only problems I have is that the rear seats have lap belts only and it is tall and I can’t get into some car parks. I need 6ft 8in clearance. I also find that climbing up into and down from the Toyota is much easier than trying to fold my back into a “normal” car. Access to the back of the Bus is via a sliding door and the middle row of seats is split and can face either direction. The seat nearest the sliding door swivels so that my 90 year old Grandma can sit on the seat and then we can just twist the seat until it locks into place. I’m sure this would be good for anyone with less than average mobility. The back seats will also fold flat and we have used it as an ambulance to get me home when my spine spasmed when we were on holiday. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t been able to travel in the back of the bus – maybe I would have had to stay in hospital miles from home.

My husband has had a number of cars (he gets a company car) and I insist on power steering and power braking and automatic. He has had a car with cruise control which was activated by a hand lever and I found I could use this instead of the accelerator. Useful but I wouldn’t buy this myself due to the expense but it was already fitted to the car. I think you have to try, try and try cars until you get one that you like. I have problems getting into too many cars but love my Toyota and I also loved the Skoda Estelle I had before that (no automatic on that which is why I changed) and the Volvo 700 I had before that. I didn’t like the Nissan Primera I had before the Volvo (I got stuck in it when my spine went into spasm and had to be rescued). I hated the Metro I was loaned and I couldn’t get into one of the Citroens I tried. I also like the Ford Galaxy as a passenger. Sorry to go on for so long – and good luck. Stay well and have a Happy Christmas and a pain-free New Year.

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