Bangernomics 21 for 2021: James Ruppert's best used buys

Skoda Superb

Bag the right motor and your year should work out just fine. Here are our picks in all the categories that matter

It’s that time of the year again, when Santa’s on his way and Autocar’s own Father Christmas look-a-like, our high guru of Bangernomics, James Ruppert, sleds around the used market to find you the very best deals. Whether you’re in search of a load lugger to haul swollen stockings, a tough mudder for off-road fun or a bargain barge for cruising to meet relatives – we’ve got you covered below.

Load lugger

2015 Skoda Superb Estate 1.6 TDI S 100,000 miles, £6050: Great, big, enormous estates may be deeply unfashionable for the time being, but they’re chock-full of practical touches that owners love. They were originally bought new for their sheer value, and that also translates into an even better buy used. The Skoda Superb Estate is the perfect example. Avoid the retired workhorses and revel in the excellent equipment levels.

2008 Mercedes-Benz R320 CDI Edition S 70,000 miles, £7000: Instead of a Vito, why not try the more svelte – but misunderstood – R-Class? It’s not a big boomy box at all, being wonderfully refined, so if you do need a truly classy family-haulage device, seriously consider one of these. There are short and long wheelbases, too. The latter is better for seven.

2012 Fiat Doblo 1.4 30,000 miles, £3995: Proper MPVs are just vans, so why not be honest and get one of those instead? The Doblo is slow and ugly but oh-so practical, with car park-friendly sliding rear doors. The 1.4 version is best for ULEZ friendliness; avoid commercial-user basic spec.

Rapid response

2009 Nissan GT-R Premium 56,000 miles, £28,950: If you want to flatter yourself, buy this. Easy to drive yet utterly invigorating to own and live with. Can be used like a Micra but, when required, turns into a track-day or long-distance crusher. Costs a lot to keep sweet but worth it.

2008 Audi R8 4.2 FSI R-Tronic 43,000 miles, £33,495: Enjoy them while they last. The R8 may not look like the people’s supercar, but it pretty much is. Available for hot hatch money now but costs more to run. Has a decent reliability record and in everyday use is very refined, almost docile. Decent front-end boot and charismatic V8.

2015 Jaguar XFR 92,000 miles, £11,990: If you plan on having a good time on the limit, it just gets better if you can bring some others with you, and ideally in comfort. The XFR is one of the last big bruiser saloons with a proper Jag badge. A real hard nut that’s easy to buy but obviously expensive to run.

Small soldier

2010 Fiat Panda 1.2 Eleganza Automatic 28,000 miles, £3150: It’s hard to find anything boxier or more beautiful than the Panda. It has five doors and five seats and the 1.2-litre petrol engine gets 50mpg. Find one with the sliding rear seat so you can optimise luggage space and bag one in Eleganza spec for some pocket-sized luxury. Has head room.

2013 Ford KA 1.2 Edge 40,000 miles, £3595: There are thousands around and they’re so cheap now. Pre-Aston-grille Kas are the ones to buy, and the everyday 1.2 gives you 55mpg and no ULEZ worries. Huge fun when you don’t have to abide by town-centre traffic rules; cost buttons to run.

2011 Toyota IQ 1.0 VVT 42,000 miles, £3699: The perfect toy-town car ought to be a Smart, but you can’t fit anything in those. You can get four bodies in these (just) or loads of shopping. Plus this is an ultra-reliable Toyota, and it has the tightest turning circle outside of a London taxi. Safe.

Happy shopper

2008 Renault Twingo Gordini 63,000 miles, £3290: Whatever happened to the screamingly amusing hot hatch? Here’s one they made earlier. The Twingo’s 1.6-litre engine is noisy fun, the Gordini edition comes with a lot of standard kit and there were Cup models, too, for added amusement. What on earth is wrong with an off-centre stripe? Nowt.

2008 Mini 3DR 1.6 John Cooper Works 62,000 miles, £6800: Volume-produced models are always the used bargain-buyer’s friend. Buying a Mini Cooper S has never been easier, and although the supercharged model is fun, the John Cooper Works will hold its value forever. Possibly. It’s an icon, just like the original.

2009 Honda Civic Type R GT 56,000 miles, £6275: Sometimes you can have too much excitement and just need to go shopping, but the Civic Type R is able to release its inner Jazz when required. Great seats, and get a GT for lots of useful kit. Being a Honda, it will remain reliable, which is a huge bonus.

Tough mudder

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2TD GX3 SST 125,000 miles, £5495: Overlook the obvious Shogun and in the background doing much of the hard work is this. The Outlander has plenty of room for the family (there were seven-seaters), it will tow hard and it can do all of the essential offroad stuff – and all for less than the price of a Shoggie. Became slightly prettier over the years.

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Limited 81,000 miles, £9995: Not everyone’s go-to SUV, and you could be sniffy about the interior, but it’s a fully capable on and offroad machine. Truly comfortable, with all the basic attributes from air-con to electric seats. Sensational value for money despite being on the gruff side.

2006 Suzuki Jimny 1.3 JLX 63,000 miles £3499: Everyone loves the new Jimny, but actually the original from a few years ago was a proper backto-basics gem. Just as comfortable on the road as a Land Rover Defender and arguably not far off it when actually mudding. Best of all are the marginal acquisition costs, plus it looks the part.

Soft-top option

2011 Lexus IS 250C SE 57,000 miles, £10,995: Owning a convertible doesn’t always mean living on the ragged rag-top edge, and here’s the proof: a rather exclusive Lexus, which isn’t quick but will be hugely satisfying to own and comfortable to drive, with all the luxury and safety kit you need.

2015 Lexus LS 600H 71,000 miles, £14,499: Pure barge, and if it has been looked after, it will refuse to break down. A relatively small investment delivers a ton of spec and a hybrid V8 for hushed progress in leather-lined super-comfort. Hard to find any real downsides unless it’s used and abused.

2010 Porsche Panamera 4S PDK 98,000 miles, £19,950: A five-door 911 is, in effect, what we have here. Yet the Panamera doesn’t drive like a rock-hard supercar, and that makes it enough of a four-seat barge for us. The used prices make it the nextcheapest Porker on the second-hand car lot. Buy with your eyes and your wallet wide open.


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Source: Autocar

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