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First, the good news. For the majority of the cars we looked at, the UK's pre-tax prices compare favourably with the rest of Europe's. In fact, in many cases we pay thousands less - we wouldn't want to buy in the Czech Republic, Poland or Slovakia, for example.

The Land Rover Freelander, for instance, was cheaper in Denmark alone, and by just 125. It's 5809 more expensive in the Czech Republic.

Two countries were cheaper for the Ford Mondeo - Denmark, again, by 721, and Greece, by 1231. We wouldn't be tempted to import for this saving: apart from the language divide, the extra distance would raise transport costs.

Motorists in the UK usually pay less for the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes S-Class, Renault Clio and Vauxhall Zafira.

It's about even if you want a Peugeot 207, however, while the Mazda MX-5 is cheaper in 10 of the 18 EU countries we compared, with Denmark posting the biggest saving: 1825.

Then we come to the UK's best-selling model, the Ford Focus: it's cheaper in 13 countries. Savings ranged from an insignificant 260 in Germany, to 2811 in Denmark.

Eight of the savings are worth more than 1000; Finland, Hungary and Slovenia join Denmark in offering savings worth more than 2000.

Only four countries have higher pre-tax Focus prices than we do - France (by just 0.63%), Austria (3.87%), Poland (7.3%) and the Czech Republic (9.43%).