Last chance saloon

Ford Mondeo Sport rear

THESE days the bread and butter saloon is about as cool as David Brent.

The once mass-market, traditional repmobile is slowly vanishing to be replaced by crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai or smaller MPVs like the Renault Scenic or Mercedes B-Class.

After all, why would you buy a Mondeo when the S-MAX offers you so much more, including brilliant driving dynamics?

In truth, this is not such a bad thing - the newer cars are far more commodious, more efficient and generally better configured than the century old three box design. Progress is progress after all.

The old-school saloon does offer a couple of advantages though.

Firstly, in an accident the cabin is not full of stuff from the boot flying through the cabin, and secondly - the proliferation of hipper alternatives has made the saloon cheap, very cheap, as the following three selections from UsedCarExpert prove.

The gold standard mass-market car that the others are judged by. Vauxhall prices and BMW dynamics combined. Buyers will opt for the cooler S-MAX and while, in truth, they will be getting a better car, they will also be paying a massive premium. Especially if the Mondeo has a petrol engine.

A well looked after 2009, 2.0 petrol Mondeo in silver with a full service history and less than 50,000 miles on the clock is available for £6,695. Consider that the cheapest comparable diesel S-MAX will be £10,000 and will have covered a high 80,000 miles and you can see where the smart money would go.

If you can get past the looks the 407 is a good, solid car. Incredible handling and grip, great engines and a quality cabin make this oft-overlooked French saloon a bit of a hidden gem. The amount of SW (estate) versions you see used as cabs seems to auger well for reliability and they are cheap to run and insure. A petrol 407 is a rare and deeply unfashionable car. Amazing bargains are to be had.

A 2011, 2.0 petrol auto with a lowly 4,000 miles on the clock and a full service history can by had for a very low £9,995. That's a luxury model, with two years warranty left. Serious value for the canny buyer, especially when you consider that a comparable diesel model of the 4007 crossover will cost twice as much and will have done four times the miles¦

The C5 is Citroen's attempt to out-Audi Audi and in many ways it succeeds. It's far form the last word in driving dynamics but majors on the traditional Citroen strengths of comfort and accommodation. Very well built too.

A 2009 1.8 Petrol in VTR+ spec with less than 25,000 miles on the clock and a full service history can be found retailing at £8,500. Compare that to a similar diesel spec version of the C4 Grand Picasso MPV and you will be picking up a car that's done three times the miles.

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