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Big saloons: money pit or bargain?

  • We show you how much a used executive car costs to run
  • What's cheaper - a new smaller car or a used big saloon?
  • Use our Cost of Motoring tool to compare running costs
  • We show you how much a used executive car costs to run
  • What's cheaper - a new smaller car or a used big saloon?
  • Use our Cost of Motoring tool to compare running costs

If you wanted to buy an executive saloon but have been put off by the cost of fuel and servicing, maybe you're considering something slightly smaller that's newer and cheaper to run.

It could be more cost effective, however, to buy a used executive car. Although they're usually more expensive to run, many used cars for sale have already absorbed the majority of their depreciation - so an older car, besides being cheaper to buy, will also stand to lose less money than a new one.

We've rounded up some examples using our Cost of Motoring tool to show what kind of savings that a used executive car can deliver. You might just find that you don't have to compromise on space, or luxury, after all.

All figures are based on 10,000 miles a year, for a period of three years.

Used Volvo S80 vs. New Volvo S40 

Buying a new S40 isn't a bad idea - it's safe, economical and comfortable. If you're prepared to accept a slightly older car, however, you could consider the bigger S80. It's a high quality saloon with excellent refinement and a luxury interior.

We found a 2008 2.4-litre D5 SE Geartronic S80, with 38,000 miles, for £12,000. It's well equipped with climate control, alloy wheels, a CD player, cruise control, leather seats and electric windows. It'll even average a sensible 42mpg, thanks to its diesel engine.

Driving a used S80, as opposed to a new S40, could stand to save you a staggering £12,262 over the course of three years - thanks to its lower depreciation and purchase price.

 

 

 
2008 Volvo S80 2.5 D5 SE

 
2011 Volvo S40 D3 ES 4dr

Price: £12,000 £21,610
Depreciation: £7,520 £14,300
Showroom tax/registration: £0.00 £170
Servicing: £3,852 £1,552
Road tax: £735 £230
Fuel: £4,926 £3,433
Total running costs: £17,033 £19,685


Which car costs less?  The used S80, by £12,262

Used BMW 7-Series vs. New BMW 3-Series

BMW's 7-Series packs the typical blend of quality, comfort and handling. It's not the most sharply styled car but it has vast amounts of legroom, a powerful diesel engine and lots of equipment. If you're commuting on the motorways, or even through inner city areas, it offers an effortless and relaxed drive.

We spotted a local dealer offering a 2008 730d SE automatic for £22,500. With only 30,000 miles on the clock it's got plenty of life left. It's well equipped too with parking sensors, electric seats, climate control, leather seats, sat-nav and cruise control.

Although it's more costly to run, you'd still save a meaningful £9,650 by buying and driving the used 7-Series for three years, instead of the new 3-Series.

 

 


2008 BMW 730d SE Auto


2011 BMW 320d M Sport

Price: £22,500 £31,535
Depreciation: £12,995 £18,925
Showroom tax/registration: £0.00 £170
Servicing: £4,611 £1,398
Road tax: £780 £230
Fuel: £5,301 £3,579
Total running costs: £23,687 £24,302


Which car costs less?  The used 7-Series, by £9,650

Used Mercedes S-Class vs. New Mercedes C-Class

The pinnacle of luxury travel, Mercedes' S-Class saloon is an exceptionally refined car. Buyers who are looking at new C-Class may be surprised to find that an older S-Class could save them as much as £11,518 over the course of three years.

This is because the used S-Class is cheaper to buy and will depreciates less - meaning your bank account won't be ruined, while you get to enjoy one of Mercedes-Benz's most comfortable cars.

A main dealer was selling a 2006 S320 CDi automatic, with 42,000 miles, for £20,945. Despite its size it should average around 30mpg and it's also capable of 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds. It comes with air-con, leather seats and tinted glass.

 

 

 
2006 S-Class S320 CDi Auto

 
2011 C-Class C250 Elegance Auto

Price: £20,945 £31,820
Depreciation: £13,650 £18,520
Showroom tax/registration: £0.00 £220
Servicing: £4,723 £1,927
Road tax: £780 £330
Fuel: £5,584 £4,383
Total running costs: £24,737 £25,380


Which car costs less?  The used S-Class, by £11,518

Used Citroen C6 vs. New Citroen C4

The Citroen C6 may seem somewhat of a masochistic choice, given Citroen's previous reliability issues and the complexity of the car - but it has rarity on its side and is phenomenally comfortable.

A Citroen dealer was offering a 2010 C6 2.2-litre diesel, in Exclusive trim, which had covered 13,000 miles for £18,941. For your money you get cruise control and a speed limiter, dual-zone climate control, big alloy wheels, satellite navigation, electric seats, an electrically adjusted steering column, front and rear parking sensors and a trip computer.

Buying a C6 that's this young means you'll still get hit with some depreciation - but the car will still be covered by its all-important warranty, so you won't find yourself facing unexpected bills.

Although, in this instance, you'd only stand to save £648 buying a used C6 compared to a new C4, you'd be getting a car that was only a year old and considerably better equipped. This means you'd get more for your money in the first place, as well as making minor savings while you own the car.

 

 


2010 Citroen C6 2.2 HDi 16V Exclusive


2011 Citroen C4 2.0 HDi Exclusive

Price: £18,941 £21,645
Depreciation: £11,470 £14,220
Showroom tax/registration: £0.00 £55
Servicing: £3,486 £891
Road tax: £735 £190
Fuel: £5,107 £3,377
Total running costs: £20,798 £18,733


Which car costs less?  The used Citroen C6, by £648

Used Skoda Superb vs. New Skoda Octavia

Here's a great example of maximising what you get for your money. If you were considering buying Skoda's excellent Octavia, but wouldn't mind buying something that's a year or two old, then you could look at a used Superb.

Not only would you get a bigger car, but you'd also save £3,600 over the course of three years by buying and driving the used Superb instead of the new Octavia. The Superb would still be in warranty too, so you wouldn't have to worry immediately about any issues.

A quick search on Skoda's approved used website led us to a 1.8-litre TSI Superb, in SE trim and with a rapid-shifting DSG gearbox. It was just over a year old and had covered 5,416 miles. It comes with an MP3 connection, air-con and alloy wheels.

 

 


2010 Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI SE DSG


2011 Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI Elegance

Price: £14,999 £18,030
Depreciation: £9,838 £11,175
Showroom tax/registration: £0.00 £220
Servicing: £1,328 £683
Road tax: £570 £330
Fuel: £4,633 £4,530
Total running costs: £16,369 £16,938


Which car costs less?  The used Skoda Superb, by £3,600

Note: The Cost of Motoring tool is updated constantly so the figures may change according to market conditions. Models pictured may not represent exact derivatives.

Parker's Top Tip

You can compare both new and used car running costs by using our Cost of Motoring tool. If you're maybe thinking about changing your car then find out what it's worth by getting a Used Car Valuation, and you can research the replacement cars that might interest you in our New Car Reviews section.

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