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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.

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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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