Some info I was given by a garage man who was taking away my old car...buy Japanese! They just don't go wrong very often. He said he was rarely called out to Japanese cars and apparently Honda and Toyota are best.They also hold their value unlike a lot of other cars. We have a Honda Civic and its lovely - its a newish one but its great and the design is fab - extra space in an already big boot and very clever fold up back seats. We have only 1 child but have a big dog and its perfect! plus it looks good!! Drove a vauxhall meriva as a courtesy car and thought it was horrible - really thin and plasticky ie didn't feel protected in it at all. Test drive everything!!