BMW 3 Series

Best used saloon cars

The best used saloon cars give you practicality, an enjoyable drive and sleek styling. These are our 10 favourites.

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By Cazoo editorial team

Saloon cars (where the boot is separate from the main passenger area) might not be as fashionable as they once were but they’re still hugely popular and offer something to suit most needs. Whether you go for a compact, cost-effective model or something more sporty or even luxurious, a saloon car can offer all the space you need along with a more enjoyable drive and sleeker styling than many other types of car.

But with such a wide variety to choose from, which should you consider? Here’s our pick of the best.

1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The Mercedes C-Class gives you all the elegance, quality and comfort you expect from the brand in a saloon that’s compact yet practical, and which can be very cost-effective.

The interior is a big attraction. It looks and feels smarter than the interiors of many rivals, with lots of high-tech features and a sense of real craftsmanship throughout. The C-Class is beautifully designed on the outside, too, with flowing lines that echo the shapes of  larger and more expensive Mercedes-Benz saloons.

There’s a good spread of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, all of which are surprisingly efficient. You could also opt for plug-in hybrid versions that are capable of up to 34 miles of electric-only driving, depending on the model.

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2. BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series has a reputation for being one of the most enjoyable cars to drive. The latest version (launched in 2019) more than lives up to that thanks to its exceptional balance and the sense of connection to the road it gives you when driving.

You also get the feeling of quality that is synonymous with the 3 Series, plus the very latest tech. This includes a beautifully designed and easy-to-use infotainment system and ‘active’ safety features that can help you avoid a collision. The interior is as comfortable as it is attractive. There’s lots of space for four adults and you get a boot that’s bigger than a Nissan Qashqai’s.

Every engine gives you enough power for effortless overtaking or joining the motorway, but if you fancy something a bit faster there’s a wide range of high-performance versions to choose from. If low running costs are a priority, you have the option of a plug-in hybrid that can complete short journeys on electric power alone.

3. Audi A3 Saloon

Most people think of the Audi A3 as a classy family hatchback, but it’s also available as this excellent saloon version. Because it shares its interior – one of the car’s finest attributes – with the hatchback, it feels like a true premium product.

The A3’s compact dimensions make it an ideal choice if you want all the key benefits of an upmarket saloon in something a little smaller and more cost-effective. Compared with Audi’s larger A4 saloon, the A3 is equally stylish inside and out with pretty much the same choice of engines and features but with lower buying and running costs. The A3 is great to drive, too, with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines and the option of four-wheel drive.

While an all-new A3 Saloon was launched in 2020, our choice is the previous model, which is better value as a used buy.

Read our Audi A3 review

4. Volkswagen Passat

The Volkswagen Passat is a consummate all-rounder. It’s practical and comfortable, plus you get loads of space inside along with a massive boot. Yet it also feels like a high-quality product thanks to sharp design and the top-quality materials used for the interior.

The Passat is effortless to drive and really excels on the motorway. It’s quiet and smooth - ideal for covering lots of miles without fuss. And because the majority of Passats come with diesel engines, they combine good overtaking power with remarkable fuel-efficiency.

5. Mazda 6

You might not think of Mazda as a premium carmaker like BMW or Audi, but on the strength of the Mazda 6 it probably deserves to be in that category.

This svelte saloon isn’t just good-looking on the outside. On the inside, it has expensive-looking materials and finely crafted details that make it feel far more upmarket than you’d expect. Drive the 6 and you’ll discover it has substances as well as style. It’s good fun, feels almost like a sports car at times, yet still performs the role of comfortable family car.

While the 6 isn’t as inexpensive as some rivals it comes better equipped than most. Even the most affordable versions have lots of standard features, including sat nav, front and rear parking sensors and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

6. Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeos have always been about the passion and thrill of driving and the stylish Giulia is no different. If you want a saloon that’s fun to drive, there are few better choices than a Giulia. Top of the range is the exciting and Ferrari-fast GTA, but you don’t have to go that far to get a Giulia you’ll enjoy driving.

The Giulia is more than just fun, though: This is a proper executive saloon with all the equipment you’d expect of a premium car, including automatic headlights and wipers and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

7. BMW 7 Series

If you’re after a large, limousine-like saloon that’s also fun to drive, a BMW 7 Series is an excellent choice.

If you’re in the driving seat, you’ll love its powerful engines and its remarkably agile feel for such a big car. Move to the back seats and you can stretch out in comfort, on supportive seats with loads of legroom. As BMW’s most expensive saloon, it’s no surprise that the 7 Series comes with lots of high-tech gadgets, including electric seat and steering wheel adjustment and the option of ‘gesture control’ that means you just wave your hand in front of the swish infotainment system to access or change functions.

And with its imposing looks, whether you’re heading to a red-carpet event or an important business meeting, the 7 Series will undoubtedly impress.

Read our BMW 7 Series review

8. Volvo S60

The Volvo S60 saloon is an appealing alternative to premium rivals such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.

It’s a great-looking car, for a start, with a distinctive and pleasantly restrained look inside and out. The minimalist interior design is especially unusual and it combines with extremely comfortable seats and a large, easy-to-use touchscreen to make even most long journeys a low-stress experience.

The S60 is also one of the safest saloons out there, with cutting-edge technology designed to help you prevent an accident in the first place, or to reduce the damage if a collision is unavoidable. As well as strong petrol and diesel engines, you have the option of powerful plug-in hybrid versions that give you excellent mpg and the ability to drive emission-free for 30 miles or so using purely electric power.

9. Jaguar XF

As a good-looking luxury saloon with a slightly sporty feel, the Jaguar XF is very much what Jaguar does best. And while it’s stylish on the outside, the interior matches that with attractive and luxurious finishes and materials. There’s a huge amount of headroom and legroom for four adults and the boot is huge.

But what makes the XF stand out is how well it drives. It combines a sporty feel that makes twisty roads fun with an ability to smooth out bumpy roads –no other big saloon does that quite so well. The choice of engines isn’t as wide as with rival Audi or BMW models, but there’s still a variety that includes some very efficient diesels and some very powerful petrols. Every XF is packed full of features, including electric front seat adjustment, leather trim and front and rear parking sensors.

10. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes E-Class benefits from one of the most beautiful interiors in the business, with flowing lines, attractive wood or metal detailing and, in most versions, a pair of huge digital dashboard displays that give it an impressively high-tech look. It’s also one of the most spacious, with loads of room in the back seats and a huge boot.

The E-Class is also one of the most comfortable saloons, with a smooth ride and supportive seats that make it a fabulous way to cover long distances. There’s a wide variety of models to choose from, so whether you want something fuel-efficient or fast there’s an E-Class for you. If you want something in between, the plug-in hybrid versions are well worth a look since they give you lots of power but lower emissions and fuel consumption.

Read our Mercedes-Benz E-Class review

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