| BUYERS GUIDE
USED LUXURY VS NEW MID-SPEC
Hunt around for a top-shelf used 4WD
If you shop around the used vehicle sites you’ll find that it's possible to pick up a pre-loved luxury 4WD wagon for the same money you’d shell out for a new base or mid-spec machine.
OK, so you’re about to take the plunge into a 4WD purchase and you’ve worked out your budget. One way to maximise the bang for your buck is to hunt around for a top-shelf used 4WD, rather than settle for less equipment in a brand new machine.
A used vehicle can be a much better value for money proposition than a brand new machine if you intend to make a bush-touring 4WD out of it, because you won’t fret when you pick up a scratch or two in the scrub. The money you save can be spent on bush essentials.
Some ‘Luxury’ Isn’t
Vehicle makers are getting more desperate in their search for items that lift their luxury models above the heads of the hoi polloi, because the equipment list in basic vehicles has lengthened dramatically in recent years.
It’s quite normal these days to find a mid-spec’ 4WD that comes with an electronically controlled automatic transmission, ABS/EBD brakes with emergency brake assistance, multiple airbags, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, climate-controlled air conditioning, Bluetooth phone connection, remote central locking, traction control and stability control. These features used to be reserved for the luxury end.
To justify the price difference between base, mid and top shelf vehicles, 4WD makers add ‘fruit’ in increasing quantities. Favourite add-ons are leather interiors, powered ‘memory’ and heated seats, higher-quality sound systems, sunroofs, colour-keyed body trim panels, roof rails, flash wheels, super-low profile tyres, DVD kits, navigation systems, reversing cameras, parking assistance sensors, headlight washers and auto-dipping rear vision mirrors.
Some of this stuff is very expensive to buy in the after-market – powered, heated memory front seats, for example - while other items are very expensive to install – a sunroof, for instance. So, it’s probably uneconomic to try to fit these luxury items into a base or mid-spec’ vehicle.
The first owner has done you the favour of copping depreciation when he traded in his top-shelf machine, so if the embellishments in a top-shelfer are important to you, go for them. Live it up, and save money in the process.
Our testing of factory-fitted and after-market navigation systems shows that even the cheapest over-the-counter nav systems are at least as good as the
factory-fitted ones and some of them are considerably better. Even cheaper are navigation apps for mobile phones.
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