Let's imagine this: your home's up an unmade track and every year during the colder months, your little family hatchback struggles up it. Sometimes though, it doesn't and you have to abandon the thing at the bottom and walk. With the kids. And the shopping. The obvious answer is to get one of those small SUVs with four-wheel drive, but you haven't done that because you've found that one of those will be very expensive, both to buy and to run. Clunky to drive too - and rather over-the-top for what you actually need. Perhaps what you actually need is something like this - a Subaru Impreza 1.6i RC - a car sold between 2014 and 2018.
As you can see from the picture, this isn't an SUV. It's not even one of those trendy Crossover models you see so often these days, cars that seem to promise 4WD capability but usually don't deliver it. No, for someone in the situation we've just described, this is instead a means of affordable family transport that delivers everything you need - and nothing you don't. It's the only sensibly-priced C-segment model that delivers its power to all four wheels yet, on paper at least, there seem to be few compromises to make for that kind of all-weather capability.
It's not overly expensive, it's tough and durable and, provided you're happy with a five-door hatchback bodystyle, it's just as practical as that comparably-sized ordinary 2WD Focus, Astra or Golf you might have been thinking about. True, there's no diesel engine option and the single 1.6-litre petrol unit you do get doesn't trouble the class front runners in terms of fuel consumption or cleanliness. Still, the running costs are affordable and you get a lot of extra standard features that you'd have to pay more money for if you went for the kind of cars we just mentioned. So, does it all add up as a used buy? That's what we're here to find out.