James Ruppert: Jaguars are the top cats of the used market

It does seem as though there’s an expiry date on getting yourself a Jaguar without one of those electric engines. Of course, the wonderful thing about the used car market is that even obsolete models remain available almost indefinitely, or at least until a mystery ECU problem knocks it on the head. So before they ban everything that can’t be plugged in, revel in the wonderful V8-ness and straight-six-ness of their range.

Saloons have been what Jag is all about ever since it was founded as SS in the 1930s – a Bond Street Bentley. All the flash for not so much cash. That’s even more the case on the used market. Let’s get an XJ. You don’t have to pay too much: just £5000 will get you a 2003 3.0 V6 SE from a dealer. Indeed, the one I found had a full history and a warranty backed by an 82-point check and seemed to have been cherished by its last owner. That’s the way to buy one of these, and at least you can take it back if there’s an issue. It’s certainly more beautiful than any posh limo on sale today.

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Something smaller and cheaper ought to be an X-Type, but I really struggle with those and wouldn’t want you to get lumbered with one. The S-Type is fine, though, and looks the classic, sort-of-Mk2 Jaguar part. You can get really rather tidy ones for around £3000 with full histories and either the diesel or petrol V6 engine.

For proper fun and possible future residual solidity and certainly desirability, then it has to be an R. At this point, I would probably go for a private seller with proof that they have cared for their cat. Well, a 12-year affair with a 2006 4.2-litre V8 shows sufficient commitment, and this one had just 70,000 miles and all the necessary paperwork to prove that, over a three-owner life, it had been properly cared for and justified the £6995 asking price.

Is an S-Type too ‘old bloke’ for you? Rather more 21st century, and what was apparently the answer to those pesky Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series Germans, is the XE. It has underperformed but never been bad-looking and has always done what Jags have done best: depreciate and look like sensational value compared with everything else.

Pretty much every XE in circulation is a diesel, with a starting price of £7000-£8000, but it’s going to cost you a bit more if you want a rare petrol. Long term, though, it will be the better buy. A two-owner 2015 2.0 GTDi Prestige automatic with just over 50k miles was £10,995.

Oh dear me, no GTs, convertibles or two-door fun. Jaguars were once sports cars, too; I had better cover those in the coming weeks.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

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Readers’ questions

Question: I have a 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud in need of some post-lockdown recommissioning. Should I seek a specialist? Eric Tindall, Melton Mowbray

Answer: It’s worth giving your local garage a call. If they’re comfortable working on such a rare and irreplaceable car, they will make swift work of changing the oil, coolant, brake shoes and other consumables. But I’ve had a quick look around and your best option appears to be Paul Mackley Engineering in Carlton, near Nottingham, about 20 miles from you. If you look at their website, they seem to have a lot of experience with 1960s Rolls-Royces like yours so are better placed to spot any potential problems unique to your car. FP

Question: I’m a doctor in need of an economical, comfortable and reliable automatic for my city call-outs. What are my options for £18,000? Joshua De Soyza, Solihull

Answer: You could pick up a recently decommissioned ambulance for less than £5000, but I guess you would like something subtler for the weekends. A 2018 Mini Countryman S E All4 ticks all your boxes at just £14,980 and has a 20-mile-plus EV range. I also found a slightly newer Mercedes-Benz A-Class with a 1.5 diesel engine: comfy, well-equipped and capable of nearly 70mpg at a cruise. FP