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How much is a car badge really worth?

Ellie Dyerbrown, 2 years ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • tips

WhoCanFixMyCar checks out some of the most popular automotive doppelgangers and calculated how much money you could save if you decided to opt for the cheaper version

These cars often look-alike, drive-alike and have certain distinct features that are extremely similar, with the exception of the badge the car is sold under.

Badge-engineering is a more common practice than most motorists are aware of. In some cases it can greatly increase the asking price of a car, depending on which badge is perched on the bonnet.

WhoCanFixMyCar have chosen our favourite automotive doppelgangers and calculated how much money you could save if you decided to opt for the cheaper twin.

Chrysler 300 v Bentley Mulsanne


An accusation that’s long been levelled at Chrysler is that they get a lot of their design inspiration straight from the Bentley and Rolls Royce workshops, and this couldn’t be more evident when comparing the Chrysler 300 and Bentley Mulsanne. The famous rapper, Drake, once criticised Chrysler in 2016 with the lyrics in one of his tracks called “Keep The Family Close”. Drake calls out Chrysler, and the 300 in particular, for looking too much like a Bentley: “Always saw you for what you could’ve been, ever since you met me, like when Chrysler made that one car that looked just like the Bentley”.

The Mulsanne does get a 5-star rating compared to the 300’s 3.5 out of 5. However, is the extra 1.5 stars really worth an extra £216,150? We’ll let you be the judge! The 300 could be the perfect car if you’re looking for Bentley vibes on an affordable, wallet friendly budget.

Ford Mondeo v Aston Martin DB9


Jeremy Clarkson once claimed on Top Gear that the naturally aspirated Aston Martin V12 that powers legendary models such as the DB7, DB9, DBS and Vanquish is actually just two Ford Mondeo engines that are welded together – thus a motoring myth was born. However, that’s not the only thing that both cars have in common. The front grill on both cars is identical, often being a source of chatter on automotive forums, with some nicknaming the Ford Mondeo as the “Aston Martin Mondaudi”. The profile of the car is also strikingly similar, as you can see from using our slider above. You’d be forgiven for thinking the Ford Mondeo was Aston Martin’s new family-friendly, 5-seater offering straight from the production line. If you want something that wouldn’t look out of place on a James Bond set, but can still easily get the dogs in the boot for a Sunday trip to the beach – opt for the Ford Mondeo.

For Ford Mondeo drivers we have created an ultimate guide which answers the most frequently asked questions concerning the vehicle.

Toyota IQ v Aston Martin Cygnet


After Aston Martin was copied by Ford, the shoe was now on the other foot when they created the Cygnet, a high-end duplicate of the Toyota IQ. As our slider below shows, the resemblance is striking and there’s a perfectly good reason for that – it’s exactly the same car. Well, not exactly the same, just all of its major components including the body, chassis, suspension and engine transmission.

However, Aston Martin did bother to add a luxury interior to the Cygnet which required the same amount of leather hides to trim a DB9, so motorists paying £31,000 to pick up the 2-seater city car can’t really complain.

It was reported at the time of Cygnet’s release in 2011 that the reason for the car’s conception was to help Aston Martin conform to EU emission regulations. By opening the company up to a new market interested in smaller cars, their average emissions per car would fall. Alas, the plan didn’t work, as the company end up selling fewer than 150 Cygnet’s in two years.

Vauxhall VX220 v Lotus Elise


Perhaps one of the most obvious cases of badge engineering in recent times, is the Vauxhall VX220 versus the Lotus Elise. The VX220 shares the same base as the Elise, an extruded aluminium chassis. This was quite an appetising prospect considering the Elise’s reputation for being amazing to drive. Although, would that ride quality translate over the to VX220? The answer is simply, yes. Although not remembered by the wider motoring world as a classic, the VX220 has something of a cult following and most drivers have nothing but good things to say about the roadster.

Although popular with enthusiasts, it perhaps wasn’t surprising that the VX220 proved unpopular with the general public. The advert for the car was voted “Worst Of The Year” by an industry magazine and was generally panned. This led to the advertising face of Vauxhall, Griff Rhys-Jones, being dismissed by Vauxhall due to the embarrassing nature of the advert. However, if you’re looking for the roadster experience on a budget, it would be hard to look past the £27,610 cheaper VX220.

Audi Q7 v Bentley Bentayga


The Audi Q7 bears a striking resemblance to the Bentley Bentayga. It isn’t surprising, considering that Audi and Bentley are both owned by the Volkswagen Group. The Q7 and the Betayga are based on the same platform and are made in the same Slovakian factory before they are shipped to Crewe in the UK for final assembly. Volkswagen were the first major automaker to create a multi-use platform (MQB) for a number of its cars. This allows the company to save a large amount of money in design and development costs. However, this has rubbed one of the groups competitors up the wrong way. The CEO of Rolls Royce, who happen to be owned by BMW, said on the MQBs in 2017 “We are not using mass-manufactured body shells. That limits what you can do on the design side, and it undermines exclusivity massively. You don’t want a camouflaged (Audi) Q7 in that segment. You want to have a true Rolls-Royce”. I’m not sure many people would have a problem with driving a camouflaged Bentley, considering the £78,000 price difference.

Ford F-150 v Lincoln Blackwood


The Lincoln Blackwood is a fully loaded, luxury version of the Ford F-150. The two pickup trucks share the same platform. It seemed like a good idea at the time, to create a high-end version of America’s best-selling pickup truck. However, time has a strange way of revealing the good ideas from the bad. After initially being greeted with enthusiasm, the Lincoln was discontinued after only one year in America and two in Mexico. This made it the shortest-produced vehicle by Ford’s Lincoln Division in history. Described by an industry leading car magazine as a “loveable pickup truck failure”, the Blackwood was not without its fans.  However, many speculated that one of the reasons that the Blackwood failed was because it has a trunk, or rather a “bed cover”. This prohibited users from transporting anything of any real size. Something that perhaps didn’t go down well in America, where pick-up trucks are so popular.

Infiniti Q30S v Mercedes-Benz A250


How did these brands ever get together? Other than the Q30, it’s hard to see what Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz have in common. One is the high-end, luxury division of Nissan with their cars rarely seen on European roads. The other is a regional powerhouse with Mercedes-Benz’s popularity evident not only on the roads of Europe, but the world. However, as it happens, the Q30 was built on the same platform as the third generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class. With the aim being to create a small, premium hatchback. So, who better to steal borrow off, than Mercedes? It’s not only the platform that both cars share; it’s also the engine, along with the dashboard dials, a Mercedes gear stick and steering wheel. In the Q30, Infiniti answers rivals such as the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and paradoxically the Mercedes A-Class. Creating a car which is around 42% cheaper that the A-Class and it’s other rivals. But would that Infiniti badge put you off? We at WhoCanFixMyCar are undecided!

Toyota Camry v Lexus ES350


Lexus’ luxury offering, the ES350, will look extremely familiar to American drivers. The car has the same body and chassis as the Toyota Camry, one of America’s favourite cars. This should come as no surprise, due to Lexus being the luxury vehicle division of Japan’s largest car manufacturer – Toyota.

This is yet another example of brands who are owned or are the owners of a variety of different automotive companies using the same base on which to build a more upmarket version of a currently popular car. The question is, is the luxury badge worth paying the extra premium on top of the Toyota Camry’s base price?

The Lexus does deliver more power than the Toyota. Even the hybrid engine offers more horsepower than the Camry at 215 BHP. However, there’s not much difference in the interior of both cars. Although the build quality my feel slightly more premium in the Lexus. As the slider above shows, both cars are nearly identical on the exterior. We suggest the Toyota Camry if you favour reliability and affordability over a cool badge to show your friends!

*Most prices are from new to allow for direct comparison. However, where this data was unavailable the second-hand price was used in its place.