Buyers' Guide: 4 affordable cars once fit for royalty
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This weekend we celebrate Queen’s Birthday, and to mark the occasion we searched around to find some older luxury cars for sale that once could have been fit for royalty.
These are still great cars, incorporating safety features and technology that were cutting-edge when they first rolled off the production line.
1. Range Rover Vogue
Typically favoured by royals and considered today by many as the ultimate luxury SUV due to its build quality and vast list of customisable options, Land Rover has been building Range Rovers since 1970.
Previously designed as more of a utility vehicle, Land Rover decided to move more towards the luxury car market with Range Rovers built from 2002.
A new Range Rover can set you back over $250,000, but we found several models manufactured between 2002 and 2005 for $10,000 to $18,000.
Included as standard in the cars we found is an advanced four-wheel independent air suspension system, and many feature what were considered luxury options at the time, such as a rear-view parking camera, memory power seats, a premium sound system and satellite navigation.
They also feature Hill Descent Control for when you take it off-road, as well as Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), side airbags and side curtains to protect your head in a crash.
2. Jaguar X-Type
Car manufacturers don’t get much more British than Jaguar, and the X-Type model still looks prestigious, with its distinct features, detailed leatherwork and wooden-look interior.
Designed to compete against Audi’s A4 and BMW’s popular 3-series, the X-Type was available with various V6 petrol engines, as well as diesel variants until it ended production in 2009. In 2015, the Queen was pictured driving a 2009 X-Type Sportwagon.
The Jaguar X-Type has a five-star Used Car Safety Rating, and dozens of examples are available on the used car market for between $5000 and $10,000.
3. BMW 7 Series
The fourth-generation BMW 7 Series was manufactured between 2001 and 2008, and was considered one of the most luxurious modern cars in the world at the time of its release.
It was the first car to include BMW’s renowned iDrive system, rear-wheel steering and all-wheel drive (xDrive).
The 7 Series was revolutionary for its time, being the first sedan with a 6-speed gearbox and the first car to feature an electric parking brake.
Models released between the end of 2005 and 2008 featured BMW Night Vision, which used infrared camera technology to alert the driver if a pedestrian or animal was detected within 300m.
Other safety features included stability control, auto-wipers, EBD and both head and side airbags in the front and back rows.
For between $6000 and $15,000 you can get your hands on a used 2003-2006 BMW 7 Series.
4. Lexus RX 350
Japanese cars make up a lot of the used car market, and the Lexus RX 350 is a luxury crossover based around the Toyota Highlander platform.
Being part of the Toyota family, the second-generation RX 350 came standard with eight airbags and performed well in safety tests based on the standards at the time.
The RX 350 we looked at was manufactured between 2003 and 2007 with four different engine sizes, ranging from 2.4 to 3.5 litres. You can buy a good example today for between $10,000 and $12,000.
Some available options include heated seats, as well as a DVD player for the rear seats with wireless headphones — perfect to keep your kids entertained on a family road trip.
With any used car, we recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection and a vehicle history report before buying.