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Dublin: 11°C Friday 15 October 2021

Something different for your driveway: 3 unusual used models that can be great value

We look at some more unusual models that are well worth checking out.

Image: DoneDeal

THERE IS THAT familiar saying “go with what you know”. And when it comes to cars, this can be especially true.

Sometimes the reasons that people stick with one particular type of brand can be wildly varied. Perhaps there’s a dealer nearby, which makes it handy, your parents always drove one, or you just chose the one that had the best deal.

But what if you want something a little different? A car that stands out from the crowd?

We look at some cars that may get you noticed – and won’t leave you wondering which one is yours in the car park.

1. Subaru Outback (2004-2009)

Source: DoneDeal

If you need decent amounts of luggage room and the benefit of all-wheel drive you may be tempted by a crossover like the ubiquitous Nissan Qashqai or something more rugged like the Skoda Octavia Scout Estate. But there is another capable estate to consider.

Part crossover, part estate, the Subaru Outback on paper, has it all. The third generation models, sold between 2004 and 2009 remain the most common on the used market.

Most of these models use the 2.5-litre petrol engine and often feature Subaru’s automatic transmission called Lineartronic. It’s not the smoothest of autos, but it does a decent job, just don’t expect stellar fuel economy figures.

The upside to the Outback is the comfortable ride quality thanks to its raised suspension and relatively low centre of gravity. It is well known for having high levels of grip, and the all-wheel drive system is great in winter, especially if you live in areas where you more frequently see poor road surfaces.

2. Suzuki Jimny (1998-present)

Source: DoneDeal

There aren’t that many choices when you’re looking for a compact car that can tackle rough terrain. One of the obvious choices might be the Skoda Yeti, but these can be expensive and few are equipped with all-wheel drive.

It’s hard to find an SUV on the market that is a capable, compact, and fun as the Suzuki Jimny. Only the Mitsubishi Pajero Junior (or Pinin, depending on where it’s sold), comes close to matching it.

This three-door, four-seat SUV might look like something for just zipping around town in but show it a rocky trail, and it stands a better chance of getting up it than most. Powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine with 80hp, it is far from fast. The engine’s high emissions mean you should look for pre-2008 models. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at a €570 annual bill.

Its plucky image gives it bags of appeal, and if you find a well-cared-for example, it should last you for years. While it’s no longer officially sold in Ireland, and set for replacement, the good news is that the next generation looks just as cool.

3. Saab 9-5 (1997-2009, newer model 2010-2011)

Source: DoneDeal

When to comes to buying a saloon, all of the usual suspects like the Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia and Volkswagen Passat come to mind. But what if you want something a little more unusual then you could look at this Swedish offering.

The automobile choice of the discerning architect, Saabs have long been viewed as cool, leftfield cars. One of the most common models in Ireland is the 9-5.

Saab developed this model from the Opel Vectra of the same era. But Saab, which was then part of Opel’s parent company at the time, General Motors, spent vast sums of money re-engineering it.

The steering was improved, as was the ride quality. In 2005, Saab introduced a 180hp 2.0-litre petrol engine that could also run on E85 Ethanol as well as petrol. Ever the innovators, the Saab 9-5 was also the first production car to offer ventilated seats as an option.

The cool (no pun intended) status may be higher these days as Saab is no longer around, but that does also throw up the potential difficulty when it comes to parts and service. Ireland does have a few specialists still around, and there are a few dedicated parts websites too. The facelifted models got chrome detailing around the headlights, which were Marmite in their divisiveness. Even rarer is the new 2010 onwards model, which has a highly distinctive design. It was based on the newer (at the time) Opel Insignia and featured a 2.0-litre diesel engine. But these went on sale just one year before the company finally went bust.

About the author:

Dave Humphreys

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