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Parker's forecourt focus: More car for the money

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Review

The lure of the prestige brand is proving strong for many customers with sales of new luxury cars on the increase. However, many still assume that top-end brands remain out of wallet reach.

The reality is that for those shopping for a new mainstream car, the same buying power can secure a prestige used vehicle. What’s more, buying used can make a lot of sense: the car has already taken a big hit on depreciation, many are covered by the manufacturer’s approved used schemes and there’s an ever-increasing choice.

Jaguar’s all-aluminium XJ saloon is a great example. The entry-level XJ6 with full service history, average mileage and good spec level (SE version is best to ensure good resale value) is on offer at the £20,000-mark for a 2003 model. That’s the same money as a new Ford Mondeo 2.0 Ghia X.

What’s more, petrol consumption and running costs are not as expensive as many assume.

If saloons don’t appeal, then 4x4s might. Mercedes ML has taken a hit in terms of used values with early examples now around £8,000. They may not deliver the sharpest driving experience, but many have high equipment levels and it carries that all-important three-pointed star.

For the same money, sportscar lovers can aim for a first generation Lotus Elise with service history. These two-seaters have really suffered from falling values, making high-milers affordable.

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