Help! I am looking to replace my car and I am not sure what to go for

I was weedkilling out in the garden the other day and I came very close to spraying the top of my old Ford Focus estate to try and kill the various species of mould that continue to grow on the roof. I did an online valuation of it the other day and I was quoted the whopping sum of £315.00, and that was without anybody actually seeing the actual state of the car. Yes, the time has come. I need a new car. Help! What on earth do I go for?

If I didn’t have kids then it would be easy because I would still be driving a van, which to me is the ideal fishing wagon. But I have a couple of girls so the van thing doesn’t work these days. I have driven my Ford Focus estate for I think about twelve years now and it’s done me proud, so I could of course simply look around for a decent second hand one of them or even look into those PCP financing schemes for a new one that you then change over after say three years etc. I was asking around on Facebook the other day though and via that and looking around the internet it seems that the Skoda Octavia is pretty hard to beat as an estate - and yes, I need a car with plenty of space.

Now a mate of mine drives one of those Nissan Qashqai SUV things, and whilst I have rather disparagingly referred to it as a hairdresser’s car before - not that there is anything remotely wrong with hairdressers! - I have actually started to think that perhaps one of these SUV type cars is the way to go. I don’t need a 4x4 to negotiate any steep gravel drives leading up to a Chelsea mansion, there is no point me buying something that doesn’t do a decent bunch of miles to the gallon, I am not after some high performance driving machine that is best suited to a racetrack, and I am not into buying a car as some kind of appendage extension. But I do like the idea of slightly higher ground clearance because my current Ford Focus struggles to get down a slightly rutted lane with its lack of clearance, and it seems that some of these SUV cars have a good amount of backseat space for the kids.

My principal worry about an SUV is the fact that the boots don’t seem to be as large as you might find in something like that Skoda Octavia estate, or indeed my current mould sprouting car. Am I wrong to think like this? My wife has an estate so it’s not a big problem if we need to go somewhere with a load of stuff plus the dog of course, and a lot of the time I am travelling on my own or with a mate over to Ireland say, and it’s easy to put back seats down and fit enough crap in the car I suppose.

Any thoughts on these SUV cars, or should I avoid them completely? I don’t really want one of the larger ones and I reckon around that Qashqai or Mazda CX5 size sort of thing would do me. I am perfectly happy with a decent turbo diesel engine for the sort of driving and milage I do - I like a decent MPG figure of course - and I kinda take it that most modern cars have a half decent stereo etc. I’m not interested in flashy alloy wheels or any of that rubbish, but I would seriously welcome your help and thoughts on what I should be looking at. I’d think I’d be perfectly happy with say a Skoda Octavia estate or indeed another Ford Focus estate, but I am guessing that some of you here drive an SUV thing and I’d be interested to know your thoughts. And yes, I know squat about cars and I find it somewhat easier buying a lure rod! Have a good weekend and my thanks in advance for any help you can give me here.