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Performance Cars Increasingly Affordable

Garage forecourts are brimming with performance bargains.

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Great news – garage forecourts are brimming with performance bargains. Previously expensive vehicles are plummeting in value, partly due to the economic slowdown. So, which models offer exceptional value for money?

Try the Chrysler 300C SRT-8. This majestic beast resembles a heavy weight boxer and weighs in at nearly two tonnes. Power comes via the 6.1-litre V8 engine which generates 425bhp. That means 62mph in five seconds and a top speed of 168mph. This American executive lacks the handling 'finesse' of some rivals – but still offers luxury, prestige, and outright power.

Petrol heads with children may enjoy the Vauxhall Zafira VXR – family 'hold all' and wolf in sheep's clothing. The VXR is a turbocharged rocket that reaches 60mph in 7.2 seconds. Top speed is 144mph which is extraordinary for a seven seated MPV. The handling is composed, interiors pleasant, and it rides comfortably. The Zafira is hugely versatile and better built than older Vauxhalls.

New 300C SRT-8's cost £41,000, but 2006 examples are only worth £18,000. New Zafira VXR's cost £23,000, but 2006 examples have depreciated to £10,000. Fuel costs and road tax are high, but these vehicles are fantastic value and a pleasure to own.