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Budget alternatives to expensive cars

By raccars Published

Range Rover

If you have your eye on expensive cars out of your budget, here are some affordable alternatives.

Financial or availability limitations prevent the majority of us from getting our hands on the exclusive and expensive cars of our dreams. However, in many cases there are more reasonably priced alternatives to fall back on.

Affordable alternatives to expensive cars

Range Rover Evoque Convertible and Land Rover Freelander Softback

The terminally fashionable Evoque just got even cooler as a convertible. However prices start at a wallet-stretching £47,500. The Land Rover Freelander Softback has a very different image and price tag. It isn't as modern and comfortable as the Evoque but is very capable, fairly rare and pleasingly retro.

Peugeot 205 GTI and Peugeot 205 XS

One of the all-time great hot hatches of the Eighties, the 205 GTI is becoming highly collectable and, as a result, increasingly expensive. Fortunately you can still get your hands on a more affordable XS, lower profile but equally willing and rather more affordable. Later models used the Citroen AX GT's smart little 1.4 litre engine.

VW Golf GTI and VW Jetta GTI 16V

British buyers have always loved a hatchback, which means the Jetta, essentially a saloon version of the more popular Golf, flew largely under the radar. As a result, it is far cheaper than the great Mk1 and Mk2 hatchbacks. Boy racers caught on so beware modified versions, but otherwise this is the cheapest way to get hold of a fine modern classic.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS400

The S-Class styles itself as the best car in the world, and there aren't many prepared to argue with it. But with prices starting at about £68,000, you'd expect something pretty spectacular. It is indeed an amazingly smooth, luxurious and comfortable car. On the other hand, Lexus has long made a habit of imitating the S-Class in the form of the LS400, a vastly cheaper luxury barge with a V8 engine, extreme reliability and plenty of ride comfort.

Lotus Elise and Vauxhall VX220

The Elise is a classic British sports car - lightweight, agile and fast. While it's a fabulously entertaining drive, £30,000 is a lot to pay for such a small and simple car. At first glance the Vauxhall VX220 looks very similar, and it was even built in the famous Hethel Lotus plant. It may lack badge prestige but it also costs about a third of the legendary Lotus on which it was based and is a great little drive.

Porsche Cayman and Subaru BRZ

The Cayman is surprisingly affordable for a Porsche and rivals the more expensive 911 for excellence. Prices start at £39,694 but adding a couple of options causes that to rise frighteningly quickly. But then it's an amazing car. The Subaru BRZ may not appeal to badge snobs but driving purists will love it. It's a wonderfully entertaining drive for a price tag of only £22,495. Bargain.

Audi R8 and Audi TT

The R8 is Audi's flagship model, a head turning, wallet squeezing and very rapid two seater coupe and roadster. However Audi also makes a very similar junior version called, of course, the TT. It's watered down somewhat but still a great car and good value too. Available from about £20,000.

Mercedes-Benz CLS and Volkswagen CC

The large Mercedes coupe is a relatively low profile model to wear the three pointed badge but is as superbly engineered as you would expect. As a bonus, you don't see too many of them around. Prices start at £46,500. However the same description could also apply to VW's large coupe, which costs from £25,445. This is when you have to ask yourself if you really do get what you pay for.

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