Used test: BMW 3 Series vs Jaguar XE vs Volkswagen Passat - cost

The 3 Series has been a regular favourite with used buyers, but can it fight off the challenge from the better-to-drive Jaguar XE or more spacious VW Passat?...

BMW 3 Series 12-19 boot

What will they cost? 

The Passat emits the most CO2 (not necessarily surprising considering it is the biggest car here), but not by enough to stick it into a higher VED band: all three will cost you £30 per year to tax. 

As far as fuel economy goes, non of the cars got anywhere near their official average, but all managed a figure in the mid-40s. The 3 Series proved to be the most frugal at 47.5mpg, followed by the Passat with 45.4mpg, while the  Jaguar consumed the most, averaging just 44.9mpg.  

Jaguar XE 15-pres boot

The VW is by far the cheapest of our trio to insure and service, while the difference between the 3 Series and XE is so slight over our hypothetical three year period as to be the equivalent of half a tank of diesel in favour of the XE in terms of cost. 

The Passat is the most generously equipped. Like all of these cars, it comes with 18in alloys, climate and cruise controls, automatic lights and wipers, keyless start and rear parking sensors, but it also adds parking sensors at the front, power-folding door mirrors and an adaptive cruise control system.

VW Passat 15-pres boot

The Jaguar comes with xenon headlights and heated front seats, and a lane-departure warning system and speed limit sign recognition. Both it and the Passat come with automatic emergency braking as standard, whereas BMW charges extra for this important safety feature.

If you’re looking for something reliable, choose the 3 Series. According to our most recent survey data, the BMW should give you the least trouble, although 14th place out of a class of 22 executive cars is nothing to shout about. The Passat finished in 19th, while the XE came dead last with owners reporting faults in all areas surveyed, and some even facing bills ranging from £500 to £1500.

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