Your don't have to be a petrolhead to want something stylish — a bit different from all the other cars on the road — in your garage. But if you need a car with space for the family or leisure pursuits, a sports car isn’t going to fit the bill.

Check into a family-friendly vehicle with a bit of panache for not a lot of coin and you could even see it hold its value in the future — maybe even appreciate in price, and that’s something few new cars can boast.

But getting something a bit older has its drawbacks. It may be more expensive to repair and service, parts may be hard to find and it may not have today’s high safety levels.

The five here are chosen because they have the potential to appreciate in value and are — at the moment, at least — relatively affordable.

FORD XR8 (2014)

Significantly, this is the first V8-engined Falcon-badged Ford since 2010 and is likely to be the last. It combines all the space, size and comfort of a Falcon with the virtues and rawness of the now- defunct FPV.

The XR8 also gets the up-market coachwork of the premium Falcon models. Probably the last Falcon series in its run- down to the 2016-17 closure of Ford’s Australian-manufactured cars.

The XR8 gets all the top-shelf FPV GT R-Spec suspension and drivetrain, including the 335kW/570Nm 5-litre supercharged V8. Manual is standard ($52,490) and automatic is optional ($54,690), with the former likely to hold its value better.


Price (2014): $52,490

Price (now): $52,490

Engine: 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol

Output: 335kW/570Nm

Transmission: Six-speed manual (optional auto)

Fuel economy: 13.6L/100km

Pros: Last Falcon

Cons: Production volume may be high


The XR8 combines the space of a Falcon with the rawness of the now-defunct FPV. Picture:



The original and the best in a shape that’s moved hundreds of thousands of hippies, launched a million picnics and gave peace- love paisley decals a mobile billboard. One 1955 example just sold in the US for about $275,000.

From a commercial hauler to the first globally loved people mover, the fragile, underpowered yet durable Kombi (for kombination) ended its days last year as its final example left Volkswagen’s Brazilian factory. Now it’s back into cult status and prices are soaring, though you have to find a good one or endure very costly renovations. The split-window model is the icon but the later “bay window” (from 1968) is technically superior.


Price (1967): $2400

Price (now): $65,000 (restored)

Engine: 1.5-litre flat-four

Output: 33kW/110Nm

Transmission: Four-speed manual

Fuel economy: 11L/100km

Pros: Icon with endearing character and versatility

Cons: Slow, rust-prone, noisy

AUDI S6 (2001-06)

A German express train with a luxury bent, the S6 was the balanced blend of performance, economy and comfort. The earlier 2001-05 models used a V8 engine and all-wheel-drive, and carried the rather delicate slimline grille.

In 2006, Audi upped the stakes with a V10 engine and a full-frame grille which is still used today. The later one looks contemporary but the V10 engine may be pushing the envelope a bit. The earlier model was more restrained, affordable and still had a strong feature list. Of course, the V8 was no slug.

Again, with Europeans you have to be prepared for high repair and maintenance bills but the driving experience is worlds away from most rivals.

AUDI S6 (2001-06)

Price (2004): $167,500

Price (now): $20,000

Engine: 4.2-litre V8

Output: 250kW/420Nm

Transmission: Five-speed auto

Fuel economy: 14.5L/100km

Pros: Fast, luxurious and elegant styling

Cons: Costly to maintain, especially the V10 version


Holden Caprice; Jaguar XJ (2004-07); Citroen C5

Check into a family-friendly vehicle with a bit of panache

for not a lot of coin.

BMW 5-SERIES E39 (1995-2003)

The classic style of BMW’s earlier cars combines with lots of performance and sensible on-board equipment. The E39 series escaped the complex iDrive driver-management system (that came later) and was remarkably simple to operate.

However, the E39 series is getting long in the tooth and — like all Europeans — repairs and maintenance will be expensive. The 540i was a good balance of performance and five-seat cruising, with a big 4.4-litre V8 and five-speed automatic gearbox. The six-cylinder versions are almost as good. The manual-only M5 is high on the collector list, with a 5.0-litre V8, mid-5sec 0-100km/h sprint time and superb handling. They were about $200,000 new and are now about $30,000.

BMW 540i (1995-2003)

Price (2003): $147,800

Price (now): $18,000

Engine: 4.4-litre V8

Output: 210kW/440Nm

Transmission: Five-speed auto

Fuel economy: 10.2L/100km

Pros: Sporty, roomy and attractive beyond its years

Cons: Expensive to maintain


The 540i a good balance of performance and cruising. Picture:



FORD FOCUS XR5 (2006-11)

Ford aficionados in Australia stewed in silent rage for years while their UK counterparts were exposed to some remarkable Ford performance cars. The wait for Australia was over in 2006 when Ford opened the gate and let in the XR5, the turbocharged, five- cylinder and detuned version of the RS.

The five-door XR5 was a far better day-to-day proposition than the stiffly sprung three-door RS and matched the Golf GTI head-on. It has all the family needs catered for thanks to its Focus donor body, with a big lift-up hatch for the groceries and pram, seating for five and a compact body for civilised city traffic. But the cabin trim is bland in all-grey hues and there’s no fancy stuff such as cruise control. Be very careful with used models to ensure they haven’t been beaten around a racetrack.


Price (2009): $36,990

Price (now): $28,000

Engine: 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-petrol

Output: 166kW/320Nm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Fuel economy: 9.3L/100km

Pros: Family friendly, easy to drive

Cons: Manual only, no cruise control, tended to be thrashed



© The West Australian

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