All the flash for not much cash: 25 luxury cars you can buy for just £5,000, including a Rolls-Royce
Why buy a new car when £5,000 will bag you a used car bargain? Using Auto Trader, our brief was to find two cars per category, ranging from humble superminis to luxury saloons. We’ve only been window shopping, so inclusion does not represent an endorsement.
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Small car: Skoda Citigo (£5,000)
Right now, the Volkswagen Up and the two cars based on it are probably the best small cars on the planet. But don’t worry if you can’t stretch to a new one, because they’re also brilliant secondhand buys. This one-owner Citigo looks terrific in Sport trim and has covered a mere 26,609 miles.
Family hatchback: Kia Cee’d (£5,000)
Go easy on the right pedal and you might see economy figures in the low 70s in this 2012 Kia Cee’d EcoDynamics. It’s hardly the last word in excitement, but air conditioning, a six-speed gearbox, cruise control and steering wheel controls should make this an excellent commuter vehicle. Just check the rear tyres, because the last MOT listed them as an advisory.
Crossover: Nissan Qashqai (£4,995)
The Nissan Qashqai is Britain’s most popular crossover, which means there are hundreds to choose from on the used car market. This 2008 example appeals because it’s a one-owner car with 47,876 miles on the clock and not a single MOT advisory to its name. The Visia trim is a bit spartan, but if practicality is your thing, it’s hard to ignore this one.
Estate car: Dacia Logan MCV (£4,895)
The Dacia Logan MCV is Britain’s cheapest new estate car and offers a massive 573 litres of boot space with the rear seats folded up. New, you’ll pay £7,295 for the entry-level version, but why buy new when this ‘plush’ Logan MCV Laureate is available for £4,895? Just one owner and 42,000 miles on the clock.
Coupe: Audi TT (£5,000)
It’s possible to spend much less on a first generation Audi TT, but we believe it’s worth spending a little extra to secure a good example of what is a guaranteed future classic. This 2004 example is powered by the 3.2-litre V6 engine and is being sold by somebody who has clearly looked after it.
Sports car: Fiat Barchetta (£4,950)
It’s hard to look beyond the Mazda MX-5 in the affordable junior roadster segment, but the Fiat Barchetta remains a hidden gem. It might be front-wheel drive – it’s based on the Punto – but the Barchetta is terrific fun to drive. All cars were left-hookers.
Premium car: Volvo S80 (£4,995)
It’s all too easy to opt for something German in the premium car segment and Auto Trader is littered with £5,000 examples of varying degrees of quality. But we’re turned on by this low mileage Volvo S80, not least because it’s powered by the sublime 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine. In the real world it will feel almost as quick as the heavier V8 version, while the high level of standard spec will help to while away the hours on a long motorway drive.
Luxury car: Audi A8 (£5,000)
The DVLA lists this 2005 Audi A8 as ‘beige’, but we suspect the new owner might prefer it to be classed as ‘gold’. Whatever, £5,000 seems a stupidly low price for this huge chunk of Ingolstadt, which is barely run-in at 59,000 miles. Probably a good idea to avoid looking at the fuel economy figures…
MPV: SsangYong Rodius (£4,991)
Look, stop smirking at the back. We accept that the SsangYong Rodius isn’t going to win any awards for its beauty, but it’s hard to find a more practical and spacious seven-seater at this price. Besides, as Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid demonstrated on Top Gear, the Rodius does a passable impression of a boat. SsangYacht, anyone?
SUV: Suzuki Jimny (£4,995)
The Suzuki Jimny continues to fly the flag for the old-school SUV and is available to buy new from £12,999. They tend to be owned by loyal and enthusiastic people, as appears to be the case with this 2006 example. The condition and mileage suggest that it hasn’t seen much in the way of off-road action.
Convertible: Renault Wind (£4,995)
If you want to stand out from the crowd you could do a lot worse than breaking out the Renault Wind. It’s based on the Renault Twingo and features a solid roof that folds away in just 12 seconds. Sadly, it was a slow-seller and was quickly pulled from sale. You could say that it was gone with the Wind…
Saloon: Mazda6 MPS (£5,000)
It might not look it, but the Mazda6 MPS is one of the greatest sleepers of the past decade. Beneath that unassuming body lies the beating heart of a 2.3-litre turbocharged engine producing 260hp, enough to propel this four-wheel drive saloon to 150mph. Nobody will ever know, until the point at which you zoom-zoom past a sports car in a blaze of anonymity.
Classic: Mercedes-Benz 500 SE (£4,900)
A 30-year-old Mercedes-Benz for £4,900 might not seem like excellent value for money in light of some of the aforementioned examples, but this 500 SE oozes presence and charisma. The seller claims it has full service history, which should confirm the relatively low mileage.
Hot hatch: Suzuki Swift Sport (£4,989)
The Suzuki Swift Sport remains our favourite junior hot hatch of recent years and we especially like the first generation model. The current (and outgoing) version might be the better all-rounder, but the original feels more old-school and is all the better for it. This 2011 car has covered just 37,000 miles.
From a slice of retro Japanese heaven for £500 to an Aston Martin for £1.25m, we’ve got a classic car to suit every pocket. Having scoured the online pages of Auto Trader, we’ve selected two cars per price bracket, providing an overview of what’s available to buy right now.
As usual, inclusion doesn’t represent an endorsement and cars are available at the time of writing.
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Under £500: Mazda 323F – £499
While we accept that a 1989 Mazda 323F won’t be many people’s idea of a ‘dream car’, at this end of the market beggars can’t be choosers. Besides, it has pop-up headlights, which, being a Mazda, probably work.
The car has covered a mere 31,000 miles and, as the seller points out, there’s very little to go wrong. Stop dreaming, start driving.
£500 – £1,000: Toyota Celica – £999
Ah, this is more like it. The sixth generation Toyota Celica (ST200) was introduced in 1993 and is likely to be one of the most reliable coupes you can buy for £1,000. It might have been front-wheel drive, but in 2.0 GT guise it remains a thoroughly decent driver’s car.
This one has covered 169,000 miles, but the previous owner bought it brand new from Toyota.
£1,000 – £2,500: Audi Cabriolet – £1,695
If it’s good enough for Princess Diana…
In truth, this 1995 Audi Cabriolet doesn’t look as polished as Lady Di’s 2.3E, but then it’s not being offered with a royal price tag. In fact, about a grand and a half should secure this timeless – and classless – classic.
£2,500 – £5,000: Renault 4 – £3,250
Renault’s answer to the 2CV was actually more successful than the Citroen, thanks mainly to its practicality and huge opening tailgate. More than eight million Renault 4s were built before production ceased in 1992.
The fact that this 1984 example is accompanied by almost every invoice from new makes it rather appealing, as is the fact that it’s not immaculate. This means you can use it every day, safe in the knowledge that you’re simply adding to its patina.
£5,000 – £10,000: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III – £7,995
In 1995, Mitsubishi introduced the Lancer Evolution III, complete with a new 16G turbocharger. This meant the Evo III could call upon 270hp and 228lb ft of torque.
This GSR looks in great shape, although the MOT history suggests that it was off the road from 2011 until 2016. That would be worth investigating.
£10,000 – £15,000: Mercedes-Benz 350 SL – £14,990
R107 SL prices are only going one way, so now is the time to buy. Introduced in 1971, the R107 lived on until 1989, making it the second longest single series Mercedes-Benz ever built.
The yellow paint and brown interior is a classic 1970s combination, while the 3.5-litre V8 engine will provide effortless cruising potential.
£15,000 – £20,000: Bentley Turbo R – £14,950
The Turbo R was introduced in 1985, with a new Bosch fuel injection system helping to deliver more power than the outgoing Mulsanne Turbo. The Turbo R was also more of a driver’s car, encouraging owners to sit in the front, rather than relaxing in the back.
As a 1995 car, this Turbo R is one of the last off the line and benefits from the facelift of 1992. The 6.8-litre long-wheelbase Bentley is yours for little more than the price of an entry-level Kia Cee’d.
£20,000 – £25,000: Aston Martin DB7 – £24,995
If you’re looking to spend £25,000 on a good, useable Aston Martin you have two choices. Either buy a Cygnet or invest in a DB7. We know which option we’d take.
This 1995 DB7 benefits from a full Aston Martin service history and a manual gearbox.
£25,000 – £50,000: Ferrari Mondial 8 – £34,995
From a £25k Aston Martin to a £35k Ferrari. OK, so the Mondial 8 won’t top the shopping lists of many lottery winners, but it represents an affordable point of entry to the world of Ferrari.
We think that time has been kind to the much-maligned Mondial 8, not least because the Pininfarina styling is so of its day. This 1982 example comes complete with receipts totalling £30,000, which may or may not be a good thing.
£50,000 – £100,000: BMW 3.0 CSi – £59,995
The first of the BMW E9 coupes was the 2800 CS, but the model came of age in 1971 with the arrival of the fuel-injected 3.0 CSi. With 200hp on tap, the CSi could boast a top speed of 135mph and a 0-60mph time of sub eight seconds.
This looks like a fresh import, with the number plate surround suggesting that it has arrived from its native Germany. We’ll readily admit that we’re a little in love.
£100,000 – £250,000: Porsche 993 Turbo – £179,950
The Porsche 993 Turbo was a line in the sand moment for the 911, being the first of its kind to use twin-turbochargers and the first Turbo model to feature all-wheel drive. At launch, the 3.6-litre twin-turbo engine developed 408hp, although this was increased to 430hp in 1995 and 450hp in 1998.
This 1995 example has just 27,700 miles on the clock and has been owned by the same person since it was delivered new via Road Range in Liverpool. This is probably one of the most sought-after cars for sale on Auto Trader.
£250,000 – £500,000: Ferrari 512 BB – £349,950
The Ferrari 512 BB of 1976 was an evolution of the 365 GT4 BB, with a number of small details marking it out from its predecessor. There was also the small matter of a 4.9-litre 12-cylinder boxer engine developing 360hp.
The 1981 example for sale here is one of the last 512 BB models built before it made way for the less powerful 512 BBi. It has covered 21,000 miles and is available for just shy of £350,000.
£500,000 – £1,000,000: Ferrari F40 – £925,000
It needs no introduction, does it? This Ferrari F40 was the pin-up for a generation and remains one of the most important supercars of the 20th century.
None other than Eric Clapton owned this 1991 example, which has covered the equivalent of 6,750 miles.
£1,000,000+: Aston Martin DB4 – £1,250,000
In this age of super-expensive cars, we’re a little surprised to find just one £1 million car on Auto Trader. And it’s this: a 1963 Aston Martin DB4.
The DB4 convertible was unveiled at the 1961 London Motor Show and only 70 were ever built.
If you’ve got £10,000 to spend on a used car, what are your options? Much will depend on what you’re looking for, but we’ve selected 20 cars for sale on Auto Trader to provide some inspiration. To be selected, a car must be no more than three-years-old and with a sensible amount of miles on the clock. As always, inclusion doesn’t represent an endorsement.
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Honda Civic: £10,000
We kick things off with the current Honda Civic, which majors on practicality and comfort. That it’s not the drivers’ car it once was won’t matter to the majority of owners, but the poor rearward visibility is hard to ignore. A new Civic is on the way, so you might find your budget goes further when buying a used example.
This 2014 car is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine and comes with a host of desirable options, including Bluetooth, cruise control, parking sensors and automatic wipers. As a bonus, the next two services are included within the price.
Skoda Octavia: £9,667
Why buy a Volkswagen Golf when you can buy a car that offers more space and better value for money? The Skoda Octavia is an evergreen member of our used car galleries, and for good reason. They might not be the most exciting cars on the planet – vRS models aside – but they’re practical, solidly built and usually well equipped.
This 2014 example offers exceptional value money with just 6,077 miles on the clock. The SE trim offers a good level of specification, while the 1.2-litre petrol is surprisingly adept at hauling this hatchback along. The DSG transmission wouldn’t be our first choice, but that’s our only complaint with this one.
Ford Fiesta: £8,499
You know those monthly ‘sales’ figures that seem to show just how well the new car industry is doing? The knock-on effect of these new car registrations is a surplus of nearly-new used car stock. The Ford Fiesta is a good case in point.
This pre-registered Fiesta has ‘travelled’ a mere seven miles and is offered with a £1,896 saving off the new price. It’s one of a huge number of similarly priced Fiestas, meaning you can pick and choose your engine and trim.
Volkswagen Up: £9,950
Look, it’s another pre-registered bargain. Seriously, armed with a £10,000 budget, you can select from a wide range of superminis and city cars. The Volkswagen Up is arguably the perfect city car, even if we’d choose the Skoda Citigo when buying new.
It’s hard to ignore this Volkswagen Up in ‘High Up’ spec, and not just because it’s finished in Honey Yellow Metallic. It offers a big car specification for a small car price.
Mazda 3: £9,982
Thanks to the dominance of the Golf, Focus and Astra, cars like the Mazda 3 tend to get overlooked. Which is a shame, as the 3 is one of the best looking cars in the segment, not to mention one of the sharpest to drive.
This 2015 car has covered 39,000 miles and has a full service history. Check out the cabin which, again, is one of the nicest in the family hatchback segment.
Kia Cee’d: £10,000
Buying a Kia Cee’d makes a great deal of sense, not least because a two-year-old example will have the remainder of Kia’s seven-year warranty. It also helps that the Cee’d is well-equipped and fuel efficient.
The 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine in this 2015 example could return around 51.4mpg and has covered just 9,401 miles.
Suzuki Swift: £10,000
A new Suzuki Swift will be launched this year, but it’ll have to be pretty special to improve on the outgoing model. It looks great, is good to drive and offers a generous level of standard spec.
The SZ-L is a desirable special edition, offering black 16-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, DAB digital radio, LED daytime running lights and a cheeky rear spoiler. New, you’d pay from £11,649, but this 2016 example is on sale for £10,000. Buy it, because the world needs more Horizon Orange cars on the road.
Abarth 500: £9,995
The Abarth 500 is the closest you’ll get to a sports car in a supermini body, with ‘go-kart’ like handling and terrific steering feel. Some won’t like the firm ride, but that’s a small price to pay for a pint-sized performance hero.
This 2015 car looks the business and has covered a mere 6,822 miles. We love the chequered-red roof and 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels.
BMW 1 Series: £10,000
The rear-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series is the sharpest handling member of the family hatchback segment and is blessed with an efficient range of diesel engines. Its biggest drawback: space for rear seat passengers.
If you don’t care about your passengers, this 2014 car will be hard to ignore. The specification is generous, while the 59,598 miles on the clock suggests a stress-free life on the motorway.
Audi A1: £10,000
Other superminis might offer better value for money, but few can offer a feel good factor quite like the Audi A1. The cabin might be a little sombre, but the quality is what you’d expect from an Audi.
Predictably, this 2014 car passed a recent MOT with flying colours and no advisories. What’s more, 23,680 miles is sensible for a three-year-old supermini.
Dacia Duster: £8,296
Buy a new Dacia Duster in Laureate trim today and you’ll spend upwards of £13,995. Great value, but why would you when this 2015 example is on sale for just £8,995?
The 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine is tried and tested, while the Woodland Brown metallic paint gives the Duster an upmarket feel. One-owner from new and 22,938 miles complete the deal.
SEAT Leon: £9,295
Another Volkswagen Golf by another name, the SEAT Leon offers great value for money when new, and even better value for money on the used car network. It’s a good seller, so there’s plenty of choice.
Take this 2015 Leon 1.6-litre TDi in SE spec. Just one-owner from new, 35,139 miles on the clock and a DSG transmission. All this for £9,295.
Toyota Aygo: £7,994
There are hundreds of Toyota Aygos available for £10,000, but we’ve avoided the rather spartan X-Play models.
Instead, how about this X-Clusiv model, which offers 15-inch alloy wheels, a touchscreen entertainment system and reversing camera. A £7,994 price tag is quite a saving on the £13,035 on the list price when new.
SsangYong Tivoli: £9,995
One day, we might look back on the Tivoli as the car that transformed the fortunes of SsangYong in the UK. It’s the Korean firm’s most credible car to date, offering exceptional value for money across the range.
It hasn’t been on sale long, but used examples are creeping beneath the £10,000 mark. This 2015 example has covered 8,027 miles and comes in mid-spec EX trim level.
Nissan Pulsar: £9,000
OK, so the Nissan Pulsar isn’t the most exciting car in the family hatchback segment, but it does offer a jaw-dropping amount of rear legroom. A curious USP, granted, but it’s like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the back of a Pulsar. Of sorts.
In fairness, there’s more to the Pulsar than a huge amount of rear legroom, it’s just that the car doesn’t sparkle. This 2015 example is good value at £9,000.
Citroen DS3: £10,000
This could be our favourite car in this £10,000 gallery. The Citroen DS3 is at its best when powered by the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, making this 2014 DSport a potential peach.
Highlights include a full leather interior, climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear park-assist and just one owner from new. Where do we sign?
MINI Hatchback: £7,995
The MINI One D is a hidden gem of the current MINI range. The One might be the entry-level model, but the 1.5-litre diesel engine is the same unit you’ll find in the more costly Cooper D. And it’s a cracking engine, too.
This 2015 car should offer the same feel good factor as more expensive MINIs, thanks in part to the orange paintwork. The claimed 83.1mpg is an added bonus.
Renault Twingo: £9,499
We happen to think that the Renault Twingo is most desirable when powered by the non-turbocharged SCe 70 model, despite giving up 20hp to the 90hp TCe model. It helps that the power peaks at 6,000rpm, encouraging you to explore the upper reaches of the rev counter in the name of good fun.
This 2017 Twingo is a pre-registered car with just five miles on the clock and loaded with the toys associated with the Dynamique trim level.
Honda Jazz: £7,995
Face it, you knew we’d be recommending a Honda Jazz. The fact remains: the Jazz is one of the best used cars you can buy. It offers more space than a standard supermini, has an excellent track record for reliability, and cars tend to be driven by careful and considerate owners.
The Si trim is the ‘sporty’ member of the range and this Milano Red example has covered a mere 17,137 from new. Yours for less than £8,000.
Hyundai Veloster: £10,000
We finish with a curveball: the Hyundai Veloster. The quirky-looking coupe is a rare sight on UK roads as it never sold in huge numbers. It’s not the sharpest car to drive, but the extra side door makes it interesting/strange/weird (delete as applicable).
This 2015 car is being sold through a Hyundai main dealer and will be covered by the manufacturer warranty until 2020. With 7,005 miles on the clock, we have to ask: what has it been doing for the past two years?
Britain’s used car market hit a record high in 2016, with 8.2 million cars sold – an increase of 7.3%. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show superminis are the best-selling type of used car, although the popularity of SUVs rose fastest. We’ll count down the top 10 most popular second-hand cars in the UK last year. Is yours among them?
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10. Peugeot 206
The 1998-2006 Peugeot 206 seems ancient now, but it’s still among the UK’s top used sellers. A total of 126,176 changed hands last year.
The 206 was available as a three- or five-door hatchback, SW estate or CC convertible – the latter with a folding hard-top roof.
BMW launched MINI as a standalone marque in 2001, and it has been an unqualified success. Brits bought 143,066 used MINIs in 2016.
As well as emulating the original Mini’s styling, BMW also resurrected the ‘Cooper’ name – first used on sporty Minis in 1961. Today, the John Cooper Works is the flagship MINI.
8. Volkswagen Polo
Volkswagen’s oh-so-sensible Polo is the UK’s eighth most popular used car. We bought 154,855 of them last year.
A new Polo will arrive at the end of 2017, just months after its arch-rival: the new Ford Fiesta. Volkswagen’s focus for the next-gen Polo is said to be improving quality and interior space.
7. Renault Clio
Trendy colours, touchscreen tech and affordable prices put the Renault Clio seventh in the used car chart. A total of 178,684 Brits bought one.
The Clio was first launched in 1990 and is now into its fourth generation. Memorable hot versions have included the Williams, 182 Trophy and mid-engined Clio V6.
6. BMW 3 Series
It’s an oft-quoted statistic that the 3 Series now outsells the Ford Mondeo. That’s also the case in the used market, with 211,656 examples of the BMW shifted in 2016.
One secret to the Three’s success is the sheer breadth of its range, from 330e plug-in hybrid to M3 super saloon. There really is a 3 Series to suit everyone.
5. Volkswagen Golf
‘If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen’ said the ads back in the 1980s. And car buyers clearly agree, with 262,623 used Golfs snapped up.
If you prefer to buy new, Volkswagen has just launched the facelifted Mk7.5 Golf – including an updated GTI. And that means some tempting deals on the outgoing car.
4. Vauxhall Astra
For the first time in recent memory, the Astra is a genuine rival for the Focus and Golf, with several five-star reviews to its name. Used Astras – including the GTC seen here – are very popular too: 298,540 were sold.
There are hundreds of second-hand Astras in the classifieds, so you can afford to be fussy. Consider the practical estate if you want a value-priced load lugger.
3. Vauxhall Corsa
The Corsa traditionally plays second-fiddle to the Ford Fiesta in the new car charts, and the same is true for buying used. It finishes third, with 352,899 sold.
We can’t get excited about the Corsa, but it’s cheap to buy and parts are plentiful. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol is our pick of the current engines.
2. Ford Focus
The Focus blew the ageing Escort out of the water when first launched in 1998, and was the UK’s best-selling car for the following decade. It remains the second most popular used car: 374,590 found new owners in 2016.
The Focus has always been enjoyable to drive, although it lacks the upmarket feel of the (admittedly costlier) VW Golf. A 1.0 Ecoboost petrol Zetec would be our choice.
1. Ford Fiesta
So, to the UK’s most popular used car – and it’s no surprise to discover the Ford Fiesta taking the top spot. This evergreen supermini was the choice of 381,519 buyers last year.
If the Focus is good to drive, the Fiesta is brilliant. And the ST hot hatch is simply sublime. Ford has set the bar high for the next Fiesta, which arrives this summer.
There are certain cast-iron truths of the used-car market. If a car looks too good to be true, it will probably bankrupt you. Every old banger becomes a classic if you wait long enough. And buying a convertible in the depths of winter is a great idea.
Convertibles are cheapest at this time of year, and there are some tempting bargains to be had. We’ve picked 20 of the best available on Auto Trader right now. But you’d better be quick…
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Mazda MX-5 (Mk2)
Where else to start but with the venerable MX-5? The world’s best-selling sports car is fun, plentiful and cheap to buy. Early Mk1 versions (1989-1997) are becoming scarce and the Mk3 (2005-2015) isn’t as enjoyable to drive, so we’ve opted for the Mk2 (1998-2005), otherwise known as the NB.
There are more than 1,200 MX-5s for sale on Auto Trader at the time of writing, so you can afford to be picky. While this 2004 car isn’t the cheapest, we find the “ultra low mileage”, 1.8-litre engine and near one-owner status rather appealing. It also helps that it looks incredibly tidy.
The Vauxhall VX220: a two-seat sports car, based on the S2 Elise and built at the Lotus factory in Hethel. A cut-price Elise, then? Launched in 2000 with the 2.2-litre Ecotec engine found in Vauxhall’s more mundane motors, the VX220 was later treated a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, giving it genuine supercar-taming credentials.
Again, it’s possible to buy cheaper, but this looks like one of the best naturally aspirated VX220s on sale. If the mileage stacks up and a history check doesn’t reveal any previous damage, this could be a wise investment. Looks great in Rabiata Red, too.
Mercedes-Benz SL (R129)
Few cars of the 1990s have aged as well as the Mercedes-Benz SL, internal name R129. While its predecessors might be well beyond ‘bargain’ territory, the R129 remains affordable, while offering genuine everyday usability. Performance from the six-cylinder is adequate, while the V12 is best described as ‘excessive’. Our pick would be a V8.
With this Mercedes-Benz SL500 we’re really spoiling you. The dealer claims that it comes with a full service history, while the 107,000 miles is nothing for a car of this quality and engine size. We believe R129 prices are only going to go one way, making the £6,450 asking price seem like a bargain.
BMW 3 Series Convertible (E46)
At the turn of the millennium, this was the convertible to be seen in. The 3 Series Convertible offered a supreme combination of image, build quality and, crucially, driving dynamics that were almost on a par with the hardtop version of the E46 3 Series. Opt for the 320i if you’re in search of the best all-rounder.
There are so many 3 Series Convertibles for sale on Auto Trader, but this out certainly stands out. The engine and specification are desirable, and it has covered a mere 40,000 miles in a little over a decade.
Audi A4 Cabriolet
If one four-seat convertible could challenge the 3 Series of the day it was the Audi A4 Cabriolet. Unveiled at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, the A4 Cabriolet was the long overdue replacement for the ageing 80-based Audi Cabriolet, and was launched just as Audi’s brand image headed into orbit.
You’ll either love or hate the colour, but you’ll certainly stand out from the crowd. And because it’s not silver or black, there’ll be fewer people chasing this particular model. A potential bargain at just £2,150.
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet
Looks like a Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Mk4, right? Peel away the covers and you might be disappointed, because it’s actually a Mk3 Golf, dressed up to look like a Mk4. A kind of Mk3.5, if you like. If you can put up with a Mk3 chassis and interior, the Golf Cabriolet is hard to ignore.
Would it be fair to say this looks as good as any other topless VWs of recent years? Why buy a new Golf Cabriolet or used Eos, when a 1998 car looks this good? Being a 2.0-litre Avantgarde model simply adds to the appeal.
You can buy an original Porsche Boxster (986) for stupidly low money, but we don’t want to give you that. Instead, we recommend opting for the much-improved second generation 987, launched in 2005. The standard 2.7-litre engine is a great choice if you intend to drive your Boxster everyday, but the S – initially a 3.2, but later a 3.4 – is the car to covet.
As a 3.4-litre car, this Boxster S benefits from 295hp, up from 280hp in the 3.2-litre version, while the relatively high mileage means that it could be yours for the same price as a much earlier example. If it has been well maintained using the right parts, this might be worth a look.
A future classic, if ever there was one. If you’re after a lazy performance car, the Honda S2000 isn’t for you. But if you fancy a sports car that needs to be taken by the scruff of the neck, the S2000 is almost without peer. The magic happens above 6,000rpm, at which point the VTEC delivers the fireworks.
The final S2000 rolled off the production line in 2009, so finding one for sale at a Honda dealer is becoming increasingly difficult. This 2006 has covered 69,735 miles and is up for sale at a Honda dealer in the South East. Silverstone Metallic and red leather is a nice combination.
Toyota MR2 (Mk3)
Thanks to the shadow created by the Mazda MX-5, the Toyota MR2 is so often overlooked, but dismiss this bundle of joy and you’ll be missing out. This mid-engined two-seater is a roadster in the truest sense, with a lightweight feel and a free-revving engine. Just don’t expect to pack much more than your toothbrush.
Third generation MR2 prices vary considerably, ranging from £1,500 to around £5,000. At £2,295, this 2002 example is sensibly priced, and with just 77,000 miles on the clock, there’s still plenty of life in the 1.8-litre VVTi engine.
Audi TT Roadster
There’s no doubt the original TT lost some of its purity when Audi removed the roof, but in just about every other respect, the TT Roadster is as good as the Coupe. You still get the gorgeous interior, while the familiar 1.8-litre turbocharged engine is cheap to run and widely available.
OK, we’ll admit it: we’ve been seduced by the red paint. But scroll through the photos and you’ll see why we’ve selected this 2005 TT from the countless others on sale. The spec and condition are – on the evidence of the description and images – hard to beat.
Once you’ve experienced 12 cylinders, anything else makes you feel short-changed. There’s a reason flagship models from Bentley, Ferrari and Rolls-Royce all boast engines of this type. However, you don’t need to be a lottery winner or CEO to grab a slice of V12 luxury. Check out our selection of cars in the Auto Trader classifieds, with prices from just £2,995…
Motoring Research recently sampled a V12 XJS for our weekly Retro Road Test. We said: “The V12 burble doesn’t get boring, and there’s plenty of poke. It feels hugely special, and its reputation means they’re actually a bit of a bargain.”
That reputation – for iffy reliability and single-figure fuel economy – is the reason this XJS is the cheapest V12 currently in the Auto Trader classifieds. Still, at £2,995, with a modest 69,114 miles on the clock, it’s a pretty magnificent car for the money.
Aston Martin DB9
Forget the engine for a minute and just look at it. The DB9 could be the most beautiful car ever to emerge from Newport Pagnell. AND it has a creamy 450hp 5.9-litre V12. Just don’t mention the 18.9mpg thirst.
The price of looking like James Bond is a not-insubstantial £52,950. However, that’s still less than half the cost when new in 2008. And this DB9 has covered a mere 8,000 miles. It’s barely run-in.
How about something – slightly – more sensible? The ultimate fourth-generation (1998-2006) Mercedes-Benz S-Class boasts a mighty 500hp 5.5-litre V12 that blasts this long-wheelbase limousine to 62mph in 4.8 seconds. Very quietly.
When new, this S600L would have cost £95,000. And that’s before options, such as the chunky Mercedes-branded carphone. Fortunately, the wonders of depreciation mean you can buy this 2003 54,000-miler for just £9,994. Even taking running costs into account, that’s an incredible bargain.
BMW’s answer to the S600L was the 760Li. With a 445hp 6.0-litre V12 and 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds, this is the closest you’ll get to an M7. The Chris Bangle-penned styling was controversial when new, but we reckon it’s aged rather well. The first-generation iDrive media system? Probably less well.
This 2003 760Li came with £12,800 of extras when new, taking it well over £100,000. Today, you buy it for £11,995 – seriously tempting for a one-owner car with 64,000 miles and full service history.
Audi A8 6.0
Completing our luxury German triumvirate is the W12 version of Audi’s A8. Rather than building a conventional V12, the Volkswagen Group spliced together two narrow-angle VR6s to create its 443hp 6.0-litre flagship engine. Well, unless you count the W16 in the Bugatti Veyron…
Our stealthy blue 2005 A8 looks in excellent condition. It has covered just 49,000 miles in the hands of one owner, and is currently for sale on Auto Trader at £12,495. This, or a mid-range Fiat 500?
Audi Q7 6.0 TDI
You can also find a 12-cylinder engine in Audi’s seven-seat 4×4 – but this time it’s a diesel. The mighty 500hp 6.0-litre V12 TDI makes the Q7 a bona fide alternative to a Range Rover. And because it drinks from the black pump, fuel economy is a not-too-terrifying 25.0mpg.
Q7 V12s are few and far-between. This 2010, 60,000-mile example is advertised for £39,989 – not cheap, but that’s still more than £60,000 in depreciation since new. Or £10,000 a year. Or £27 a day. Eek.
Bentley Continental GT 6.0
Wait, another 6.0-litre W12? Yup, Bentley is part of the Volkswagen Group so it gets to borrow this engine – tuned up to 560hp here. Supercar performance and a leather-lined cabin that seats four (at a squeeze). What’s not to like?
The Continental GT we’ve found in the classifieds is a 2004 car with 65,250 miles under its 19in wheels. The Audi-based infotainment is starting to look dated, but the fastback styling is as fresh as ever. Fit a private plate and most would struggle to tell this apart from the current car.
Ferrari 456 GT
Now things are getting serious. We hesitate to describe any V12-engined Ferrari as a ‘bargain’, but the gorgeous 456 GT is cheaper than most. And while maintenance costs alone will amount to several thousand pounds a year, you’ll make that back over time as the car appreciates in value. In theory.
This left-hand-drive 456 GT looks subtly beautiful in silver with a black leather interior. It has a 442hp 5.5-litre V12 and, best of all, an old-fashioned Ferrari manual ’box with an exposed metal gate. Even at £48,995, the want is strong with this one.
Here’s another Ferrari that’s still relatively affordable – but probably not for long. The 400i packs a 310hp 4.8-litre V12, along with straight-edged styling that evokes the 1970s as powerfully as a kipper tie.
This manual 400i is apparently one of 31 right-hand-drive examples made. It has spent much of its life in New Zealand, and has covered just 19,000 miles. The £55,900 asking price is a fraction of what you’d pay for an equivalent Ferrari 512 BB.
Our final 12-cylinder car is the grandest of all: the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The first Roller built under BMW and put the British brand firmly back at the top of the super-luxury tree. A 453hp V12 delivers effortless progress – no mean feat in a car weighing more than three tonnes.
At £79,995, this particular 2004 Phantom was the cheapest available on Auto Trader at the time of writing. And we’ll acknowledge that, with those 22in Revere alloy wheels, the spec is more Premiership footballer than Lord Sugar. Still, £80k for the pinnacle of V12 indulgence doesn’t seem too steep.
Given the popularity of crossovers and SUVs, you’d be forgiven for thinking the humble estate car has had its day. But we’re hear to fly the flag for the traditional load-lugger, which is why we’ve assembled a list of great estate cars you can buy for £5,000. All you need is a labrador to go with the car.
Definitive: Volvo 240
When aliens land on Planet Earth and demand to see an example of the definitive estate car, this is what they’ll be shown. The Volvo 240 is the archetypal wagon – big on space, big on practicality, big on safety. You won’t even need to spend the entire £5k budget, because prices start from a few hundred notes. Our pick: the 240 GLT.
Style: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon
Estate cars have no right to look this good. The Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon is the antithesis of the Volvo 240 – achingly beautiful to look at and just as great to drive. On the flip side, it’s not the most spacious estate car in the world, so your dog and rear seat passengers may prefer the big Swede to the pert Italian.
Rural life: Subaru Outback
Some folk will tell you, with some justification, that the Subaru Outback is hamstrung by a naff interior and high running costs. But don’t let that put you off, because when it comes to off-roading and withstanding a lifetime of abuse, these things are peerless. Quite simply, if you live in the country, the Subaru Outback has to be on your shortlist.
Space: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
The W211 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is not without its problems, so you’re advised to do your homework before parting with £5,000. But if you’re after a cavernous load area, sumptuous interior and rock-solid image, this makes a great deal of sense. Also available as a seven-seater.
Compact: Skoda Fabia Estate
Not everybody needs to carry a grandfather clock or ferry half a dozen labradors, which is why cars like the Skoda Fabia Estate are so appealing. What it gives up in terms of load capacity, it makes up for in terms of convenience, value for money and low running costs. It’s like a Volkswagen Polo wagon and you’ll be able to afford anything up to a 2010 model. Also available as the rugged-looking Scout.
No frills: Dacia Logan MCV
If you fancy something nearly-new, your best bet is the Dacia Logan MCV. Buy new and you can drive away in a base-spec Logan for £6,995, but we’d suggest opting for a used example with a few bells and whistles. It’s hardly plush, but the Logan MCV offers a huge 573 litres of boot space, extending to 1,518 with the seats folded flat. Quick confession: the cheapest we can find are just over the £5,000 mark. Time to start haggling…
Lifestyle: Lexus IS300 SportCross
Once upon a time, we all knew where we stood. A spade was a spade and an estate car was an estate car. But then the carmakers started being all fancy dan with their Sport Wagons, Sport Tourers and Tourings. Lexus got in on the act with its IS300 SportCross, which added a touch more practicality over the saloon. It might have a mere 340 litres of luggage space below the parcel shelf, but with the seats folded it can carry up to 2.6m in length. The IS300 SportCross looks superb and drives as well as the saloon.
Performance: Volvo 850 T-5R
The Volvo 850 T-5R sticks two fingers up at convention. Who says you can’t have a boot the size of Watford yet still have the potential to keep up with a sports car? Volvo turned to Porsche to show a new racier side, with the Stuttgart wizards assisting with the engine tuning, transmission and interior. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 60mph was polished off in under six seconds. A modern classic? We think so.
Rallying: Subaru Impreza WRX Estate
Perhaps it’s us, but we always found the wagon version of the Subaru Impreza WRX a little less baseball cap and branded rally jacket than the saloon. It presents a more grown-up, sensible personality and yet still retains the same outstanding cross-country pace. It won’t be cheap to run, but it should prove to be reliable.
Classic: Mercedes-Benz W123 T
It says something about the enduring appeal of the Mercedes-Benz W123 T that you might struggle to find a good one for less than £5,000. They do exist and your search will be rewarded with a cavernous boot, potential for seven seats and what is one of the best-engineered cars of the 20th century. Alternatively, it’s worth considering its successor – the W124.
Budget: Citroen ZX Estate
On a strict budget? Not keen to spend the entire £5,000 on a car? You need something utterly unfashionable, cheap to run and highly practical. The Citroen ZX Estate should fit the bill, especially in super-frugal diesel guise. Spend a few hundred notes buying one and if it dies, simply buy another one. Simple.
Wildcard: Chrysler 300C Touring
You know us, we love to throw a couple of wildcards into the mix and the Chrysler 300C Touring is about as wild as you can get for this money. A Mercedes-sourced 3.0-litre V6 diesel should provide some reassurance and acceptable fuel economy, while the 630 litres of boot space means it’s surprisingly practical. You’ll also find the 300C to be well-equipped.
Weirdly, the Volvo V70 isn’t as spacious as its German rivals, so if space is your final frontier, you’d be better off with the A6 Avant, E-Class Estate or 5 Series Touring. But nobody does estate cars quite like Volvo and the V70 is one of the most comfortable cars in its class. For a dash of performance, the V70R is worth hunting down. That’s if you can keep up.
Veyron wagon: Volkswagen Passat W8
Could this be the world’s greatest Q-car? Underneath that Colin-from-accounts exterior lies the beating heart of a W8 engine, which makes this a Bugatti Veyron for the family (of sorts). With a mere 275hp on tap and a heavy four-wheel drive system, the performance is best described as brisk, but we can’t help but adore the W8. We just haven’t got the guts to take the plunge. Have you?
If it’s good enough for the Queen: Jaguar X-Type Estate
If it’s good enough for Her Majesty, it’s good enough for you. For some reason, the X-Type Estate has a far better image than that of the saloon version and we happen to think it is ageing rather well. Opt for the all-wheel drive version and you’ll be equipped for all weathers.
Golf GTI estate: Skoda Octavia vRS
Fancy a Volkswagen Golf GTI estate? Sadly, this budget won’t stretch to a Golf R Estate, which means the Skoda Octavia vRS is the next best thing. Opt for the Mk1 Octavia vRS with its 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and your budget will ensure you have the pick of the crop. The Mk2 is arguably a better all-rounder, whilst benefiting from the option of a diesel version.
All-rounder: Ford Mondeo
The Ford Mondeo is so good, it’s a wonder why people consider buying anything else. Cliche alert: this thing ticks all of the boxes. The boot is huge, the cabin is spacious, it’s dynamically sorted and it’s also, depending on spec, very well-equipped. A candidate for all the estate car you could ever need? Sorry, that’s two cliches in quick succession.
Reliability: Honda Accord
But we do accept that not everybody wants to drive a Ford Mondeo, which is why cars like the Honda Accord exist. Why should you be interested? Well, for a start, the Accord is regarded as being one of the most reliable cars in the world. Secondly, it’s packed full of gadgets. Thirdly, the not-so-small matter of 626 litres of boot space.
Not a crossover: Audi Allroad
The Audi Allroad wasn’t the first off-road estate car, but it helped to define the sector. Today, the A4 and A6 Allroad are welcome antidotes to the march of the crossover. Along with the Volvo V70 XC, this is where the whole premium off-road estate car thing began. Good ones aren’t cheap, but the image is rock-solid.
Still not a crossover: Skoda Octavia Scout
Here’s another car that retains its value surprisingly well. Or is it a surprise, given the Octavia Scout’s reputation for reliability, practicality and off-road capability? Owners love these things.
Not German: Citroen C5 Tourer
Remember the television ads for the Citroen C5? ‘Unmistakably German, made in France’, or words to that effect. We’re not quite sure what Citroen was hoping to achieve with this approach, but the C5 Tourer remains one of the best looking estate cars you can buy. What’s more, the diesel engines are excellent, contributing to what is a terrific long-distance cruiser. They also depreciate like a stone, which is good news if you’re buying used.
Club door: MINI Clubman
The all-new MINI Clubman might be a better car than its predecessor, but we’ll always have a soft spot for the original. There’s something rather British about the styling, although that ‘club door’ is a nuisance over here. If you’re looking for something more distinctive than the regular MINI and aren’t too fussed about a massive load area, the Clubman holds strong appeal.
Swede dreams: Saab 9-5
Saab’s unfortunate demise has led to plummeting secondhand values, which is good news if you’re looking to buy a 9-5 Estate. There’s a network of Saab specialists to call upon, while original parts are in plentiful supply. The 9-5 is spacious, comfortable, well-equipped and, in Aero guise, properly quick.
Space and image: Audi A6 Avant
We conclude with three estate cars that will probably account for the majority of shortlists up and down the land. Take the Audi A6 Avant, which benefits from a massive load area, an extremely good interior and the kind of image many rivals can only dream of.
The home banker: BMW 3 Series Touring
If, on the other hand, you’re not prepared to sacrifice driving dynamics in favour of practicality, the BMW 3 Series Touring is hard to beat, especially in 330d guise.
Home banker, but larger: BMW 5 Series Touring
Or, if you’re after a little more space, the BMW 5 Series Touring is great to drive, well screwed together and, if equipped with EfficientDynamics gubbins, super-frugal.
You want a crossover or SUV and have £10,000 to spend – what are your options? We’ve selected 10 of our favourites for you to consider, including everything from a much-loved Skoda to a legendary Land Rover.
We make no apology for leading with the Skoda Yeti, because it remains one of our favourite crossovers at any price. It offers a strong blend of economy, driving dynamics and practically and can boast a legion of loyal and satisfied customers. The £10,000 budget should stretch to a good, pre-facelift 2013 Yeti.
The £10,000 budget won’t quite stretch to a second generation Nissan Qashqai, but you shouldn’t rule out the original. Introduced back in 2007, the Qashqai spawned a string of imitators, but it remains Britain’s most popular crossover. There are plenty out there, so you can afford to be choosy. Opt for the diesel engines for the ultimate blend of punch and economy.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
Suzuki’s Qashqai rival has been eclipsed by the newer and superior Vitara, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. The SX4 S-Cross is based on the Swift supermini, meaning it’s pretty good to drive. What’s more, we’ve seen 2014 and even 2015 models available within the £10,000 budget.
The previous generation Kia Sportage is one of the slowest depreciating cars in the UK, largely thanks to its blend of kit, space and seven-year warranty. For our budget, grab yourself a low mileage and well-equipped 2010 or 2011 car and enjoy what’s left of Kia’s acclaimed warranty.
The Honda CR-V offers a large boot and a 40:20:40-split rear seat, so if practicality is your thing, this could be the car for you. The 2.2-litre diesel engine manages to combine performance and economy, while the CR-V offers the dynamics that might seem alien to drivers of other SUVs. Also, it’s a Honda, so reliability should be guaranteed.
The Ford Kuga is based on the Focus, so if good handling tops your list of priorities, this could be the crossover for you. Though the load capacity is smaller than the Focus, the split-tailgate should be useful. The revised Kuga, introduced in 2012, provides an extra 82 litres of boot space.
Citroen C4 Cactus
One-year-old cars are just creeping below the £10,000 mark, so while you might not have the pick of the Cactus crop, you will have one of the freshest faces in the crossover sector. The 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel engine offers super-frugal running costs and the best compromise if you intend to cover long distances.
For years, the Subaru Forester has been the default choice for those looking to combine on-road dynamics and off-road ability. Ignore those who tell you the interior is a tad dated, because these things are built to last and owners swear by them.
Sitting somewhere between the likes of the BMW X5 and more mainstream rivals, the Volkswagen Touareg is a full-fat SUV. It was developed alongside the Porsche Cayenne and offers a feeling of quality and refinement. As good off the road as it is on it.
The Juke followed in the footsteps of the Nissan Qashqai to become one of Britain’s favourite crossovers. Though it has been eclipsed by more modern rivals, it remains as popular as ever, largely thanks to its exterior styling, unique interior and excellent value for money.
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