Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI 177 SE
List price when new £29,595
Price today £14,000*
Available from 2007-2016
It’s stylish and surprisingly practical, and, thanks to its comfortable and classy interior, the Audi A5 Sportback is also a great car for anyone with regular long journeys.
List price when new £29,995
Price today £11,500*
Available from 2012-2014
If the advanced tech of the Chevrolet Volt fits into your lifestyle, you might find it to be a bit of a bargain, both to buy and to run.
Range Rover Evoque eD4 Pure 5dr
List price when new £27,955
Price today £17,000
Available from 2011-present
The stylish Range Rover Evoque is still an immensely popular car, but will its running costs rob it of victory here?
Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
There are many ways to stand out from the crowd these days, and those looking for a used car that’ll do just that have plenty to choose from. Here, we’ve brought together three very different five-year-old cars with three very different approaches and three very different images. All of them still stand out on the road, but which one will make the more attractive ownership proposition?
The Audi A5 Sportback is an executive hatchback that manages to embody all the good qualities we associate with the best Audis, while the Range Rover Evoque is an SUV still as eagerly sought as when it was first launched, thanks in no small part to its stylish looks. The Chevrolet Volt, in effect an identical car to the Vauxhall Ampera, is a range extender and utilises a small petrol engine to avoid the issue of range anxiety that plagues most electric cars.
Interestingly, each car cost roughly the same as the other one when new, at around £30,000. That one is now worth over 30% less than the most expensive adds yet another element to our test. After all, you might want to stand out from the crowd, but you don’t want to pay through the nose for it.
What are they like to drive?
The Audi is the most powerful car here, and the quickest. Get the engine spinning above 1700rpm and there’s a surge of power all the way to the redline. The A5 also has the most grip, the tightest body control and the sharpest steering.
However, its engine isn’t particularly refined, and you can hear the wind whistling around the frameless doors at motorway speeds. That’s disappointing, because the Audi is otherwise the best cruiser here. The suspension, which is a tad firm around town, keeps the car neatly balanced through fast, sweeping bends and during high-speed lane changes.
The Chevrolet is by no means embarrassed, though. Ultimately it’s slower, but not by much, and the immediacy of the power delivery and the fact that there are no gears to worry about makes it the easiest of the three to drive. Pick up the pace and it stays eerily quiet with only a faint whirr from the electric motor.
When the battery runs out of juice (after about 40 miles from a full charge), the Volt’s petrol engine generator kicks in to recharge the battery. The process is so smooth that you might not even notice; if you’re taking it easy, the only clue is a faded hum. The revs rise quickly if you need a sudden burst of acceleration, though.
The Volt isn’t as sharp to drive as the A5, but the steering is light and precise. It’s just a shame the suspension struggles over patchy road surfaces and that the low-hanging front bumper scrapes over speed bumps. The regenerative brakes also take some getting used to, because there isn’t much feel through the pedal.
For all its style and glamour, the Evoque isn’t particularly sparkling to drive. Its diesel engine provides adequate performance but nothing more, and there’s a fair amount of engine vibration through the cabin at low revs. That said, power delivery is smooth and linear above 1500rpm.
Body control is surprisingly good for such a high-sided car, but the Range Rover isn’t as nimble as the Chevrolet or Audi. Our biggest complaint, though, is the Evoque’s ride. It never really settles and only gets choppier as the speed increases; this is especially irritating on the motorway.
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