19 Dec 2012

Super saloons - family cars with a turn of speed

Which are the best saloons for under £10,000 that provide not just high mpg, low CO2, low tax and low depreciation, but a huge dollop of fun?  We make some suggestions

Here at Speedmonkey we cater for every taste in cars - from supercars to budget hot hatches.  As long as it's not an oil burner and it's fun to drive we've got it covered.  But sometimes you need one car to do many jobs.  Commute, ferry the kids, do the shopping, go on holiday for a rainy week in Wales.

We set out to prove you can do all the above and still have fun behind the wheel.  This is our list of super saloons.  The budget is £10,000.

Alfa Romeo 159 3.2 V6 JTS Q4 LUSSO

OK so it's an Alfa.  You love them or hate them.  The 159 looks fantastic - non-one could disagree with that.  It's got a 3.2 litre V6 with 260bhp and, crucially, four wheel drive - so that heavy V6 won't keep aiming at the hedges when you go round corners.   £10k will buy a 2009 with under 100,000 miles.  Just make sure it's got a full service history and prepare yourself for a fraught ownership.  Bits will fall off and bits will break.  0-60mph takes 7 seconds and it will return 25mpg.

Audi A4 3.2 FSI Quattro

Audi don't do rear wheel drive and if you want a decent lump their V6s sound great and go well.  The 3.2 Quattro ticks all the boxes.  256bhp, 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds.  So a decent amount of power and planted to the road.  Our £10k buys a 2006 B7 with under 100,000 miles and full service history.  You'll get the best interior on the market and a great sound system.  It returns a better mpg than the Alfa at 26.

BMW 330i

Choose 3 series, choose the 3 litre petrol and in return you get the sportiest car here.  Inside is a little cramped compared to some others but forget that and enjoy it's 258bhp and 0-60mph in 6.6 seconds.  Enjoy corners too.  You'll get a a 2007 E90 (the last one before the grille got seriously ugly) and it'll return 31mpg.  

Jaguar XJ6 3.0 V6

For the budget you can get a lovely example of the X350, which is significant because it was Jaguar's first foray into an aluminium XJ and, as such, is much lighter than previous XJs.  Choose the 240bhp V6 and you'll get 27mpg and 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds.  The ride is second to none and the interior is the most luxurious, if not modern, of any car here.  OK, it's a bit golf club and the steering wheel's that awful Ford one but the XJ is serious car for the cash.  You can get a 2006 with low miles for £10k.

Mercedes C230 Elegance

£10,000 buys a 2007 W208 C 230 Elegance.  Do not under any circumstances buy a 2006, or earlier, W203 for this money. It's value will drop like a stone.  Because you need to buy 2007 or later you can only get a 2.5 litre 230 with 204bhp but it'll be worth it.  The interior is great, the handling very good and you'll feel like a king (or queen) at the wheel.  0-60mph takes 8.4 seconds and it will do 31mpg.  Make sure it has service history and don't worry too much about mileage.  100,000 miles is pretty common in a C Class of this age.

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero

The interior's not as good as the Audi, it's not as fast as the Alfa and it's front wheel drive.  But some people like Saabs and, to be honest, everyone should own one at least once just to savour the experience.  2 litre turbo with 210bhp and 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds.  It'll return 31mpg.  You can buy a   2008 model with low miles.  Not the sanest of choices but you should try one.  Note - if you're looking through the adverts don't go for one with a lower case t, i.e. '2.0t', because that's the 150bhp version.  Capital T = 210bhp.

Vauxhall Insignia 2.8T V6 4X4

A Vauxhall?  Bear with us here.  Check out the stats.  2.8 litre turbocharged V6.  260bhp.  Four wheel drive.  0-60mph in 6.7 seconds.  26mpg.  And you can get a low mileage 2009 for the money.  OK, it's pretty bland and has a silly name but this is a bit of a sleeper.  It's not a bad car.  The trouble is it's no BMW or Audi - even if you can get a 3 year younger one for the same money.

Volkswagen Passat Cc 3.6 V6 GT

Rare as hen's teeth and better for it.  This is the best all round choice of any of the cars here.  3.6 litre V6 with 300bhp and four wheel drive.  0-60mph in 5.6 seconds and 29mpg (which we don't believe).  The Passat Cc is a beautiful car (more than can be said for the standard Passat).  The interior is of Audi standards and it'll hold it's value.  You can get a 2008 for the money but you'll have to look hard to find one.  The Passat Cc is our preferred super saloon.