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I am an 80-year-old widow whose car is a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria with 77,000 km. It is the third Crown Vic I have driven over the past 30 years. Now it seems to be bigger than I need, since I mainly drive in the city and occasionally 50-80 km out of town. I have lost touch with developments in small cars – last one was a VW Beetle in the 1960s. Have you any suggestions re. some cars I should check out?Gay, London, Ont.

Gentile: Wow – an 11-year-old Crown Vic with only 77,000 kms on it. Amazing! Clearly, Gay likes her Crown Vics. But there are a lot of other good options, especially when it comes to small sedans.

Richardson: Yes, she certainly doesn’t need another full-sized sedan, and today’s smaller vehicles are far more spacious inside than they used to be.

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Gentile: That’s so true. Smaller cars like the Honda Civic have grown in size over the years – they’re more like Accords now. Even the trunk space has grown significantly. Gay doesn’t need too much space. She’s not shuttling around kids or cargo, so a small car would do the trick.

The 2018 Honda Accord Touring.

Courtesy of manufacturer

Richardson: I wouldn’t recommend too small for her, just for her piece of mind. She probably doesn’t need anything bigger than a Smart car, but if she’s used to the size of a Crown Vic, she’ll probably appreciate the space of a compact sedan, not a sub-compact.

Gentile: I agree. I’m thinking something reliable, not too radical, and affordable. Perhaps domestic. No point in considering Ford – with the exception of the Mustang, they’re getting out of the car business, so to speak, and focusing on SUVs. But a Chevrolet Malibu is definitely worth a look. Wouldn’t you agree?

Richardson: Actually, the Malibu is the only vehicle I’d recommend for Gay from the Detroit Three, though it’s a bit old now. Ford is all SUVs and CUVs, and Chrysler – sorry, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – is all performance and SUVs. The Chrysler 300 is the only sedan from FCA, and it’s far too large.

Gentile: Don’t discount the Chrysler 300 just yet. Gay is used to driving big vehicles. She might actually like its size and all the space inside.

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu.

Courtesy of manufacturer

Richardson: Well, you can mention it to her, but I can’t recommend it. It’s an old design and really has no redeeming features for me, aside from being built in Ontario and having a very good, optional all-wheel-drive system. But it’s expensive at $35,000 to start, and it’s still too big for her. I’d much rather suggest that she consider a sensible, comfortable, reliable mid-sized car like the $30,000 Honda Accord or the $28,000 Toyota Camry. Actually, the Malibu’s the best deal, at around $27,000 plus taxes.

Gentile: You did mention the 300’s best selling points: built in Brampton and AWD. And you usually can get great discounts on it, too. I hate to agree with you, but I also prefer the Accord or Camry over the 300. Both have excellent track records for reliability and dependability.

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Richardson: To be realistic, this may be Gay’s last new car, since she seems to hang on to her cars for a while. I think she’ll want a mid-sized sedan she can trust that is comfortable and doesn’t overwhelm her with gadgetry. So she should play it safe and consider a basic Honda Accord. If she was my mom, I’d probably try to sell her on a basic Civic instead; it’s a bit smaller and less equipped, but starts at around $20,000 plus taxes.

The 2018 Chrysler 300.

FCA US LLC/The Associated Press

Gentile: Honestly, all she really needs is a Honda Civic. Full disclosure: I just bought a Civic sedan to replace my nearly 20-year-old Accord. And it’s not short on space. My Accord is slightly longer and wider, but not by much. I’m single and I don’t have kids, and it’s the ideal size for one person. And it’s also made in Canada! There’s a reason why it is Canada’s best-selling passenger car for 22 years straight.

Richardson: More full disclosure: I just inherited my mother-in-law’s 15-year-old Civic sedan. She no longer drives, so it’s our second family car. In 100,000 km, nothing’s gone wrong. I think Gay might like the extra space of the Accord, but she should try out both while she’s at the dealership.

Gentile: I think Gay will be more than happy with a good ol’ reliable Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, for that matter. But if she wants that extra space, it’s definitely worth taking a test spin in an Accord or Camry.

Richardson: And if she wants domestic, take the Chevy Malibu and maybe the Chrysler 300 for a test drive, too.

What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

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