Category winner...

CHOOSING A WINNER for our used car scheme award, sponsored by Warranty Direct, was a bit of an undertaking. All offer a mechanical inspection, for example, but the number of checks that these inspections incorporate can vary wildly. Nearly all offer a year’s warranty, but some are more generous and offer two. And so it goes on, from mileage limits and breakdown recovery details to a host of other criteria that vary from scheme to scheme.

We discovered many schemes that seem to offer a lot of one thing but little of another, and some that offer all the essentials but little else.

In the end, one emerged above all others as a straightforward scheme that clearly offers the used car buyer an exceptional deal. Step forward, Jaguar and Land Rover Approved – actually two separate schemes but emanating from one parent company and so close in execution as to count as one overall winner here.

For starters, the two schemes cover cars as old as five years and with up to 100,000 miles on the clock, meaning you don’t have to splash out on a nearly new car to get the benefits. Those benefits include a 24-month, unlimited-mileage warranty – significantly more than most – and a 165-point mechanical check. You also get two years’ breakdown cover, including car hire and accommodation, and a warranted mileage, along with seven days’ worth of complimentary insurance and a good 30-day or 1000-mile exchange guarantee. All of this adds up to secure Jaguar and Land Rover’s schemes a victory over the excellent ones offered by our runners-up, Kia and Mitsubishi.

The Kia scheme is very impressive, especially its full service history guarantee and 60-day exchange policy. But Kia’s headline-grabbing offer, the seven-year warranty, is dimmed a little in our eyes by the scheme only applying to cars up to 18 months old. The Mitsubishi scheme, which also guarantees a full service history but covers cars up to 10 years old with an upper mileage limit of 100,000, is also highly commended.