The best of the group are comfortable cruisers, entertaining on B-roads and pure driving pleasure. They carry up to five adults – and their entire luggage – in comfort and have a first-class image. That’s a lot to ask of a car under 5000 pounds – but we have found 10 candidates.
Are you looking for a high-class limousine or a large hatchback that is both soothing and stimulating?
Our top executive limousines and large hatches that won’t break the bank
The Volvo S40 exec based on Ford Focus is not big, so the rear feels a bit cramped, but it is still a smart, fun to drive and safe little sedan. The 2.0 liter diesel is known for its reliability, and the T5 makes up for its thirst with great performance and noise.
We found the following: 2008 D3 SE Lux, 90,000 miles, full service history, £3970
We found: 2.2 HDi Exclusive, 69,000 miles, full service history, £479
This executive sedan lacks the hallmark of its German rivals, but the Citroën C5 is still big on the inside, comfortable – especially on the Exclusive’s oil-based suspension – and well built. Its undulating handling is better suited for highway travel than for fast cornering, and the buttoned dashboard is rather confusing, yet we love its high spec feel.
The Toyota Avensis shakes off its safe but bad image, with an impressive reliability record, great levels of equipment and – thanks to its soft suspension – a pleasant if unexciting driving experience. A more comfortable and reliable model than its Lexus IS cousin.
We found: 2.0 D-4D TR, 82,000 miles, full service, £4890
We found: 2007 2.0 TDI SE, 79,000 miles, full service, £4995
The Audi A4 is one of the most sought-after models in its class and is characterized by its responsive handling, neat design and high-quality cabin. Most of its great gasoline and diesel engines are also impressively efficient. The only things that count are the solid ride and high used prices.