One thing that does seem to be happening at the moment, with a not quite fully open and only partly functioning used car industry, is that drivers are willing to rethink what they are prepared to buy. ‘Thinking outside of the box’ is a loathsome cliché, but a reader got in contact the other day and was clearly doing that by considering the following: “I’ve been thinking of changing my Focus for an older Volvo or Audi and I’m wondering if I’m crazy?”
Clearly not, for is there anything finer than a mature quality car from Germany or Sweden? Provided it has been looked after and there are no outstanding issues, of course. So let’s stick to those two nominated brands and find the best-value examples we can.
An Audi A4 Avant is practical and classy and makes a great deal of sense, especially in its iconic 1.9 TDI format. Diesel might not be great in a big city but for other situations it’s still a way to get around economically. A random search throws up a 2005 one with just over 140k miles and nine proper service stamps. These are unburstable cars and this one may have had four owners but there are plenty of bills for recent work. And the private seller’s asking price: £1000.
A more central-zone-friendly option would be a 2009 A4 Avant with petrol power at £4500. That seems like a very fair amount to pay for a 1.8 TFSI. Not only does it look great, but this dealer example also has a full 100k-mile service history and a box-fresh MOT. At two ends of a short monetary scale, £1000 to £5000, there is something for everyone.
Volvo does not have the sheer breadth of comparable product, but it does have estates. Loads of them. Beautiful boxy things in the old days, and jolly useful runabouts, too. A V50 is a trim yet handy set of wheels and I’ve found a 2007 2.0D SE example at just £1195. It comes from another caring private owner with a ton of recent bills for work, which may have exhausted his wallet. So it has had a new set of tyres, dual-mass flywheel, starter motor and suspension coil. After 118,000 miles, presumably it doesn’t need any more expenditure.