You have £5-grand to spend, what do you do with it? Give it charity? NO way! We have a better idea, spend that £5-grand on a used car, saying second hand is a dirty word in our lexicon, actually I prefer pre-owned and this is my personal choice. You may agree or be inclined to disagree, its all subjective.1. Volkswagen Eos
If you’re in the market for a convertible but still want excellent practicality and 4 seats, the sensible Volkswagen Eos is an excellent choice. With claimed efficiency figures of an impressive of 47.1 mpg. The 4cylinder, 2.0litre diesel engine is good for 0-60 mph in 10.4 seconds thanks to 138 bhp. This is quick enough for drop top posers with their Ray Ban Wayfarers and shiny white teeth. I would choose the 6-speed manual and go for the Sport model because of a generous level of kit. with air conditioning, alloy wheels, a parking aid, heated leather seats and a panoramic glass roof with sunroof. The Eos uses an intricate 5piece metal folding roof to save space in the boot. It’s worth mentioning that the roof takes a whole 25 seconds to fold away. Its 358litre boot is larger than that of the BMW 1Series Convertible (which later became the 2 Series Convertible) and the Audi A3 Cabriolet, but doesn’t quite beat that of the last generation Volvo C70. As long as you maintain it at regular intervals the Eos is a reliable car with proven engines from the VW lineup. However it may be worth resealing the roof as the rubber tends to deteriorate after a few years. Pricing for a 2008 Eos Sport is around £4,500.
2. Audi A8
If real luxury is more your forté then I would recommend the Audi A8. The pick of the bunch is the Long Wheelbase (LWB) 3.0-litre 6-cylinder
diesel engine which is capable of a claimed 32.1 mpg. Although this doesn’t sound impressive, it’s equal to that of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes Benz
S Class of that age. The 060 mph sprint is covered in 8.0 seconds thanks to 229 bhp and 450 Nm. Entry level model equipment is impressive with bi-xenon headlights, satellite navigation, heated leather sports seats with electric adjustability, a parking aid, air conditioning, climate control,
cruise control and mobile phone connectivity. In 2003 and 2006 the A8 was recalled for a fault with the driver’s airbag. Check if this applies to
the A8 that you’re interested in. For a 2006 Audi A8 SE quattro LWB as described, you’re looking at a few pounds short of £5,000.
3. BMW 3 Series Saloon
If you’re looking for a sensible car to ferry your family around in, but still want a desirable badge, you must be in the market for a BMW 3 Series Saloon. The 325d uses a 3.0-litre flat-six diesel engine to produce 197 bhp and 400 Nm getting it to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds and averages around 47.9 mpg. SE models are available to buy today with air conditioning, a parking aid, sports seats, alloy wheels, cruise control and front height adjustable
seats. Boot space is good and access is easy, but by the litre, it’s smaller than that of its main rivals the Mercedes Benz Class and Audi A4. An accomplished motorway cruiser, the BMW 3 Series remained free from major recalls, but it’s worth having a good look at each and every body panel because it is known to suffer from rust damage. If you notice that it has had multiple owners is a short period of time, be weary as this
may indicate an ongoing problem. The 325d SE is in the region of £4,500 today (for a 2008 model) but an equally aged 320d SE is
4. Volvo XC90
If you find yourself more often than not ferrying kids around but don’t want a boring 7 seater, have you thought about an SUV? The Volvo XC90 is probably your answer with its outstanding levels of safety. With the D5 engine (2.4-litre 5-cylinder), you can reach 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. A disadvantage of having 200 bhp and 420 Nm at your disposal through a 5-cylinder engine is its efficiency. Volvo’s claimed figure of 34.4 mpg is slightly disappointing, whereas £490 to tax it each year is just offensive! (239 g/km). Despite this, trim is good. SE models come with leather upholstery, four-wheel-drive, European maps for the satellite navigation, cruise control, alloy wheels, automatic windscreen wipers and a climate control system which has an incorporated pollen filter. Of course, as standard, all XC90s get 7 seats. There have been many recalls over the years for various issues. Some of the problems found on earlier models were the injector pipes where fuel leaks occurred (2004) and the battery ground cable which, in some instances, would short circuit (2005). Additionally, there was a recall for the seat belt attachments as well as a possible fault with the ABS system (2003). A 2005 D4 SE can be bought for as little as £4,000!
5. Kia Rio
If it’s just a little runabout that you’re looking for, you’re inundated by choices! But one which I feel is often overlooked and doesn’t receive due credit is the Kia Rio. Thanks to its 74 bhp 1.1-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine, road tax is absolutely free (94 g/km) and fuel efficiency is astronomical at a claimed 78.5 mpg. As long as the majority of your driving is around town, it’s an excellent choice. Don’t venture onto motorways too often though, as the 0-60
mph of 15.5 seconds doesn’t fill you with confidence. Air models come with electric windows, air conditioning, cloth upholstery and a multifunctional
steering wheel. Being the latest generation (introduced in 2011) the Rio hasn’t experienced any major faults to date, but benefiting from Kia’s 7year / 100,000 mile warranty, you should be covered for most day-to-day issues. For a 2012 1.1 CRDi like this, you’ll be spending your full £5,000.