Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 3 April

We can’t be serious? Relax, the Freelander 2 is a very different animal from the original – much more reliable and of a higher quality. That said, if you don’t get the tyre pressures absolutely right or you wear the tyres close to the limit, you can fool the system into engaging four-wheel drive. If that happens at speed, expect a large repair bill.

But that aside, the model is so capable and comfortable that some enthusiasts reckon it’s a kind of mini Range Rover. We’d not go that far but it’s certainly a jack of all trades, with a plush interior and off-roading chops.

We’d plump for a later, facelifted car, such as this 2013-reg 2.2 TD4 GS with 51,000 miles, full service history and leather interior. There was an earlier facelift in 2010, which brought a new grille, lights and bumpers, more torque for the 2.2 TD4 engine and the new, more powerful 2.2 SD4. The 2013 fettle followed this up with more styling tweaks, a new centre console and extra features.

A late Freelander 2 still looks good today. Run-out trims such as Metropolis and Dynamic are expensive but nice to have. The 2.2 TD4 engine was the big seller, offering a good balance of price, power and economy. The more powerful SD4 is automatic only.

In addition to the quality of the tyres, other things to check are that there are no oil stains around the intercooler and that the Haldex coupling has had its 20,000-mile fluid and filter changes. The drivetrain should be tight and judder-free; ditto, the steering. It’s more likely to have gone off road than most SUVs so check the body and underside for rust and scrapes.

Jaguar XF 4.2 SV8, £4495: Dating almost from the year of the XF’s launch, this 2008 XF is the rather special SV8, with 420bhp for 0-62mph in 5.1sec. The mileage is a stiff 124,000 but the car has a full service history and only two previous keepers in the log book.

Porsche Boxster 2.7, £24,995: The new six-cylinder 718 Boxster GTS costs £65,949 but how about the same number of cylinders for £40,000 less? That’s the deal with this 2015-reg 2.7 Boxster. It’s done 57,000 miles but it has full Porsche service history, so we’re not worried.

Advertisement

Audi A7 3.0 TFSI S line quattro, £13,250: The original A7, launched in 2010, is a fine looker and truly desirable. We fell for this 2011-reg 3.0 TFSI V6 S line S tronic quattro. It has done 79,000 miles and has a full Audi service history. New, it cost almost £50,000 but £13,000 has a far better ring to it.

BMW 520i, £2999: Here’s a beautiful 1993-reg BMW 520i with one previous owner and 23 stamps in the service book. It has done 118,000 miles so is just limbering up. If you want to go green, buy it and extract even more value from the CO2 emitted during its production.

Auction watch

Bentley Arnage Red Label: This 2001-reg Red Label (it’s powered by Rolls’ classic 6.75-litre V8 as opposed to earlier Green Label cars, which had BMW’s more efficient 4.4-litre turbo V8) made £15,900 at auction. That’s about on the money considering that the car had done 51,000 miles and had a solid service history. There was no mention of it being a Bentley or specialist history, though, which is a pity because cars like the Arnage benefit from knowledgeable care. It came direct from a car supermarket, too, which – call us snobs – doesn’t fill us with confidence. Still, what an eyeful.

Future classic

Advertisement

Renault Sport Spider 2.0, £22,995: Future classic? Surely, the super-rare 1996-99 Spider, the first to bear the Renault Sport name, is a classic right now, isn’t it? After all, there aren’t many cars quite as uncompromising. There’s a roof but it was optional, as was the windscreen. It’s a track-day car, really, but works on the road – just. Power comes from a 2.0-litre engine donated by the Clio Williams, producing 148bhp and mid-mounted. The car’s kerb weight is just 930kg. Our find is a 1997-reg with 22,000 miles for £22,995. Not bad for a classic, future or otherwise.

Clash of the Classifieds

Brief: Find me a top-handling car for £5000.

BMW 335i Coupé, £4750

Porsche Boxster 2.7 S £4989

Max Adams: We all want an E46-generation M3, but these are getting expensive now. So how about the next best thing, a 335i? You get similar levels of power and performance – 306bhp, 5.5sec 0-60mph and 155mph top speed – just in a more subtle and less expensive package.

Mark Pearson: Yes, you see yours is all very well but isn’t its engine in the wrong place for top-notch handling fun? It’s all about balance, and my mid-engined Boxster’s a fluid delight on a twisty road, and the aural and sensual pleasures can be heightened by lowering the roof. My 2004 appreciating classic is also a low-mileage bargain.

MA: A Boxster is an under-appreciated car, but that’s because of examples like yours with a Tiptronic automatic gearbox that ruins acceleration times. Hardly the ultimate driving machine.

MP: Nonsense. Dispensing with the anachronism that is a clutch pedal allows you to concentrate on driving fast. Indeed, so awful is the ancient manual ’box in your 2007 BMW that you’ll probably want to stop driving it after a few miles…

Advertisement

MA: I’ll only be stopping to allow you to catch up. Plus, the 335i was regarded as being a bit of a performance bargain when new, and mine’s still cheaper than your Boxster is today.

MP: Meh. Verdict: That Boxster boxes clever. I’ll take it.