Budget Chevrolet Tacuma takes you into space

Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer, says a used Chevrolet Tacuma offers good space and practicality for not a lot of money.

Engines – The Chevrolet Tacuma is petrol only, which means it's not going to be the ideal choice for racking up the miles. That said, in 1.6 and 2.0-litre guise, these cars will be quiet and refined for urban motoring duties, although fuel consumption won't be outstanding.

Exterior – Styled like a conventional car with its regular opening doors, the Tacuma offers a gentle introduction to multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) motoring. Its footprint is no bigger than a good-size family hatchback, either. The car's streamlined profile also helps to disguise its height.

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Interior – When new the Tacuma was positioned at the budget end of the MPV scale and the car's interior reflects this. More durable and serviceable than luxurious, the upside is that it will easily take the knocks of busy family life. It's reasonably spacious, too.

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Driving – An easy car to drive, the Tacuma offers a raised driving position and good all-round visibility. The petrol engines aren't particularly powerful, but they are quiet unless pushed hard. As you'd expect, ease of use has been made a priority here.

Ownership – A simple and straight-forward car to own and drive, the Tacuma boasts a spacious and practical cabin and a good-sized boot. Running costs are unlikely to break the bank, although the lack of a diesel engine will mean you'll spend more on fuel if you routinely travel long distances.

What to look for – Being a family-focused vehicle, it will be subjected to the usual knocks and scrapes. Only you'll know what's acceptable, but trim and upholstery damage can be expensive to put right. Parking dents and kerbed wheels are another concern and could hide more serious neglect, which makes it important not to skip the test-drive or ignore gaps in the car's service history.

Model history – 2005, Tacuma launched offering good space and practicality for its low-cost asking price. Modest levels of standard kit available. petrol only range – 1.6 and 2.0-litre motors available plus an auto gearbox option for the latter.

Reasons to buy – Low cost, practical, easy to drive.

Reasons to beware – Dated cabin design, be aware of signs of abuse and neglect, petrol engine thirst.

Pick of the range – Tacuma 1.6 SX.

What to pay – 2005 05 �2,045; 2005 55 �2,350; 2006 06 �2,675; 2006 56 �2,665; 2007 07 �3,000; 2008 08 �3,600. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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