Ask the Expert: Which easy-access runaround could replace a Rolls-Royce?

Top quality: the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow has real presence but can be cumbersome
Top quality: the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow has real presence but can be cumbersome - wda bravo / Alamy Stock Photo

Dear Alex,

My 88-year-old father-in-law has enjoyed his 1989 Rolls-Royce ­Silver Shadow, but his driving has now become far more limited, to mainly local trips. The Rolls is becoming a bit too big and cumbersome, and with ­increasing maintenance bills, he wants to change it. Can you recommend an alternative used car, for about £30,000, that will make it easy for him and his wife to get in and out of, but which still has a bit of “presence”? 
– MS

Dear MS,

Nothing I can recommend will offer the presence of your father-in-law’s old Rolls. But the closest he can get, looking for a smaller car but with a higher ride height, would be a Range Rover ­Evoque. This has one of the nicest ­interiors at this price point – real wood, leather, and high-quality materials.

It’s a nice thing to drive, too, with a smooth, comfortable ride and quiet petrol engines. Steer clear of the R-Dynamic models with their ride-compromising big wheels, and ­settle instead for an SE or HSE, more comfortable and just as plush. I found a one-owner 2019 Evoque P250 SE, with 35,000 on the clock, asking £29,995.

One caveat: like all Land Rovers, it has a poor reputation for reliability. An alternative might be the Volvo XC40. It has less presence, for sure, but you still get a high-quality interior and the sort of high seating position you’re after. The XC40 is one of the most ­comfortable cars of its type, with ­excellent seats and smooth suspension – though as with the Range Rover, I’d advise avoiding the stiffer springs of the R-Design version. Instead, how about a T3 Inscription auto on the 21-plate with just 17,000 miles, going for £30,000 at a Volvo main dealer?

My final option wears arguably the most upmarket badge of the bunch – though it isn’t ostensibly quite as desirable as the other two cars here. That’s because it isn’t an SUV; instead, the Mercedes B-Class looks more like an MPV – and that arguably gives it a bit less presence.

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