If you’re after all of the flash but are not prepared to splash all of the cash, we might have the answer. Armed with a virtual wad of 1500 notes, we went shopping on Auto Trader to assemble a list of luxury motors you can buy for less than a deposit on a new supermini. At this end of the market, you can’t expect perfection, and a petrol engine is probably safer than diesel, but you might be surprised to discover what’s available. Read on as we guide you through 25 luxobarges you can buy today.
- Best used cars for less than £1,000
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- More car advice on Motoring Research
Audi A8: £1,445
In more ways than one, the Audi A8 was a ground-breaking car. Following a decade of development, the innovative Audi Space Frame aluminium construction finally made its debut, while this was the car that propelled Audi into the premium big league. Launched in 1994, this was by far Audi’s most luxurious model to date.
We’d prefer the 4.2-litre V8 to the 3.7-litre V8 offered here, but at this budget beggars can’t be choosers. At some point it looks like it might have been treated to an LPG conversion, but there’s no mention of this in the ad. The MOT history makes for good reading, although some money was spent on the suspension in August.
Volvo S80: £1,495
To borrow a phrase from a certain brand of chocolate, with this slice of Swedish luxobarge we’re really spoiling you. It’s a 2000 Volvo S80 with the more powerful 170hp 2.4-litre engine with an amazing 55,000 miles on the clock. We checked the MOT history, which appears to back this up.
Be quick: two even more delightful S80s sold in the time it took us to prepare this feature. Because everybody loves a bargain barge, right?
BMW 7 Series: £1,395
There’s a whiff of James Bond about the E38 BMW 7 Series, as a 750iL made a memorable appearance in Tomorrow Never Dies. We can’t promise a 7 Series will never die, but there’s something rather appealing about this 728i.
We’re attracted by the fact that it has had just one previous owner and the full service history, not to mention a list of gadgets that would shame Q. You’ll adore the ride quality and the way it handles, but do your homework before parting with the best part of £1,400.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class: £1,295
The best car in the world for less than £1,300 – where do we sign? OK, so a 15-year-old S-Class might be showing its age, but at the turn of the millennium this represented the height of luxury and sophistication. Like the 7 Series, the W220 S-Class isn’t without its problems, so you should buy with your eyes open.
A 5.0-litre V8 S500 won’t be cheap to run, but we like the fact that the current owner has owned the car since 2009 and there’s a mere 111,000 miles on the clock. Judging by the photos, this may have been used for wedding duties.
Alfa Romeo 166: £995
Do you feel lucky? Well, do you? We’re not going to pretend that buying an Alfa Romeo 166 won’t be without risks, but it’s blessed with one of the best interiors of all-time. Besides, at £995, what could possibly go wrong? Actually, don’t answer that.
With a 2.0-litre engine, you’ll have to forgo the brilliance of a V6 engine, but at least it should be cheaper to run. We’re not fans of the black alloys, but the one-former-keeper factor certainly appeals. They don’t make ’em like they used to, etc, etc.
Chrysler Grand Voyager: £1,495
If you have some brave pills left over from the Alfa Romeo 166, you might be tempted by this all-American people carrier. While many MPVs of this vintage will be showing their age, the Chrysler Grand Voyager manages to retain some class and sophistication.
The ad claims this 2004 car has had one former keeper and has covered 134,000 miles. The MOT history suggests any earlier niggles might have been sorted, although you might want to check what it has been towing. A caravan, perhaps?
Cadillac BLS: £1,500
The BLS was Cadillac’s entry-level luxobarge for Europe and was based on the Saab 9-3, which itself was based on the Vauxhall Vectra. But wait, before you skip to the next slide, hear us out.
While the 2.8-litre V6 engine would be more appealing, the 1.9-litre turbodiesel could deliver upwards of 45mpg. Meanwhile, the interior is classic American: with a supersize cupholder, plenty of toys and a sea of scratchy plastics. Note the Cadillac analogue clock. Kitsch-tastic.
Lexus RX300: £1,695
We’ve pushed our self-imposed £1,500 limit a little to bring you this Lexus RX300. At its launch in 2001, the RX300 was ahead of the curve, offering five-seat SUV practicality with little off-road ability. A lifestyle urban cruiser, if you like.
Extend your budget to £2,500 and there’s a surprising number of RX300s available, many of which will have enjoyed a pampered existence. The specification will appeal, but the 16.0mpg urban fuel economy might not.
Volvo 960: £1,500
According to Volvo, the 960 Estate “was the natural choice for discerning customers who wanted a car offering a unique combination of comfort, safety, ergonomics, space and versatility, a combination much appreciated by drivers and passengers interested in activities like golf, sailing or hunting.” Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
As a 1995 car, this 960 3.0-litre SE was built during the vehicle’s twilight years and with 206,000 miles on the clock it has certainly seen some life. But the interior is in good shape and the list of toys is impressive. Winter is coming – here are your winter wheels.
Rover 75: £1,495
Production of the Rover 75 ceased in 2005, making this 2004 model one of the last off the line. It’s also a facelift model, complete with the more ‘European’ face, rather the ‘classic’ original.
The 2.5-litre V6 Connoisseur spec is desirable, while the gold paintwork just seems to suit the styling of the Rover 75. “It is not faultless, but represents, I believe a better than average appearance.” Not our words, Lynn, the words of the dealer selling this Rover.
Hyundai XG30: £995
If you’re looking to stand out in the bowling green car park, look no further than the Hyundai XG30. This car is budget luxury, Korean style. You even get a pair of yellow fog lights.
The MOT history doesn’t make for enjoyable reading – unless you like tales of woe – but at least the most recent ticket is free of blemishes. Not convinced – the 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine might tip the balance. The potential to waft is high with this one.
Volvo XC70: £1,395
Jacked-up premium off-road estate cars are the preserve of the well-to-do and country types who are able to resist the lure of a jellymould crossover or SUV. Or, in the case of this Volvo XC70, the police force.
There are a few battle scars, as you might expect, while the lack of leather seats might put some people off. On the plus side, the seats are electric and heated. Another Volvo ready for winter 2016/17.
Lexus LS400: £1,000
If you’re going to buy a cheap luxobarge, do it right by opting for the classic Lexus LS400. Here is a car with a brilliant 4.0-litre V8 engine and a reputation for excellence that not even the German brands can rival. Sure, it won’t be cheap to run, but then you’re only paying £1,000 for the privilege of owning this slice of Japanese engineering.
It’s an honest description of the car, while the MOT history makes for encouraging reading. Take it for a test drive before we do.
Honda Legend: £550
Sticking with a Japanese theme, how about this 2001 Honda Legend? Think of this as a Lexus LS400 on a budget. Alternatively, think of it as a plush Accord. Either way, you could strike it lucky with this motor.
With 185,643 miles on the clock and a less than polished MOT history, you shouldn’t approach this Legend with high expectations, but the seller has been honest in the description. The MOT at the end of November might hurt the wallet.
Toyota Camry: £800
Back in 1997, the Camry was Toyota’s flagship model, but it never sold in huge numbers in the UK. All of which means it’s a rare find on the used car market. These cars are well-equipped, smooth and surprisingly luxurious.
The Sport badge is a bit of a red herring, as these cars were designed for cruising the long straight roads of Australia and the US, but don’t let that put you off. This could be a good way to spend £800 on a cheap luxobarge.
Saab 9-5: £1,500
Further proof that bargain barges are in big demand: a delightful Saab 9-5 we had lined up was sold before we could finish this feature. Be quick if you fancy a luxobarge for silly money.
Speaking of quick: this Saab 9-5 HOT Aero ought to do the trick. It looks in remarkably good condition, and with just 96,500 miles on the clock the engine has barely broken sweat. Brilliant cupholders and Saab’s ‘Night Panel’ simply add to the appeal.
Ford Scorpio: £1,500
It has a face only a mother could love, but we have a huge amount of respect for the Ford Scorpio. It stems from a period in time when Ford could deliver luxury cars without the need for a fancy trim level and a concierge service.
This particular car looks to be in good shape, is loaded with some nice toys, and has a mere 54,000 miles on the clock. That said, it might be worth checking the MOT history, as it appeared to have 58,826 miles on clock in April 2015. A typo, perhaps?
Skoda Superb: £1,495
The Skoda Superb was essentially a stretched Volkswagen Passat and was the choice of taxi operators up and down the land. They are capable of achieving mega-miles, as demonstrated by this 2006 model with 164,000 miles on the clock.
It’s powered by the later 2.0-litre TDI engine and is blessed with the comfort and joy of the full-fat Elegance trim. Is a diesel engine too much of a risk at 164,000 miles? Approach with care.
Nissan Maxima: £850
What, no leather interior or creamy 3.0-litre V6 engine? Hey, what do you expect for £850? Besides, the National Trust sticker on the windscreen is a sure sign that the current owner is a trustworthy person. Probably.
The advert includes a detailed description of the service history and the MOT history certainly stacks up. Squint hard and it could pass as a Lexus LS400. Squint harder. Harder still…
Saab 9000 CD: £350
We’ve long said that the Saab 9000 is one of the best used luxobarges you can buy. Saab took a no-expense-spared approach to its development, which is why they’re capable of covering mega-miles. Just £350 for all this class – amazing.
“This car is due to appear on an ITV car programme in October hosted by Paddy McGuinness,” claims the seller. That’ll be Drive of my Life, then…
Jaguar S-Type: £1,495
There’s something Inspector Morse-like about this Jaguar S-Type, probably thanks to the burgundy (Carnival Red) paint. Before you head off for a swift pint with Lewis, hear us out, because this could be a peach of a car.
For a start it comes with the desirable 3.0-litre V6 engine which has covered a mere 60,000 miles. The S-Type is based on a Ford platform shared with Lincoln LS and Ford Thunderbird, and while it’s not the last word in reliability and quality, its styling is ageing rather nicely. Like a nice bottle of red wine, Lewis.
Range Rover P38A: £1,200
Buying a Range Rover at this end of the market is fraught with danger, and you’ll be limited to the P38A – arguably the least desirable of this thoroughly British luxury SUV. This particular example is a Japanese import, so you’ll want to explore its history.
The seller points to a problem with the transfer box, which might be a reason to walk away. Alternatively, as the ad states, this could be a good winter project for somebody handy with spanners.
Daimler 4.0: £1,495
Release your inner Arthur Daley with this 1990 Daimler 4.0, which is essentially an even plusher version of the Jaguar XJ.
The seller claims it drives like new and has no known faults. Is it class or crass? You decide…
Jaguar XJ: £1,495
For the same price you can get this later Jaguar XJ 4.0 Sovereign. Amazingly, the seller claims this 1995 car has had just own owner from new, while covering a mere 100,000 miles.
There appears to be a few battle scars on the exterior and it looks like the offside front wing and driver’s door might have seen some new paint, but we’re totally won over by the interior.
Peugeot 607: £499
We conclude with a curveball. A very French curveball. Sure, the Peugeot 607 doesn’t have the best reputation, but who can argue with a 62,000-mile luxobarge with lots of toys for under £500?
Better still, the MOT history is almost completely free of advisories, which could point to a careful previous owner. Just make sure everything works.