If you want the cachet, then a third-generation Range Rover will deliver that to your door, wherever you live
If you want the cachet, then a third-generation Range Rover will deliver that to your door, wherever you live

Five best cars for under £10,000: From the Porsche Cayman and Range Rover to the Mazda MX-5

Each car has, in its own way, been the best in its market sector, whether that’s luxury limo, sports car or whatever

Graham Scott
Monday 16 May 2016 22:56
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We’ve chosen our top five cars that you could buy for a budget of £10,000 each. Each car has, in its own way, been the best in its market sector, whether that’s luxury limo, sports car or whatever.

Getting the best for £10k sounds like a bargain. Here they are:

1: Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2006-2013)

This really is the last word in luxury limousine motoring. It’s a wonderful car to be driven in, but it’s equally wonderful to drive. Performance, handling, refinement, equipment and safety equipment are all world-class.

There’s a wide range to choose from too, from an S 320 CDI which gives you a 3.0-litre diesel and 34mpg, or the considerably less restrained S 600 with a 5.5-litre V12 whooshing out 517bhp. We found a 2007 car that came into our budget. Just don’t drive it in a T-shirt.

2: Porsche Cayman (2006-2012)

Many would argue that this is the ultimate Porsche. Performance, handling, steering, grip, sound, quality – whatever you can think of, the Cayman has it in spades. It’s a wondrous experience on the road, and you should be able to buy with some confidence if there’s a full service history as build quality was equally excellent.

For your budget you could have a ten-year-old version of the 2.7-litre flat six, with 245bhp which can hit 62mph in under six seconds on the way to 160mph. The Cayman S is even faster but doesn’t cost a lot more.

3: Range Rover (2002-2013)

If you want the cachet, then a third-generation Range Rover will deliver that to your door, wherever you live

If you want the cachet, then a third-generation Range Rover will deliver that to your door, wherever you live. It looks perfectly at home in Sloane Square, yet it can also traverse a farmer’s field like few even tougher-looking 4x4s.

Handling can be a bit wayward if you forget what a heavy and high machine you’re in, and build quality is very much a work in progress. But for most of the time, and for most examples, you’ll find yourself gliding alone in a serene and happy manner, glorying at what £10k can buy you. In this case, a ten-year-old 3.0-litre V6 Vogue SE, the diesel giving 174bhp to all four wheels.

4: Volkswagen Golf GTI (2009-2012)

In this group you’re seeing the top limousine, the top SUV and so on, but if you want something that is the most accomplished all-rounder on the market, then you’re looking at it right here. You can chuck it around, slide it about, hack on and generally play the loon, and then you can take it to do the weekly shopping, and potter home in traffic.

Comfortable, practical and stylish, there really isn’t a car that can provide so much in one competent package. For our budget we’re looking at a Mk6 version, so about six years old. That will get you a 2.0-litre turbo engine, with 208bhp, enough for a 6.7sec 0-62mph and a 140mph top end. This includes either a three- or five-door and either manual or DSG auto transmission.

5: Mazda MX-5 (2006-2015)

If you’re in need of a big muscle for your ego, look elsewhere. But if you want a small package that really is a lot of unburstable fun, then stop looking. There have been four marks of MX-5 and they’re all a hoot. Handling is sharp, so is the steering, and there are few ways to get such a fun drive for your money, particularly with the roof down.

For our money we can have a Mk3, about four years old. That’ll get you a 2.0-litre engine with 158bhp, more than enough to ensure you just enjoy yourself every time you drive it.

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