Best used executive/luxury cars 2013
Best used Executive/Luxury Car less than £10,000 – and category winner
BMW 320d SE ('07/57)
Dealer price £9000
Private price £8600
Official fuel economy 42.2mpg
CO2 emissions 153g/km
Annual road tax £175
Insurance group 28
Euro NCAP rating Pre-2009 test gave five stars for adults, four for children
The BMW 3 Series outshines far more expensive cars with its remarkable blend of refinement, cabin quality and comfort – yet all for a relatively modest price. As little as £8600 will buy you the 3 Series produced before the current-generation car, and the one that set the benchmark for how a compact executive car should handle. It grips well and feels poised, while the steering is very precise. The suspension is firm, but never overly so.
All drivers should be able to get comfortable because there's plenty of adjustment to the front seats and the steering wheel, and all but the tallest passengers will find the back seats a spacious place to sit, too.
The 3 Series can also be very frugal. The 2.0-litre diesel 320d was given more power in 2007, with 174bhp and a healthy 251lb ft of torque, making it quick to accelerate in any gear – yet you can expect to better 40mpg.
SE trim is the best value. It adds reversing sensors and a multi-function steering wheel to the alloy wheels and front foglights of ES models, while all 3 Series models get a CD player, air-con and all-round electric windows as standard.
Best used Executive/Luxury Car more than £10,000
Jaguar XF 2.7D V6 Luxury ('09/58)
Dealer price £16,200
Private price £15,100
Official fuel economy 37.6mpg
CO2 emissions 199g/km
Annual road tax £260
Insurance group 41
Euro NCAP rating na
The Jaguar XF has suffered slightly steeper depreciation than last year's winner in this category, the Audi A6, but this means it's now the best value for used car buyers.
It's a worthy winner, in any case. It feels and drives like a proper executive car should, with nicely weighted steering, good body control and a 2.7-litre V6 diesel engine which is both strong and smooth, making it a fine motorway cruiser.
At those higher speeds, there's little noise in the cabin, which seats four in comfort. Luxury trim is the entry-level choice, but its kit list none the less includes sat-nav, climate control, electric leather seats and parking sensors.
over 3 years