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Best used compact executive cars

The Jaguar XE is the best used compact executive in our Used Car Awards 2018

Best used compact executive car: Jaguar XE

Prices from: £10,995Our pick: Jaguar X 2016 (16) 2.0d 180 Auto Prestige, 35,244 miles, £16,995

The Jaguar XE has picked up a glut of Auto Express awards. It has previously landed our Best Compact Executive Car award at the New Car Awards, it was our Best Used Compact Executive Car last year – and it’s our champion again in 2018.

Best executive cars to buy 2019

That’s because you can buy an XE from as little as £11,000, which is excellent value for a car that’s great to drive, rides nicely and offers sound efficiency.

We’d recommend spending a little more and going for a newer, lower-mileage car. The 2016 model we’ve chosen had covered just over 35,000 miles, but even then the Jag should still have plenty of life left in it.

It’s the 178bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel Ingenium engine that’s the best bet. There’s a good spread of power, and although it’s noisy if revved hard, the eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts smoothly, keeping a lid on the engine and improving refinement.

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The highlight is the way the XE handles and rides. The steering makes the car feel pointy and alert, but not nervous, while the suspension controls roll well and serves up acceptable ride comfort. Just watch out for cars fitted with larger optional wheels.

Smart styling even in Prestige trim means it looks great, so it’s difficult to tell its age, and in this guise the XE returns a claimed 67.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 109g/km. In practice you can expect between 45 and 50mpg, which makes it a frugal family machine.

You might struggle to find one at this price with much warranty left, and Jaguar’s reliability record isn’t great, but set a sum aside for maintenance and the XE should be a sound financial choice. There are also more high-mileage XEs starting to crop up, but we’d hold out for one that’s covered fewer miles; there are lots for sale.

Key details

On the road: Handling and ride are XE highlights, while performance, steering and economy are good.

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Interior: Premium cabin looks the part and can be had with heated seats. The level of kit is decent as well.

Finance options

Just £1,700 down gets you one of the finest-handling junior executive saloons on the market for a scarcely-believable £280 per month on PCP finance.

As with all PCP deals, there’ll be a balloon payment at the end of the term, but for £11,780 in total over three years, you won’t find a more affordable deal paying monthly on a used car, especially one that as good as the Jaguar.

Commended

BMW 3 Series Mk6

There might be a new BMW 3 Series on the way, but the outgoing model is still a great used buy. It’s even better to drive than the XE and because it’s been on sale longer, there are thousands to choose from. You should be able to bag your chosen trim level and engine. We’d pick a 320d M Sport auto.

Left-field choice

Alfa Romeo 159

Yes, buying a used Alfa Romeo has the potential to end in disaster. But given how much the 159 saloon costs, and how good it looks, even in full knowledge of the pitfalls it’s still a tempting proposition. Go for a V6 petrol-engined model for the full Italian hit; just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Best used cars to buy - 2018 Used Car Awards winners

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