Choosing the best set of used wheels for this summers festival season
These days there's a huge variety of annual summer festivals held throughout the UK, with something to suit all ages and musical tastes. You'll find small, family-friendly events that attract just a few thousand people along with major festivals such as Glastonbury, which sold its 135,000 tickets in less than half an hour. If you've already got your festival tickets sorted out (and you really should have done by now) but still need to find a top used car to get you there, read on.
Rest assured there's a great set of festival wheels out there for you, no matter whether you're heading off across the country with a gang of your best mates, you're whizzing the kids off to a chilled out family-friendly festival, or you're going to spend a romantic weekend listening to your favourite bands and glamping in a yurt. Here are a few things to consider before taking the plunge.
Room for the gazebo
Regardless of what kind of festival you're off to, space is the one thing that will remain a priority - you've got to have somewhere for the beers and the camping chairs after all. Anyone who has been to a festival before will know all too well how quickly stuff can mount up. Once you've got the blow-up mattress, cool box, gazebo and fold-up picnic table all piled up, it can sometimes feel like you might as well have thrown the kitchen sink in for good measure. The solution? Find a used car with a cavernous interior.
When it comes to loadspace, you won't go far wrong with the Volvo V70. This impressive estate offers a flexible interior, plenty of comfort for passengers and classic Swedish styling. Alternatively, consider the Ford Focus Estate, renowned for its great handling, impressive use of space and numerous safety and security features. You'll also find some great deals out there on Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer estate models, known for its comfortable ride and practical interior.
If you're travelling to a festival with a large family or a group of friends, a people carrier could be the best option. Like the Focus estate, the Ford S-Max MPV has superb handling and is regarded as great fun to drive in spite of its size. You'll get a spacious cabin, a choice of economical engines and added extras such as dual zone climate control with digital air-conditioning - a godsend if you get stuck in traffic on a hot day while trying to enter or exit the festival site. The Grand C-Max, also from Ford, is a roomy seven-seater with a particularly flexible interior, while the Vauxhall Zafira ticks many of the same boxes and boasts low running costs too.
If you're going all out for festival fashion then you'll want to be sure that your car won't let the side down. The great news is that you won't need to compromise on space either as there are plenty of quality used cars on the market that offer both space and style.
If you're heading to a festival such as Glastonbury or Shambala, where the focus is firmly on sustainability, you won't go far wrong by turning up in a Toyota Prius, boasting innovative hybrid technology and ultra-low CO2 emissions. At the other end of the scale you have the rather more thirsty Land Rover Range Rover Sport, a four-wheel-drive legend that never fails to attract admiring glances. If you're intending to make an entrance at one of the UK's hippest events then this is the car to be driving.
Travelling alone or with a friend? If having oodles of space isn't a priority then why not go crazy and really make an entrance behind the wheel of a convertible. Nothing screams festival fun more than a MINI Convertible, and you can find some fabulous examples without spending a fortune. For beautiful sleek looks and a little more space, perhaps turn to an Audi A3, or opt for a serious injection of pace with the BMW Z4 and its 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds.
Getting down and dirty
Although the vast majority of the UK's festivals are held during the summer months, banking on wall-to-wall sunshine is probably not the way to go. Glastonbury for example, held at the end of June, is more likely to be associated with wellies and ponchos rather than sunhats and ice cream. "Surprise Appearance Confirmed For Glastonbury: Sunshine", was just one of the headlines published ahead of this year's event. As a result, being behind the wheel of a used car that can hold its own in muddy conditions isn't a bad idea.
The Land Rover Freelander is a great choice when you're looking for a surefooted machine that is able to tackle a wide variety of terrain, has plenty of interior space to play with and an impressive level of refinement. Another option if you're after a machine with rugged looks and impressive off-road capabilities is the Nissan X-Trail crossover. This model offers a flexible cabin and plenty of loadspace. In a similar vein is the Nissan Qashqai, a great family crossover that's available with a host of extras ranging from Bluetooth connectivity and a glass panoramic roof to cruise control and parking cameras.
Renowned for its good handling and impressive use of space, the Ford Kuga is available with a powerful range of diesel engines that should make short work of muddy fields. Of course, you could decide to go all out and slide behind the wheel of a Land Rover Discovery ahead of this year's festival season. Just be warned, if you turn up in a Disco and the heavens open, everyone else is going to want to make use of your awesome pulling power in order to escape the car park!