5 hidden gems when looking to buy a car

What makes a particular model of car popular? You might like to think that its all-round quality alone would be what predominantly drives (pun not intended) sales of that vehicle. Once it has hit showrooms, though, its sales figures can end up telling a very different story.

Sometimes, the badge adorning the chrome garners too much unwarranted snobbery, or the car is well-reviewed but another in the same category pips ahead in the critics’ reckoning. That can mean there are some seriously hidden gems out there on the used market, well worthy of being snapped up by eagle-eyed and savvy motorists. 

So with no further ado, here are just some of those ‘hidden gems’ among the most underrated cars on the UK market in the 2020s. 

Vauxhall Astra

The Astra was once a straightforward, go-to choice for many Brits looking for a new car, regularly scaling the upper echelons of the UK’s bestselling car charts, as Auto Express recalls. However, as more and more people became drawn towards SUVs, the Astra’s star faded. 

That’s a shame, because the Astra still compares impressively against traditional competitors like the Volkswagen Golf and Renault Megane – especially after, in 2019, it got a facelift and an all-new set of engines. 

BMW i8

Naturally, you don’t want any of your cars to crash – but when a car you are eyeing crashes in value, it’s a different situation. That’s what happened with the BMW i8, which was originally priced at £115,000 when new but, since then, has been available used for more like £45,000 in the case of older low-mileage examples, says Autocar.

As a premium plug-in hybrid, this petrol-electric sports car could make an especially shrewd choice for motorists who are conscientious about their financial spending and environmental impact. 

Peugeot 308 GTi

This small family car is worth considering if you are hankering for a ‘hot hatchback’ but the likes of the Honda Civic Type R look slightly too full-on for you. The GTi is somewhat more subtle in its nonetheless sumptuous design, letting you hit the road without drawing too much attention.

Once you are on the road with the GTi, though, you could certainly find your own attention grabbed by its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and limited-slip differential. 

Honda NSX

If you’re considering buying a supercar, there might only initially be one automotive brand on your mind: Ferrari. Unfortunately, though, such widespread loyalty to the Italian luxury automaker seems to have fed into the sales struggles of its Honda-made rival, the second-generation NSX. 

You shouldn’t be fooled – as, with its 573bhp and intelligent four-wheel-drive system, the NSX is well worth your attention. Still, given that the NSX can fetch almost £150,000 in price, you may want to think about buying a used model in order to shed a large chunk of that cost. 

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

This coupe and cabriolet occupies its own little niche between the larger BMW 8 Series and the smaller Audi A5, making the E-Class too easy for many people to unjustly overlook.

The “E” could easily stand for “excellent”, given how supple a ride the E-Class can provide on winding roads. There are many different versions of the E-Class, too, including AMG and diesel models – and you can fund an E-Class purchase by taking out car finance with zero deposit.


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