Honda Legend v Hyundai XG30 v Audi A8 v Cadillac Seville

26 Jun, 2002 12:10pm

If the S-Class is beyond your reach, check out these alternatives

The current S-Class is a seriously luxurious car, with more executive toys inside than a Chelsea penthouse. Its cosseting abilities are unsurpassed and its second-hand values are rock solid. But if you want all the extras for a fraction of the price, here are four superbly equipped cars that will please your pocket.

Honda Legend
A dull image and plain styling mean that this executive bruiser has never really been a big hit in Britain, but that doesn't mean it isn't a fine car. Ignore the early Rover 800-based motors and opt for later pure Honda models. Impressive levels of equipment, excellent fit and finish, strong engines and inherent reliability make the Legend a sound used proposition - the only problem is finding one.
Engines: 3.2 and 3.5-litre V6 petrol. Years: 1995-present. Prices: GBP4,950-15,100

Hyundai XG30
The idea of a luxury car from Hyundai might sound absurd, but then so did the concept of a stylish and entertaining sports coup� � until the Korean firm gave us one. And despite value-led pricing, there's no denying the XG is nicely finished and well kitted-out, with bags of space and a smooth V6. It's also pretty obscure and its badge has little cachet, making it an outstanding executive bargain.
Engine: 3.0-litre petrol. Years: 2000-present. Prices: GBP9,000-17,500.

Audi A8
One of the best-looking executive cars and nearly as well built as the Mercedes, the A8 is a classy and attractive package. Aluminium bodywork makes the Audi lighter than the S-Class, while a fine engine range - apart from the sluggish 2.8 - and 4WD on quattro models make it a magnet for keen drivers. Early cars now go for well below GBP10,000 - a huge amount of metal for the money.
Engines: 2.8 V6, 3.7 and 4.2 V8 petrol. Years: 1997-99. Prices: GBP6,050-11,650

Cadillac Seville
The US's favourite luxury car was axed in the UK due to flagging sales. And, despite being gadget-laden and distinctive, the Seville never made any sense as a new buy thanks to crippling depreciation. However, that means they're now dirt cheap second-hand, with good early ones available from as little as GBP9,000. The Caddie's 4.6-litre V8 engine is thirsty, but it does have a cracking exhaust note.
Engines: 4.6-litre V8. Years: 2000-present. Prices: GBP9,175-12,775