What Car? has crowned the Volkswagen Passat the Used Car of the Year for 2009. A three-year-old Passat 1.9 TDI S costs a very tempting 7000 and was praised by the judges for its classy image, drivability and reliability.
Used car buyers seeking the best green option should track down the celebs favourite, the Toyota Prius, which took What Car?s used green car award. With an official average fuel consumption of 65.7mpg and road tax bills of just 35 a year, its ideal for motorists who want to help save the planet and save money on fuel.
Another hybrid won the title of best SUV: the Lexus RX400h is a 4x4 that runs on both petrol and electric power to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. A 2005 model now costs around 18,000 - less than half its price when new.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI 5dr was voted the best used sports car, while Vauxhall took two trophies: best used estate car for the Vectra, and best used MPV for the Zafira a winner for the third year on the trot.
What Car?s used car editor, Matt Sanger, said: Its a strange time in the used car market, with prices still on the increase in some cases up 30% year-on-year.
'Higher prices and limited availability of some cars had a huge effect on our judging, but our winners are all cars that are readily available and still represent great value.
The used car market
• Six million used cars are expected to be sold this year in the UK
• Used car sales outnumber new car sales three to one
• The average used car costs just over 6000, is 39 months old and has covered 50,000 miles
How we chose our favourite used cars
Judges in the eight-strong What Car? Used Car of the Year panel were picked from all areas of the motor industry, including car dealerships, British Car Auctions, Warranty Direct and experts from What Car?
As well as selecting the overall Used Car of The Year, the judges also picked winners and runners-up in eight categories, looking at running costs, reliability, drivability, quality, longevity and desirability.
What Car?'s top used cars
Small family car
Nissan Note 1.4 SE
Ford Focus 1.6 (113) Zetec Climate 5dr
Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDI S
Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 Club (A/C)
Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 Life
Lexus RX400h SE
BMW 520d SE
Volkswagen Golf GTI 5dr
Toyota Prius 1.5 T3 Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDI S**Year/plate
'06/06 Av cost