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€20k budget? Here are the premium cars you need to consider

Expert buying advice for the second hand market.

AS PREMIUM CARS start to get a few more years under their belt, prices begin to get temptingly affordable.

Cars that once cost the price of an apartment can now be snapped up for the same as a new hatchback. With in-car technology having taken a significant jump forward in recent years, there is now some excellent value to be had in the used premium car market. Here’s a look at some of the cars you should have on your radar.

1. Audi A6

Source: Audi Galway

Introduced in 2012, the Audi A6 is still the current generation and remains one of the best executive cars in the segment. Its good looks have ensured that the car hasn’t dated.

The model was updated more recently – but those changes were subtle, so it doesn’t look that much like an older model.

If your budget can stretch to it, go for the sportier looking S line version, as these not only came with larger alloy wheels but had an upgraded interior.

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2. Lexus RX Hybrid

Source: Yomac Cars

Large hybrid SUVs are coming thick and fast from car manufacturers these days, but Lexus was long the sole player in the market, and did live up to its name as the Japanese Mercedes-Benz.

Its RX is a spacious five-seat SUV that features a hybrid setup allowing it to cover short distances in traffic under battery power. Crucially it doesn’t need to be plugged in; it just recharges as it goes. Lexus regularly scores well in customer satisfaction and reliability surveys, another thing to consider.

The RX doesn’t have the most appealing style, but the interior is well finished, and it is one of the more comfortable SUVs to drive.

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3. BMW 7 Series

Source: AutoTradeDirect

Think BMW 7 Series, and you’re probably thinking of ambassadors, diplomats and corporate CEOs.

There’s a reason the 7 Series is so popular in these circles. Luxury interiors and numerous driver and infotainment systems often appear first on this model before trickling down to other cars in the range. But as these cars get a little older, the values begin to decrease – often resulting in them selling for a small fraction of what they first cost.

More than usual, full-service histories should be a must for any car you’re looking at, and bear in mind that these can sometimes incur expensive repair bills should something go wrong. But get a good one and you’ll feel like a million euros when you drive it.

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4. Volkswagen Phaeton

Source: The Garage Harolds Cross

You might not think of Volkswagen as a premium car maker, but there’s one exception to this rule – the Phaeton. This flagship saloon was created at the behest of the then CEO, himself a true automotive engineer.

It was a vastly overengineered car and rivalled the Bentley Flying Spur in its build quality. Find one nowadays, and it should still be running like a clock. You will struggle to find a modern car that was as well made as the Phaeton. Add to that its remarkably understated styling, not to mention cult car status and you’re onto a winner. Expect nods of approval from those who recognise what it is.

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5. Mazda6

Source: Cahercalla Motors

Early examples of the current Mazda 6 have seen prices begin to dip below the €20,000 mark, which is good news if you’re in the market for a very well-engineered car that also has great looks and drives particularly well.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine might seem off-putting at first, but the emissions aren’t that high so motor tax won’t be too costly. It can be economical to run despite its large size, and both the manual and automatic transmissions work well, though expect to pay more for the auto. If you can find one with a leather interior within your budget go for it, as the interior quality is high compared to more traditional premium car makers.

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About the author:

Dave Humphreys

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