Used buyer's guide: Jaguar X-Type

The Jaguar X-Type is a good used buy - but beware of poor build quality

The X-Type was supposed to make Jaguar a big player, but it never sold in the volumes hoped for. The result is a car that’s now a very reasonable second-hand buy, even though it’s still good to drive and looks distinctive. However, a questionable reliability record means owners are falling out of love with the ageing Jag – so if you’re tempted, make sure you go for the latest model you can afford. Later cars are better built than the early ones and you'll still save big money over an A4 or 3 Series of similar age. Find the right X-Type and you’ll love its ride and handling balance and well stocked cabin. Plus, if you buy an estate, you’ll have great practicality as well.

From the moment it was introduced more than a decade ago, the Jaguar X-Type was pilloried for being nothing more than a Ford Mondeo in drag.

The baby Jaguar was always more than that, however, offering a less sober alternative to German rivals, while early editions also featured four-wheel drive as standard.

Sadly, the X-Type didn’t enjoy the build quality of many of its competitors, and it took a while for diesel and estate versions to turn up. But now, it can be a top-value used buy that'll prove a whole lot cheaper than its Jaguar XE replacement– if you tread carefully.

History

The X-Type saloon was launched in February 2001, with 2.5 or 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines and four-wheel drive as standard. By December, a front-wheel drive 2.0 petrol car had arrived, but it was June 2003 before buyers got the engine they really wanted – a 2.0 turbodiesel.

The X-Type estate was added in March 2004, while the pinnacle was reached in June 2004, when a 2.2-litre diesel joined the line-up. Range revisions in July 2007 provided extra equipment, while a facelift in March 2008 brought 500 updates – including styling tweaks – plus an auto option for the 2.2d.

Alternatives

There are some great cars in this competitive class, and the Audi A4 has excellent engines, optional four-wheel drive and a choice of saloon or estate bodies. BMW 3 Series offers much the same, but trades that 4WD security for a much more involving drive.

The Mercedes C-Class also has strong engines, and saloon and estate versions. Cars built between 2000 and 2003 can rust badly, though, but still cost more than an equivalent X-Type.

Finally, why not consider a Volkswagen Passat or Honda Accord? Both are in plentiful supply and are very affordable.

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