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Used Car of the Year Awards 2021: Executive cars
With demand for used cars on the rise, you’ll want to know which are the best buys. That’s where our annual Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite executive cars...
WINNER: Used Executive Car of the Year (plus best buy less than £14,000)
Audi A4 (2015-present)
There’s no shortage of executive saloon bargains in this price bracket – we could have picked the previous-generation BMW 3 Series, for example, or the current Mercedes C-Class – but neither of those cars is as well rounded as our winner. The Audi A4 is wonderfully refined, more so than the Skoda Superb, and it also offers reasonable running costs, a fantastic array of driver assistance technology and one of the highest-quality interiors you’ll find anywhere, all attributes that led us to name it as our Car of the Year when it was new.
At this price, you’ll have your pick of smooth petrol or frugal diesel-engined A4s, and our advice is to team the 2.0 TDI diesel engine with Sport trim. This gives you more supportive seats than SE trim and a far more comfortable ride than the range-topping S line models, with their lowered sports suspension.
That you can now buy a car as good as the A4 for such little money makes this one of 2021’s used car bargains and ultimately seals its victory over the more expensive 3 Series in our top price point.
Skoda Superb (2016-present)
Best buy less than £18,000
Skoda’s cavernous executive car can haul more luggage than anything else at this price point, and this money will secure a year-old example with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine that devours motorway miles while keeping running costs low. And, in SE Technology spec, it certainly won’t leave you wanting for kit.
BMW 3 Series (2019-present)
Best buy less than £25,000
Price point rivals such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE have as much badge appeal as the BMW 3 Series, but neither is as good to drive or as welcoming after a long day at the office. A year-old 320d Sport, with a punchy diesel engine, plenty of equipment and a smooth ride, slips under the £25k mark.