DRIVING’S Top 100 Cars 2014 is a great place to start if you’re looking for impartial car buying advice and want to fast-track yourself to the best new cars on sale today.
It can be equally helpful for used-car buyers because nearly all the top choices in the 10 categories of vehicle are available second-hand.
If you demand the best car but don’t want to pay top whack, let Driving steer you to great used examples of the Top 100 Cars 2014.
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner 4x4s: Land Rover Range Rover Sport
- Launched: 2013
- Price new: from £61,250
- Price used: from around £59,000
Big, brash 4x4s are not everyone’s cup of earl grey, but those that do like them invariably want the biggest, brashest and newest there is to tower over other road users. That is the Range Rover Sport, and because it went on sale only last year, most of the used examples are still gleaming new, rather than caked up to their axles in mud.
If you can’t face the six-month-plus waiting list for a new model, an approved used Range Rover Sport starts at around £59,000.
Found on driving.co.uk: Range Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 HSE 5dr Auto
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner Electric Cars & Hybrids: Tesla Model S
- Launched: 2014 (UK)
- Price new: from £50,280
- Price used: good luck finding one
What’s that? You’d like a used Tesla Model S? Sorry. At the time of writing, there appeared to be only one for sale, at a premium price of almost £97,000. Drivers who want one now are better off buying new direct from Tesla via its website.
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner Supercars: Ferrari F12berlinetta
- Launched: 2012
- Price new: from £240,083
- Price used: from £208,000
So, Ferrari’s F12 has you hypnotised like a cobra? Well, the good news is that although this is one of the most accomplished supercars yet from the Italian company, it’s susceptible to depreciation. A 2013 model starts at about £208,000, which is more than £30,000 cheaper than a new model, with less than 10,000 miles on the clock.
Remember that, when new, all Ferraris come with a four-year warranty and seven years’ free servicing. As if you needed persuading …
Found on driving.co.uk: Ferrari F12Berlinetta
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner City Cars: Volkswagen Up!
- Launched: 2012
- Price new: from £8,635
- Price used: from £5,700
If you thought the Volkswagen Up! was cheap and cheerful new, wait until you see the price of second-hand cars. Approved used models from official Volkswagen dealers cost as little as £5,700. They’re typically two years old and have covered no more than 20,000 miles, and they come with a year’s warranty from VW.
Found on driving.co.uk: Volkswagen Up! 1.0 Take Up! 3dr
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner Sports Cars & Convertibles: Porsche Boxster (981)
- Launched: 2012
- Price new: from £38,810
- Price used: from £35,000
The Boxster’s appeal – that it is the cheapest Porsche yet the best to drive – applies equally to used examples. The current model (known as the 981 series) went on sale in 2012, and the earliest, 2.7-litre cars are available for about £35,000 at a Porsche centre with a two-year warranty and less than 20,000 miles on the clock. Most drivers will find it’s all they need. But we wouldn’t blame you for spending a little more and seeking out the 3.4-litre S.
Found on driving.co.uk: Porsche Boxster 2.7 PDK
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner Family Cars & Estates: BMW 5-series (F10/F11)
- Launched: 2010
- Price new: from £30,265
- Price used: from £13,500
The 5-series may well have won Driving’s Family Cars & Estates category in this year’s Top 100 Cars, but not all families want to spend over £30,000 on a new BMW. No matter: the earliest examples of the current model cost start under £14,000. Stretch to £15,000 and you can buy a low-mileage 520d saloon from a BMW dealer with a year’s warranty. It’s probably all the car you’ll need.
Found on driving.co.uk: BMW 520d SE
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner Superminis: Mini Cooper
- Launched: 2014
- Price new: from £13,750
- Price used: from £13,750
The latest, third-generation Mini is still fresh on the forecourt, so you won’t find a cut-price used one. However, the One, Cooper (petrol and diesel versions) and Cooper S are all available, with the only advantage over a new model being that buyers could drive away in one today if they wanted.
Found on driving.co.uk: Mini Hatch 1.2 One
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner Executive & Prestige: Mercedes S-class
- Launched: 2014
- Price new: from £66,910
- Price used: from £56,000
You can comfortably knock £10,000 off the cost of the best luxury saloon in the world by buying used. The latest S-class (known to its manufacturer as W222) is a technological tour de force, yet even all the gadgets and gizmos can’t stop it falling in value as it ages. A 2013 S 350 BluTec diesel SE can be bought for £56,000 from a Mercedes dealer; it comes with a warranty should any of those gadgets or gizmos go wrong.
Found on driving.co.uk: Mercedes S350l BlueTec SE Line auto
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner Hot Hatches: Volkswagen Golf R
- Launched: 2014
- Price new: from £29,000
- Price used: from £29,900
The Volkswagen Golf R has finally come good. It’s taken four attempts, but practice makes perfect and the R version of the Golf really is as fine as a hot hatch gets.
There is a snag if you want to save money by buying used, however. It’s so new that it’s in short supply on the second-hand market, which is keeping prices of used models as high as those of new cars. Still, you could jump the queue for a new car and drive away in a low-mileage model with more than two years’ warranty remaining.
Found on driving.co.uk: Volkswagen Golf R
Top 100 Cars 2014 winner MPVs: Citroën C4 Grand Picasso
- Launched: late 2013
- Price new: from £19,460
- Price used: from £16,000
Families must be smitten with the latest C4 Grand Picasso. It went on sale nearly a year ago but used examples are still scarce. The lowest-priced used example Driving found available from approved Citroën dealers cost £16,000 – for a 1.6 e-HDi Airdream.
Top 100 Cars 2014 sections
- Introduction by Jeremy Clarkson
- Top 10 4x4s & SUVs
- Top 10 Electric Cars & Hybrids
- Top 10 Supercars
- Top 10 City Cars
- Top 10 Sports Cars & Convertibles
- Top 10 Family Cars & Estates
- Top 10 Superminis
- Top 10 Executive & Prestige
- Top 10 Hot Hatches & Coupés
- Top 10 MPVs
- Driving.co.uk exclusive: Vote for your favourite of Top 100 Cars 2014
- Driving.co.uk exclusive: Used alternatives to the winning cars
Top 100 Cars 2014: the fine print
Top 100 Cars is compiled by Andrew Frankel, Joseph Dunn, Dominic Tobin and James Mills. Prices are correct at the time of going to press; fuel-economy figures are for the combined urban and extra-urban cycle (source: Newspress); electric-car prices quoted include government grants where applicable.