The best used Jaguar cars to buy in 2021

Jaguar's EV future is all too close; handily, its back catalogue is crammed with petrol-powered hits

By PH Staff / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Loading comments

It’s never been difficult to understand the appeal of a used Jaguar. The best ones are lavish, satisfying sports saloons and coupes, blessed with charismatic engines and fine chassis. Furthermore, only in very rare circumstances do they not depreciate pretty rapidly; what are tempting offers new become borderline irresistible a few years down the line.

The new buyer’s loss can be the canny secondhand buyer’s gain, and the attraction of a used Jag shouldn’t be underestimated given the recent confirmation of an all-electric future. Not so long ago it almost seemed that the V6 and V8 Jaguars would enjoy a long run to satisfy what demand there was; a very tangible (and worryingly near term) end to all of that draws attention back to the past masters. If you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, then Jaguar fans are destined to become painfully aware.

Here, then, we’re going to draw attention to the best Jaguar prospects in the classifieds, both old and (nearly) new. Because, of course, there’s no way that a ‘best of’ list for this storied manufacturer could only feature 21st century cars. There’s a bit of everything, too, from £2,500 to half a million, the 1960s to almost the present day, supercars to SUVs and sports cars to saloons. The Jaguar you like has probably made it to this list. May well be cheaper than you think, too…

Up to £2,500…

  • S-Type

It’s easy to be dismissive of the S-Type and its retro styling, but as an entry point to classic Jag motoring in the 2020s it’s a hard one to fault. Beneath the olde-worlde look was a great driving executive saloon, with the sort of poise to make rivals blush. For a taste of the traditional Jaguar experience, with acres of wood and yards of leather, look no further.

It’s worth seeking out a 2004-on facelifted S-Type like this one, as they are regarded as the more reliable versions. The big news back then was the introduction of a diesel engine to the S-Type range, and thus it became overwhelmingly the biggest seller, but it’s the V6 and V8 petrols that are of more interest now if it’s an authentic old Jag experience you’re after.

The cheap S-Type is certainly not a new phenomenon, particularly given the last cars were made in 2007. In fact, we’re now beginning to see it appreciate ever so slightly; those presentable cars that once existed at a grand or so are now shabby examples, and low-mileage, late S-Types are commanding £5k and upwards. This 2006 3.0 V6 remains comfortably under 100,000 miles, looks smart in blue over cream and costs exactly half that. They won’t be this cheap again…

Up to £5,000…

  • XJ (X350)

The X350 XJ was a radical departure for Jaguar – not that you would have guessed it. The lightweight, modern aluminium architecture was cloaked in a distinctly retro body, which rather did a disservice to the revolution that had happened underneath (a mistake Jaguar would eventually learn from).

Still, those that did get behind the wheel found a lighter, stiffer XJ was a superior one: faster, more efficient and even better to drive. With the then-new diesel installed, the big Jag could easily do 600 miles on a tank in supreme comfort. It was torquier than the V8 and more efficient than the V6 – the flagship Jaguar saloon had made it to the 21st century, despite what appearances suggested.

Like all its predecessors (and its replacement, in fact), the X350’s achievements couldn’t save it from the ravages of depreciation. There are scabby, high-mileage cars at £2k if you really want, and not much more than that buys good ones, with sub-100k diesels within budget. For a luxury saloon of the XJ’s calibre, that’s extraordinary value. We’d still be tempted, however, by a petrol: this V6 is a few hundred pounds over £5k, but is low mileage and looks fantastically well cared for.

Up to £10,000…

  • XK (X150)

Yes, this is the right category. Hard to believe, isn’t it? A V8-powered Jaguar grand tourer, one that’s old but not ancient, for sale with ‘£9,993’ in the advert listing. The X150 XK, in production from 2005 to 2014, is perhaps the best example here of the value on offer in a used Jag.

Look at what’s here for less than £10,000: Ian Callum design and V8 power, plus Jaguar ride and handling nous. Sure, the interior is neither the most stylish not the most spacious, but then the advances in technology have served to make a lot of car interiors from not so long ago look old before their time – the XK is certainly not unique there. Treated as a two-seater with some extra storage, the Jaguar should still make a fine GT. Because, really, what else is there for this money?

Amazingly, this is one of three XK 4.2s available for less than £10k; the 5.0-litre that came with the facelift in 2009 is an even better fit, but they remains 50 per cent more. Or, er, £15,000. While an XK will take careful maintenance to run now as an old, high performance car – the engines are tough but rust is an issue, and ‘sealed-for-life’ autos need servicing – the bargain basement prices make them hard to ignore.

Up to £15,000…

  • XFR

The XF finally saw a Jaguar saloon match modern underpinning with an appropriately contemporary exterior, to much acclaim as well. The XFR was the cherry on top of a very appealing range in 2009: more power than an E60 M5 (just), swaggering style and an interior befitting a £60k super saloon, at last. It drove superbly, of course.

Now the best Jaguar four-door in a generation is available for less than £15k . It’ll be a car with a six-figure mileage, sure, and won’t be as attention grabbing as later facelifted or XFR-S models, but for many that’s probably a good thing. The XFR trod the balance between subtlety and potency perhaps better than any other Jaguar; those who were looking knew what it was, though most just saw a smart Jag saloon.

It’s easy to imagine the XFR becoming collectible one day; not only was it leagues more desirable (and capable) than the S-Type R it replaced, the XFR never returned after this car, the second generation of XF topped merely by a supercharged six-cylinder. With that car having been discontinued a few years back, the XFR stands proud as the only true XF flagship – and what a car it was, too. The AJ-V8 will go for yonks, but this is a large, heavy, powerful rear-wheel drive car, so factor in a healthy contingency fund for tyres, brakes and suspension parts. Drive an XFR and you’ll see how easy they are to get through…

Up to £25,000…

  • XE S

The Jaguar XE has proved the value of a German badge and a great interior in the compact executive segment. Despite being competitive since launch – indeed, superior in some regards – the smallest Jaguar saloon has been consistently outsold by Audi, Mercedes and BMW alternatives. Which is a shame, because for those who like driving for its own sake there is nothing better.

That was especially true for the old XE V6 S, replaced in 2018 by a four-cylinder model. It was everything you’d want from a junior Jaguar: fast yet refined, comfortable yet exciting, stylish without being over the top. But buyers ultimately preferred alternatives like the Mercedes-AMG C43, Audi S4 and BMW 340i – pity. All good cars, no doubt, but the Jaguar was at least their equal. A shame customers didn’t see it that way.

It’s now possible to buy an early XE V6 S for just £20k. Like so many of the options on this list, it’s a heck of a lot of performance car for very little money. With the full £25k to spend, this 2017 example with just 24,000 miles is within reach. Black on black is a bit sombre, and the infotainment will lag well behind JLR’s new Pivi Pro system, but it won’t take long on the road for the XE to convince you of its charms. An underrated modern Jaguar by any measure.

Up to £35,000…

  • F-Type V8

It’s possible to pay less than £35,000 for an F-Type. It’s also possible to pay an awful lot more. For now, £35k marks a real sweet spot in the range, bringing pretty much the entire catalogue of F-Type experiences into the offing. There are early V8s, nearly new four-cylinders and V6s of every variety for hot hatch money, in both bodystyles.

The 2.0-litre cars are easy to recommend, being little more than half what a new one can cost and driving smartly; the V6s even more so, nicely blending handling dexterity with additional performance and a stirring soundtrack. But if a V8 can be found – and they do crop up now and then at £35k – then grab it and cherish it for a very long time.

Sports cars like the F-Type V8 S Roadster seem unlikely to happen again. What it lacks in precision against the lighter cars it makes up for with sledgehammer performance and caddish 5.0-litre charm. Nobody needs this level of performance (or its wanton ability to overwhelm the rear tyres) in an F-Type, but it’s very hard to resist once the forbidden fruit has been tasted. That’s why it’s our choice.

Up to £50,000…

  • F-Pace SVR

With our sensible, progressive hats on, this money would be spent on an I-Pace. Not only is it a great EV, it’s a great Jaguar, stylish and serene and a joy to drive. But we prefer our hats loud and worn at a jaunty angle – so we’ll point you in the direction of a very different type of Jaguar SUV: the F-Pace SVR.

Sure, right now, it’s a tad over budget – the very cheapest is £54k in the PH classifieds – but rest assured sub-£50k examples are likely to crop up quicker than you can say ‘depreciation’. £50,000 would be two-thirds of the new price, and while the SVR is likely to fall further, it’s perhaps the easiest of this group to let that fact slide. Not only because its rivals don’t fare much better but because, well, as an SUV, the F-Pace is apparently more desirable to most than a saloon. It’s not a great fast Jaguar that has to be excused its appearance or let off its interior because it drives well; perhaps more than any other, this is a flagship Jaguar that truly impresses across the board and to the full array of buyers. More so than ever, in fact, in facelifted form.

Like all the recent heavy hitters, the SVR’s appeal stemmed from the supercharged 5.0-litre V8. But it was part of an all-star dynamic cast, really, not stealing the show in the same way it did powering an F-Type; everything else about the F-Pace sat perfectly in sync with that storming powerplant. As such it was eminently recommendable new purchase, as capable as any other SUV but a good deal more likeable. Secondhand, the F-Pace SVR should be on any test drive list. Somewhere near the top.

Up to £75,000…

  • E-Type S2

No Jaguar countdown of any kind would be complete without an E-Type – it is, without doubt, the most famous of them all. But which to go for? With a production run of 15 years across three series on top of the E’s legendary popularity, buyers certainly aren’t short of choice – even 60 years after launch.

Common consensus for E-Types is that the earlier the better, really, which is why an S1 straight six can command twice that of an S3 V12. So at least £100,000, basically, and therefore out of this price bracket. But a really good Series 2 still sneaks in under £75k, as this one proves. A 2+2 FHC isn’t the ideal specification, but this 4.2 remains notable for having recently undergone an extensive restoration – with fewer than 1,500 miles covered since completion, in fact.

And don’t forget what was said about choice: the same money also buys this track-prepped E-Type, or this S2 Roadster, or this immaculate V12. Excluding those early cars, the choice is yours. If there’s anything more we need to explain about the E-Type’s appeal, then it’s probably not the car for you – there’s been six decades of praise to whet your appetite already…

Up to £100,000…

  • XE Project 8

Given the promise displayed by the XE S mentioned earlier, we all expected Jaguar to deliver a V8 flagship for its smallest saloon, something to properly challenge the M3 and C63 in a way they never had been from Britain. And a V8 XE is certainly what was delivered, albeit not quite the one that was expected.

An entire feature could be dedicated to what the XE SV Project 8 changed over the standard car; those who saw it as simply dropping the V8 in and charging £150k could hardly be further from the truth. When you learn about the whole front end being reengineered just to accommodate Michelin Cup 2 tyres, the bespoke aerodynamics and the fiendishly expensive suspension, the asking prices becomes a lot easier to understand.

And though the detractors were never far away, the Project 8 was sublime to drive, more aggressive than anything that had preceded it yet more composed, too, thanks to the all the work that had gone on underneath. Yet even with that, and with just 300 made, the XE hasn’t been able to hold onto its value: this car is a smidge over budget, but £105,000 after 6,000 miles meant it had to be included. Still an awful lot of money, yes, though rather more palatable than the full £150k. Given the XE didn’t exactly fly off the shelves – a Touring was created to shift the last few – it seems unlikely that an SV Project car in the same vein will happen again before 2025 comes around. Given what was achieved with the XE, that’s hard not to be a bit glum about.

Sky’s the limit…

  • XJ220

Is there anything more to say about the Jaguar XJ220? After what might be termed a tumultuous gestation, the Jag enjoyed a brief time as the fastest car in the world – and we all know what usurped that. Following many years in the doldrums – not as fast as the McLaren, not as daft as a Bugatti, lacking the V12 of a Ferrari F50 – the Jaguar has now acquired the recognition it long deserved. A few years ago £160k bought a really good one, and a smart move that’s now proven – you’ll need £400k in 2021.

But with its contemporaries typically in the millions, perhaps that isn’t so bad. And the XJ220 was no poor substitute: it really was that fast, looked utterly spectacular and possessed damn near all the drama you might hope for in an early-90s bedroom poster pin up. That switch from V12 to V6 held it back for a bit, but now the XJ220 is being celebrated as a glorious analogue throwback. A rare one, too, with fewer than 300 made – and surely one or two of those crashed, given the ‘220 was notoriously laggy. And underbraked…

This particular car, handily, has the Don Law brake upgrade, and it’s been serviced at the highly regarded specialists for more than a quarter of a century. In the trademark silver, the XJ220 is still utterly stunning to behold all these years later – quite the feat for a car once so unloved.

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