Raphael Kanza is a huge fan of Saabs and has been enjoying the reports of Saab's revival in the pages of 'The Independent'. He is now on his third Saab 9-5 and will keep hold of his current model. However, he does have a 2005 BMW 730D with 60,000 miles on the clock and he would like to part-exchange it against a brand new Saab 9-5 2.8T. He wants a good deal and is after some advice to shift the BMW and get another Saab into his garage.

A car for the head

This is a slightly different Car Choice and we will deal with the practicalities first. Although Raphael could part-exchange the BMW, I think that he should sell it privately to maximise his return. The BMW is a great luxury car which returns a reasonable 34mpg overall, which is very good for a car of that size and complexity. Just at the moment, if he put it up for sale he would get plenty of interest if £12,995 was the asking price. A dealer would usually ask £1,000 more, but that allows for the car being fully prepared and warranted. If Raphael makes it clear that the BMW can be protected with an independent warranty and he shows buyers a full service history, and also organises a fresh MoT then the sale should be a smooth one. When it comes to the new Saab, Raphael has indicated that he wants a 2.8T, which would be petrol, and right now there do not seem to be any deals at all through brokers. £36,990 buys the top of the range XWD Aero, but just at the moment the usual outlets can do no better than that.

A car for the heart

As much as Raphael may love his Saabs, there are some great alternatives in what is a very competitive executive car market. Instead of paying £36,000, he could get a vehicle that is better than the Saab for less. Indeed, the new 9-5 has been criticised for offering an unsettled ride, a lack of refinement, poor seating (which for a Saab is an unbelievable break with tradition) and only average interior quality. Much better would be a Mercedes E-Class, which offers fabulous levels of comfort, refinement and safety. I would also recommend choosing the more economical diesel rather than a petrol engine. The E220 CDI BlueEfficiency, which will return 53.3mpg overall, will cost £28,880. Going through car brokers, it will be possible to save at least £2,000. I also believe that in five years' time, when Raphael wants to sell, he will get a far better return for the Mercedes compared to the Saab, which has always suffered from massive depreciation.

Looking to buy?

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at carchoice@independent.co.uk, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested and your budget.

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