New cars are great, they smell fresh, come with a warranty and the chances of them breaking down are remote. But when you are shopping at the lower end of the market you will also have to settle for a small engine, tiny interior and not a whole lot in the way of luxury and convenience features.
Add in the massive depreciation that affects all out-of-the-box automotive purchases and that new car shine starts to lose a bit of its lustre. Don’t lose hope just yet, we are here to tell you that for as little as £10,000 (the same as a bare-bones city car) you can be cruising around in a luxurious saloon or SUV. From sensible diesel four-door family cars to ostentatious V8-powered SUVs, there is a well-appointed range-topper from yesterday’s automotive catalogue that is just waiting for you.
There may not be the security of a comprehensive warranty and the leather may be a bit worn in places, but hey, at least you will actually have leather. Most luxury cars tend to suffer horrendous depreciation in their first few years, but our 10 grand tanks are well past that phase and now they offer (potentially) superb value for the savvy buyer. And if something big does go wrong, it may still cost you less compared to the depreciation of a new car.
The fourth-generation X5 has just been revealed and it comes with all of the latest safety systems and convenience items that you would expect of a vehicle that starts at £57,500 before options.
Our alternative is a seven-year-old second-gen model that may lack a few toys but still has great engines, solid build quality and plenty of space for a big family.
2010 3.0d xDrive
235bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel
Land Rover Discovery 4
The Discovery 4 was the perfect mix of chunky Land Rover styling and effortless on and off-road capability. Proving that new is not always better, the replacement model with its awkward, high-sided design and that awful lop-sided tailgate has not been met with universal acclaim.
The old lower-tech Discovery 4 may lack its dynamic abilities and latest convenience features, but it is still a popular used buy thanks to its timeless styling and high comfort levels.
2009 SD V6
242bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel
The latest Range Rover is a stunning looking thing but with prices ranging from £81,000 right up to over £140,000 for a new one, the previous-generation models start to look a whole lot more desirable.
They are still an imposing piece of kit on the roads and you wont want for any luxuries or any more comfort either.
2006 3.6 TD V8
272bhp 3.6-litre turbodiesel
Porsche arrived to the luxury SUV party a bit later than Mercedes and BMW but when it did, the Cayenne immediately stepped to the top of the pile when it came to dynamic ability.
It admittedly isn’t the prettiest design to have come out of Zuffenhausen and the early V8s had a few teething issues but pick the right one and it is still a great drive. If you are going to risk it you may as well go for the big daddy Turbo model.
2004 4.5-litre Turbo
450bhp 4.5-litre V8 turbocharged petrol
Toyota Land Cruiser
We end our SUV selection on an altogether more practical option. The Toyota Land Cruiser has been conquering inhospitable terrain for decades and what better way to show your commitment on the school run than to pick little Jimmy up in a rugged old Land Cruiser?
They are not the quickest things around but nothing short of an actual brick wall will stop them.
2008 3.0 D-4D
173bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel
Mercedes-Benz E Class
Mercedes may have gone through a bit of a build-quality hiccup in the early 2000s but they have been on form for many years now so buying used should not be an issue.
The old-gen E Class has aged well and while you can pick one of the frugal four-cylinder options, a Mercedes deserves a smooth six-cylinder engine under its bonnet. Go for a diesel one if you are concerned about the fuel economy.
265bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel
The old XF may have been replaced in 2015 but it is still a handsome looking design and it makes for a superb long-distance cruiser. The diesels are efficient but clattery and a Jag is all about understated style and luxury so we would opt for one of the petrol variants.
The manic supercharged V8 is a bit out of budget here but the base V6 is smooth and plenty powerful enough for our crowded roads.
2010 3.0 V6
235bhp 3.0-litre V6
The A8 has been trading punches with the 7 Series and S-Class for decades, the first-generation A8 introduced aluminium body panels and four-wheel-drive to the segment and the newer models continue to impress with their technological innovation.
Thanks to an evolutionary design style, the older A8 looks pretty much like the new one all at a fraction of the cost.
2010 3.0 TDI Sport LWB
229bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel
Lexus also made quite a splash with the LS400 back in 1989, here was a big V8 saloon that offered everything the established players did but at a price that undercut them all.
Having established itself as a very capable and reliable luxury barge, the latest LS models are priced a lot closer to the German competition but used examples can often change hands for very attractive prices.
375bhp 4.6-litre V8
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit
If you are the risk-taking sort, then this is modern classic may just be the perfect option for you. The Silver Spirit stayed in production for a staggering 19-years and went through a number of updates during this time.
All used the long-lived 6.75-litre V8 albeit in various states of tune and while £10,000 might not get you the very best example, look for the latest model you can find. In terms of ride comfort and overtaking presence not much comes close to this ultra-luxurious Roller.
It may cost a fraction of what you would have to shell out for a modern Rolls-Royce but be sure to keep a fair bit aside for the inevitable servicing costs.
1989 Silver Spirit
+-250bhp 6.75-litre V8
Bentley Mulsanne Turbo
Named after the longest straight at Le Mans (before they put in the kink), the Mulsanne made use of the traditional 6.75-litre V8 shared with Rolls-Royce and added a turbocharger to boost power by 50 percent.
Turbo R models introduced fuel-injection and a touch more power, they are a bit rarer too. Prices are about as low as they are going to get but get a bad one and the running costs may well break up a happy home.
1989 Turbo R
+-400bhp 6.75-litre turbocharged V8