Luxe for less: dream cars for every budget

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26 Oct 2018 by smartleasing

Sometimes we want what we just can’t have. In an affair of the heart, taking a teaspoon of concrete and moving on is often our only solution.

In the car world, however, all isn’t necessarily lost. Financial realities might mean we’ll never possess that luxury-badged car we lust after, but it is possible to essentially tap into the same experience for less money. Occasionally, the mainstream gets it so right the only advantage of its luxury alternative might be what your neighbours think of the badge.

 

The dream – Mini Cooper hatch, from $29,900

The solution – Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo, from $22,990

This little Suzuki isn’t as visually arresting as the Mini or nearly as glammed-up inside. But its cheeky character, smile-raising driving qualities and punchy three-cylinder turbo engine have more than a touch of Mini about them. It also throws in the kind of standard safety technology the much more expensive entry-level Cooper can only dream of (or be optioned with).

 

The dream – BMW 1-Series, from $39,990

The solution – Volkswagen Golf, from $23,990

Luxury-badged small hatches such as the 1-Series are all well and fine but this Volkswagen’s drivetrains, driving qualities, technology and safety can all be mentioned in the same breath. Just ask corporate sibling Audi – its entrant, the A3, is basically the VW with different styling, cabin and price/engine/trim positioning. Not to mention a much higher starting price.

 

The dream – Mercedes-Benz C-Class, from $63,400

The solution – Mazda 6 Turbo, from $43,990

Buying into the compact executive sedan dream is a $60k-odd commitment. This Mazda, contrastingly, packs plenty of turbo muscle and lavish specification without ever broaching the $50k barrier. Slap a luxury badge and higher price on it and few would bat an eyelid about its style, quality cabin ambience or refined, sure-footed road manners.

 

The dream – Volvo XC40, from $47,990

The solution – Skoda Karoq, from $29,990

Skoda is part of the Volkswagen Group and leverages the same core underpinnings as its Audi and Volkswagen siblings. So it’s no surprise that this small SUV’s turbo petrol engine, road manners and safety offerings all have an upmarket vibe about them. Factor in its super-functional cabin – with removable back seats that turn it into a small van – and it might just be a smarter choice than luxury small SUVs that cost a lot more.

 

The dream – Audi Q7, from $97,800

The solution – Mazda CX-9, from $43,890

Ferrying seven about in large luxury SUV isn’t cheap – in the order of $100k if you want to do it in Audi’s finest. This Mazda comfortably exceeds the expectations of its price with slick, high-quality presentation that echoes its costlier German counterpart and a long list of standard kit and safety technology. Its cabin space, punchy turbo-petrol engine and faithful, refined road manners are nothing to be ashamed of, either.

 

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