Ask the expert: ‘Which ULEZ-compliant luxury car should I buy on an £11,000 budget?’

Alex Robbins is contributing editor at Telegraph Cars where, as well as responding to readers’ queries, he also contributes reviews of new and used cars, together with articles on buying and selling. 

His knowledge of the used car market informs his many buying guides relating to the best buys in particular sectors, with an emphasis on value for money.  Every week he will answer your questions on buying and selling, as well as solving your car problems, whether consumer or mechanical.

Do you have a motoring dilemma you’d like our expert to solve?  For consumer and used car advice, or car faults, email and include your subscriber number. This week’s question… 

Dear Alex,

I would like to take advantage of the second-hand price boom to sell my 2017 Mazda 3 SE-L Nav; one of the online selling portals claims I could get as much as £11,000 for it. I’d like to buy an older but high performance or luxury (or both!) car, I imagine for the last time before changing to electric; I’ve always wanted a Jaguar. My budget will be whatever I can get for the Mazda; it must comply with the Clean Air Zone in Oxford, where I live, come with Bluetooth and built-in sat nav, and have enough boot space for golf clubs or a bike. There’s so much choice, so what do you suggest?

– MB

Dear MB,

Oxford’s Clean Air Zone specifies that cars will be charged £10 per day to enter, unless they meet Euro 4 (petrol) or Euro 6 (diesel) standards, in which case they’ll only be charged £4 a day. Lower-emission and electric cars are charged less, but as none of these are available within your budget, I’ll assume these are the criteria we’re aiming for. 

Given it’s what you’ve always wanted, let’s start with a Jaguar. The only trouble is, finding a Euro 4-compliant Jaguar that can fit a bike in the boot is tricky, unless you’re willing to go for an X-Type Estate and, nice though it is, I wouldn’t really describe one of those as either a luxury or a high-performance car. 

The only other alternative you have with the Jaguar badge is an early Jaguar XK coupé, the X150 generation. These are great cars, and should meet your “luxury and performance” criteria. You get Bluetooth and sat-nav as standard, too. There is just one compromise you might have to make: while the XK has a big, hatchback boot, which will make loading your bike easier, the rear seats don’t fold down – so it might not fit. Perhaps you can use a bike rack instead?

You might have better luck with a Volvo. The third-generation V70 is within budget, and if you get one of the more potent petrol engines (2.5T, 3.2 or 3.0 T6) in SE Lux form, you should have a car that manages both luxury and pace in one package. What’s more, even early V70s came with Bluetooth connectivity, so you’ll be able to listen to your music and, of course, there is no fear about loading your bike or golf clubs into the vast boot.

Want to place the emphasis more on performance than luxury? If so, you could try a fast Audi estate of some kind – an S4 Avant would probably be my pick. For your budget, the much-vaunted B7 generation can be had relatively easily. 

This version of the S4 got a 4.2-litre V8 engine with a not-inconsiderable 339bhp, and the four-wheel drive system had a rearward bias, making this a much more entertaining car to drive than its predecessors (or, for that matter, many of its successors). Sat-nav was an optional extra, as was Bluetooth, but getting both together is rare, so you might have to look for a car with nav and add your own adapter if you want Bluetooth connectivity.

If the running costs of that thumping V8 are a little daunting, however, my final suggestion is a Mercedes C-Class. A W204 C350, with Merc’s potent 3.5-litre V6 engine, should offer a great blend of performance and luxury, plus it’ll have more than enough room in the boot for your needs and comes with Bluetooth, though sat-nav is only on higher-spec versions. The only downside is that C350 estates are rare – most C-Classes of this era were sold as diesels and, being pre-Euro 6, that makes them a no-go in the Clean Air Zone. So if you want one, you might have to wait for the right example to come up. 

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