Previously owned: Jaguar XJ

Previously owned: Jaguar XJ
Previously owned: Jaguar XJ

For the price of a used hatchback you could own one of these, a classy competitor to cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The XJ is an icon of the motoring world and hides a feast of technology behind the graceful British lines. It’s also extremely comfortable thanks to air suspension, a quality borne out by the fact that many had the most important person not behind the wheel but in the rear (chauffeurs are not included in the price).

So what sort of money are we talking? How about just £2000? Even a lower-mileage example can be yours for about £3000 and up. That would be for a petrol-engined V6 XJ6 and we’d go for that engine where possible. To be exact, we’d choose an XJ6 with the 3.0-litre V6 and with SE trim.

The thing is, petrol versions are notably cheaper than the diesels to buy. Sure, you’re going to be familiar with fuel stations since even the diesel versions struggle to hit 35mpg, but you need to ask yourself if you really need a diesel. Diesel prices start at about £4000 but really you’d need £6000 for a decent example. You’d need to do a lot of miles to justify that increased cost, particularly as the V6 petrol is such a peachy motor.

Of course, if you’re being a bit Arthur Daley you could splash the cash on the more potent XJR but you’d need about £8000 to pick up one of those as well as an even bigger budget for fuel.
However, generally speaking, reliability is good and you can get these serviced by specialists rather than by main dealers to save some dosh. Actually, the Jaguar XJ has a better reliability record for the big expensive bits than a Merc S-Class. Even so, check for suspension clonks, check the electronics work and, most importantly, check for a couple of the nine recalls there have been.

If the car was made before 2003 check that the work has been done to rectify what was really quite an exciting fault – the gearbox could throw itself into reverse at high speed. The second recall was less dramatic, and was between April 2005 and March 2007 to fix a problem with the DPF.

The Diesel Particulate Filter can clog, and it’s expensive to fix, which for our money is yet another reason to stick with the petrol version of this fine English conveyance. It might even be a nice little earner my son.

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