Best used car to buy: Jaguar XE

The Jaguar XE compact exec offers an unbeatable blend of style, performance, practicality, efficiency and value for moneyUsed Car of the Year: Jaguar XE

Used executive cars often represent a bargain. Given how many get sold new as fleet and company cars, there’s lots of choice on the second-hand market. Many models offer a premium driving experience when it comes to ride and handling as well as advanced interior tech, but at a heavily cut price thanks to often sizeable depreciation in the first few years.

Our Used Car of the Year for 2018, the Jaguar XE, conforms to this framework, so for all those reasons and more it’s a brilliant used buy. The XE is still right up there with the best cars in its class as a new model, and there have been only a handful of updates and changes over the few years it has been on sale, so used examples starting at around £12,000 are very tempting.

• Best executive cars to buy 2019

You can buy a 2015 car (the year the XE was launched) with fewer than 75,000 miles on the clock for that kind of money, but add more to your budget and you can get a higher-spec edition with an even lower mileage.

When the XE arrived three years ago it shot straight to the top of its class. We love the way it handles, with reassuringly weighty but responsive steering and an entertaining rear-wheel-drive chassis that’s linked to a punchy diesel engine and a smooth automatic transmission.

At the lower end of the market there’s a 160bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, but if you spend about £14,000 you’ll get into a 177bhp model that’s basically just as economical. It’s this example that we’d go for, because CO2 emissions are respectable and the engine is frugal, so running costs will be low.

It’s not the most refined powertrain, but the Jaguar saloon rides and handles well.

The XE takes rougher roads in its stride with composure. Most bumps are soaked up by the suspension with a minimum of fuss and fairly smooth damping. Bear in mind that a three-year-old example shouldn’t be any different, so steer clear of tired-feeling cars. Only the harshest potholes cause a problem. The driving position is brilliant and cements you in position to capitalise on the chassis’ ability, while the wraparound dash creates a driver-focused feel inside.

All XEs came with sat-nav, parking sensors, cruise control and alloy wheels, so they’re well equipped for the money we’ve mentioned here. Prestige trim adds leather seats, while the popular R-Sport model brings sportier exterior touches. Low-spec XEs can look quite plain, but they’re good value and just as good to drive.

Then there’s the XE’s usability, passenger and luggage space, as well as the balance of economy and performance from its diesel engines. If you’re looking for a family car that will be comfortable, efficient but also fun to drive – and with a badge that serves up prestige at an incredibly affordable price – look no further than a used Jaguar XE.

Why it won

The Jaguar XE offers a fine blend of performance, economy, space and practicality at a fantastic price.

Key details 

Interior: Jag’s cabin offers premium materials and equipment, plus a fantastic driving position.

On the road: A punchy diesel engine and smooth auto transmission are complemented by handling that we love.

Best used cars to buy – 2018 Used Car Awards winners• Best used city car• Best used executive car• Best used supermini• Best used luxury car• Best used compact family hatchback• Best used MPV• Best used estate car• Best used coupe• Best used family car• Best used convertible• Best used small SUV• Best used sports car• Best used mid-size SUV• Best used hybrid car• Best used large SUV• Best used electric car• Best used compact executive car• Used Car of the Year 2018 Previous: Introduction Next: Best used city cars

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