Mercedes-Benz GLE350d

Worth a million new, they’re bargains now


Last and most definitely not least, these five luxury SUVs that once cost a million bucks, are the Gumtree’s 2019 Pre-Owned Luxury SUV Award finalists. That they all come in at under R875K two years down the line, shows just how attractive used cars can be, so let’s take a look how they shape up and choose our favourite executive SUV before the official outcome tonight.

According to Unitrans pre-owned car price records of all rivals in the class, the Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes GLE, Toyota Prado and Volvo XC90 (in alphabetical order) best retain their new value among two-year old luxury SUVs. We will now decide which we think is best of all, but to start, let’s first take a look at what we said about them new back in 2017…

Audi Q7 – Tech Titan
It’s still large, but it’s now lithe too, with great 6.9 sec 0-100km/h performance and tauter and much-improved dynamics thanks to a serious diet, Audi’s slightly shorter and narrower once behemoth Q7 has lost 325kg but it still has the biggest and roomiest cabin in its class. 

Q7’s looks will divide opinion but it’s superb and expansive inside with that vent grill across the dash, ski-fi instrumentation and Audi’s brilliant latest MMI interface in the cockpit of the future. And with more driver assistance than any rival, Q7 clearly deserves consideration.

Land Rover Discovery – Real Four by Four
The Land Rover Discovery has a pretty strong tradition, but this fifth generation is once again a cool 4x4, even though it now takes the nameplate in a different direction. From the rear, it’s still clearly a Disco, but the front end is sleek, contemporary – to fight X5, GLE?

Rest assured however, it remains a pure Discovery and is still very much a 4x4 at heart, ready to cross an Amazon bog or Sahara drift in just as sophisticated an air as it’s softer rivals. Even if it still seems to be searching for mud on the road versus them…
Mercedes-Benz GLE350d – Style Master
I must say this huge 4x4 is a pleasure to drive. The Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d scores on first impression and it’s superb inside too in a treasure chest of acronyms for the coolest functions for everything that will open and shut, beep, access, find and play. 

GLE 350d cruises superbly – genteel, lofty and supreme as it should be, weighing a quarter-ton more than the rest, but it’s still quick and efficient. Of course, not everyone buys this kind of a car for sheer dynamics – it’s the drama pose and über style that really counts here.

Land Cruiser Prado – African King 
It’s difficult to claim to be the King of Africa, but we have often hailed Cruiser as exactly that, so this must be the Prince. Let’s just call Prado Land Cruiser Light. Toyota engineered to deliver quality, dependability and reliability it has an off-road pedigree second to none 

An all-rounder that is more unstoppable across the continent that, it’s deft over a tarmac pass, Prado’s tight turning circle a generous ground clearance, approach, departure and breakover angles make it more than just wieldy off the beaten track. 

Volvo XC90 – Rolling Along
The latest flagship from Torslanda whispers understatement, yet its distinctive face and striking Thor’s Hammer headlights shout classy elegance. Tasteful, refined and uncluttered inside, its re-imagined design and albeit touchy screen controls are well thought through. 

Volvo means ‘I roll’ and XC90 rolls along brilliantly, its healthy 4-pot 2-litre turbodiesel and super smooth 8-speed AWD more than amply thrusting it along to leave us convinced that if the XC90 is the blueprint of how it rolls, the best of Volvo is still to come. 

So, how do they fare used?
All these cars are powered by turbodiesel engines and all have automatic gearboxes and all-wheel drive. Four are 3-litre, three of them V6s, the Prado a four cylinder and the Volvo a 2-litre 4-pot, but the Mercedes proved significantly quickest in our road tests, while the Volvo was by far most economical.

The five are split between road and 4x4 focus, with the quite agricultural Toyota clearly the choice to delve deepest into Africa, while the Disco tends more toward sophistication, but cannot really match the more car-like Audi, Merc and Volvo on the tar. That said, the latter trio is probably best kept on the beaten track – not too far beyond the school sidewalk.

Space race
The Land Rover has by far the most space, while the Toyota is also pretty good, but there should not be much of a need for the holiday trailer behind any of the five. That said, the continental European trio are decidedly more sophisticated, but that certainly as a case of horses for courses, so all of them are pretty much on point for their functions.

It becomes more interesting in the used car lot though. Firstly, the Mercedes comes with four years remaining on its service plan, so you should not need to worry about spending too much on keeping it running it in that time. If Merc’s legendary reliability is anything to go by, and you do not need any warranty. Because there is none left. 

The Audi’s warranty has also expired, by the way, while the Toyota and Landy have a year left, but the 2017 model Volvo came with five years of cover on both sides, so it’s care free pre-owned motoring for three more years with the XC90…

Bang for buck luxury
Sticking with the XC90, someone looking for a bang for buck luxury SUV will be delighted by the fact that they can pick up a Volvo that cost a bar back in 2017, for around R750K today. The seller will however emerge a little less satisfied with that drop in their investment. Slipping that shoe onto the other foot, the Mercedes owner will be delighted that his asset has kept its value far better than the rest…

Once again however, it’s that certainty that the Mercedes has best maintained its value that stands the car that is also the fastest and carries the most service plan above the rest. It may indeed be the most expensive to buy used now, but that’s because the Mercedes-Benz GLE has kept its value best of all, so a few more rand spent now, will also likely to bear fruit a year or four down the line, when GLE’s value retention looks after the second owner even better.

We have now put our money on all our Gumtree Pre Owned Awards favourites, as you can follow through the links below and there’s just short wait to this evening’s award ceremony to see which of these five best impressed the entre Gumtree Pre Owned Jury. 

Come back later tonight to learn which cars officially won! – Michele Lupini

Gumtree is offering South African motorists the opportunity to win a car by simply placing their vote for the People’s Choice Award. To vote simply go to click here and follow the prompts.