Seeing the word ‘crisis’ is never good. And when it’s preceded by ‘cost of living’, you know life is going to be affected, be that by the cost of cornflakes, electricity, or your next tow car.
But you can still spot capable used tow cars, and better still, the one we focus on here has a Jaguar badge. Yes, the X-type Estate is far more than just a Ford Mondeo (with which it shares many oily bits) in a posh suit, it was also a car the late monarch used until well into her final year. Bargain price, royal cachet – what’s not to like?
What’s a Jaguar X-type Estate like inside?
There’s no denying it, parts of the Jaguar X-type Estate’s interior have obviously been donated by Ford – but that isn’t necessarily all bad. That’s because Jaguar put the car together pretty well, and in most areas, it feels a cut above its Ford counterpart.
All models had leather trim as standard, although this still feels like a bit of a step down when compared with the Audi and BMW rivals of the era.
Nevertheless, the interior space is pretty good. There’s a reasonable amount of room for both front-seat occupants, and two adults will be comfortable enough when travelling in the rear seats, something that is important if you’re looking around for the best used car for towing a caravan.
As for boot space, the X-type Estate offers 455 litres when the rear seats are raised, and a total of 1415 litres when they’re down; that it isn’t huge, but it’s just about big enough. It certainly offers more carrying capacity than the equivalent BMW 3-Series Touring of the day.
The boot also comes with a cargo net, tie-down hooks and a power socket, while the tailgate features a rear window that can be opened separately. It’s just a shame that the rear seats don’t lie flat when folded.
Standard kit included climate control, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and automatic headlights.
How does an X-type Estate drive?
There are a couple of diesel engines available in the X-type Estate. Early cars had a smooth and punchy 2.0-litre unit, while later models were fitted with a 2.2-litre, which offered greater performance (it also appeared in the Ford Mondeo ST diesel), but was also slightly louder.
This is the unit we’d recommend for tow car drivers, because it represented the first time that Jaguar offered the combination of diesel power with an automatic gearbox, which makes progress smoother and helps when manoeuvring.
The X-type Estate drives well, too, with accurate steering that isn’t too heavy, and suspension that hits a good compromise between comfort and control.
Sport-trim models have slightly firmer suspension, which makes them even more capable on a twisty country road, with little loss of ride comfort when you’re travelling on a motorway.
Owners highlight the car’s stability on motorways, and its ability to minimise the effects of towing a trailer, as the biggest plus points, although the auto gearbox can occasionally feel a little indecisive about which gear to choose.
What you need to know about the Jaguar X-type Estate
What will the Jaguar X-type Estate tow?
- Kerbweight: 2090kg
- Towing limit: 1500kg
- Noseweight limit: 75kg
- 85% match: Above towing limit
What to pay
- High: Price: £6000; Model: 2009 2.2 D Sport; Miles: 46,000
- Sweet spot: Price: £5000; Model: 2008 2.2 D Sport; Miles 68,000
- Low: Price: £1200; Model: 2005 2.0 D SE; Miles: 181,000
- Insurance group: 34
- Annual VED: £220
- Average economy: 45.6mpg
- Interim/full service: £78/£108
- Servicing prices by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262,
Early X-type models were afflicted by an electrical problem that caused the external indicators to fail, but the internal dashboard repeater to flash as normal.
A potential short circuit between the battery terminal and a fuel injector caused another recall, as did a faulty handbrake mechanism.
Then 17,659 cars had to be recalled because of a cruise control system that might not disengage when asked.
A full list of recalls can be found at check-vehicle-recalls.service.gov.uk.
Agreed, the Jaguar X-type is cracking on a bit these days, but if you are looking for a bargain-priced and classy estate tow car that will make relatively short work of towing a caravan, it’s well worth considering.
Shop around to find a good example. And of course, it has that badge up front.
Alternatives to a Jaguar X-type Estate
Audi A4 Avant
The Avant reinforces Audi’s reputation for cars with robust interiors. Better still, you can have front-wheel drive, or Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system. The A4 is a long way from being the most spacious estate – it is based on a compact executive car. The 2.0-litre diesel is the best bet, because it combines smoothness with plenty of torque and good economy.
BMW 3-Series Touring
If you want a tow car that you can really enjoy driving when it isn’t hitched up, the Touring should be near the top of your list. It’s sporty and refined, although be aware that the ride quality can feel firm if you choose a Sport-trimmed example. As with the Audi, the BMW isn’t the car to buy if you need a workhorse – the Jaguar beats them both.
Škoda Octavia Estate
No, the Škoda doesn’t have the badge cachet of the other cars here, but if you want a car that can carry an enormous amount of stuff at the same time as feeling reasonably classy inside, you could do worse than the Octavia. There’s plenty of space for five adults, too. Avoid Classic or Ambiente trims if you can – they have a big step in the boot floor when the seats are folded.
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