Style doesn’t have to cost a fortune and, to prove it, we’ve set ourselves a price limit of £5000 and picked 10 of our favourite coupés
*** Note : £1 = $1.32 (correct at time of post)
There’s something deeply attractive about a coupé. Maybe it’s because it signals to the world that the owner is free from the shackles of practicality – no stuffy four-door saloon or stifling SUV for them – and is keen to make a good impression. Coupés can cost a lot of money, of course, but buying used means you can have all the style and glamour for a fraction of the cost. Here, we’ve picked 10 of our favourites, each of which should set you back less than £5000.
Best used coupés for less than £5000
10. Hyundai Coupé
Squint a little and the Hyundai Coupé could almost be one of those 1990s front-engined Ferraris, all shark-like design and the promise of easy performance. In reality, it’s attractive rather than stunning, and it drives well rather than superbly. Don’t worry, it’s pleasant to punt along, though, with its accurate steering and decent interior. Even the ride is pretty good, although it can still jar around town. That said, it’s not all good news. The engine is only just powerful enough and it feels sufficiently coarse to be unpleasant on the ear at high revs.
It was well made, though, which makes used examples a tempting proposition, especially at this price level. £5000 buys you a good-condition 2009 car from the end of the model’s run.
We found 2.0, 2009 (09), 26,000 miles, full service history, £5000
9. Renault Laguna Coupé
If you were cynical, you could say the Laguna Coupé, in common with a lot of other coupés, is no more than the saloon or hatchback version of the Laguna with a more attractive body on top. This is true, but style is a large part of the appeal here and the Laguna Coupé scores not only by looking different from its siblings but also from just about anything else on the road. It drives well, has a comfortable interior and the GT model even has four-wheel steering. Furthermore, a 2011 car is barely run-in, so it’s worth more than a casual look.
We found 2.0 dCi Dynamique, 2011 (11), 79,000 miles, full service history, £5000
8. Alfa Romeo GT
Now, if you’re talking style, then the Alfa badge takes some beating. Trouble is, for a long time Alfa had the wrong reputation, with a legendary fragility and cars that were distinctly below par to drive. The GT was a much more likeable car, though. Dynamically, it wasn’t up there with a 3 Series, but it still offered a fine mix of style, performance, practicality and, crucially, enough chassis competence to make it a valid choice. Now, such racing heritage and charm can be yours for peanuts. Worth the risk, we think.
We found 2.0 JTS, 2007 (07), Full service history, 46,000 miles, £4995
7. Nissan 350Z
Big, butch and bold, the 350Z has all the subtlety of a Blackpool hen night and the looks of a shrink-wrapped American muscle car. With a 3.5-litre V6 engine driving the rear wheels and a six-speed manual gearbox, this is one mean-looking coupé, but it’ll sprint from 0-60mph in 5.9sec and max out at 155mph. The engine delivers great acceleration and plenty of grunt. It grips, too, but the 350Z isn’t quite as nimble as many rivals, plus it’s strictly a two-seater. Not for the faint-hearted, but a lot of performance for the money.
We found 3.5 V6, 2007 (56), 84,000 miles, full service history, £4995
6. Mercedes-Benz CLK
It’s a good, solid car, the CLK. It drives well, rides well, looks good and there’s a reasonable amount of space for a coupé. What it won’t do is rock your world, as it’s not a particularly sporty or invigorating car, even with the most powerful of its engine options. Think of it instead as well equipped and stylish, with its pillarless doors and sleek shape giving the CLS an air of quality that, all things considered, seems remarkably good value at this price level.
We found CLK 200, 1.8 Avantgarde, 2007 (57), 68,000 miles, service history, £5000
5. Volvo C30
There are some who question whether the handsome C30 is actually a coupé at all, but its swervy body and low-slung looks are like no other contemporary Volvo and it’s surely the most eye-pleasing one since the magical P1800ES of the 1970s or the intriguing 480ES of the 1980s. Underneath its appealing body is a fairly conventional choice of petrol and diesel units – if you can seek out the 230bhp 2.3-litre inline five-cylinder version, you’ll even get sparkling performance to match the looks.
We found 2.0 D R-Design, 2010 (60), 87,000 miles, service history, £5000
4. Toyota Celica
Good news – the Celica drives as well as it looks, and it looks very good indeed. You sit in a suitably sporting low driving position and, in traffic, Toyota’s typically light controls make it easy to get around. Then, on the open road, you can enjoy the crisp steering, slick gearchange and sharp handling. It’s well built, reliable, economical and fun. Our money buys one of the later ones and, as an additional bonus, there’s already a whiff of the appreciating asset about this appealing car.
We found 1.8 VVT L-i T Sport, 2005 (55), 50,000 miles, service history, £4999
3. Audi TT
A great car that would have finished even higher if £5000 could buy a decent second-generation example – alas, you’ll need just a fraction more for that. This first-gen TT is still a peach, though, even for a 2005 example. There’s a healthy choice of engines and the TT drives almost as well as it looks, with good performance from even the least powerful versions. Most have four-wheel drive – and excellent traction as a result – while the firm suspension gives sharp handling. Howevr, the low-speed ride can be rather firm. Unbeatable, unimpeachable and quite delicious.
We found 1.8T, 2005 (55), 75,000 miles, full service history, £4995
2. Honda CR-Z
Here’s a wonderful oddity. Underneath its sleek and rather charming body, the CR-Z is a petrol-electric hybrid, but don’t let that put you off. Thanks to its compact size and involving handling, the CR-Z is tremendous fun to hussle down a country lane. Inside is a swoopy interior and a low-slung driving position, and hybrid of course means good fuel economy. Add in the usual Honda top-notch reliability and this nimble CR-Z begins to look like a bit of a bargain.
We found 1.5, 2011 (60), 54,000 miles, full service history, £4995
1. BMW 3 Series Coupé
It might not come as a huge surprise to see a 3 Series at the top of any list, but this one really deserves its place. What you’re getting for your £5000 outlay is a truly classy coupé. It takes the tried and tested formula of the excellent 3 Series saloon and gives it a sportier twist. The result is a car that’s relatively spacious and available with a wide range of engines, as well as being stunning to drive, with sharp steering, strong grip and great balance while cornering. The ride is on the firm side, but that’s a small price to pay for such dependability and solidity.
We found 320i SE, 2008 (08), 81,000 miles, service history, £5000
And the coupé to avoid… – Mazda RX-8
Make no mistake, this is a fine car. It’s good to drive, great to look at and even, by virtue of having four doors, quite practical. Alas, its wonderful rotary engine needs very careful maintenance if it’s to last a reasonable time and, for most, the risk is too big to take.