Jaguar fans without deep pockets may have never imagined that a Jag would be priced below $30,000. But since the 2002 model year, American devotees of the legendary British marque have been able to drive home an X-Type sport sedan for such a sum.
Jaguars first compact sedan in more than three decades is equipped with Traction-4 all-wheel drive. The X-Type is related to the Ford-built European Mondeo, but only 20 percent of its components are shared with that model.
A restructured Sport Package for the X-Type 3.0 in 2004 includes 18-inch alloy wheels, perforated leather seat upholstery, a rear spoiler and a 320-watt premium sound system. All X-Type models get restyled alloy wheels for the 2004 model year.
Classic styling themes on the X-Type are familiar to Jaguar aficionados and include a traditional forward-leaning grille augmented by some sporty modern touches. Elliptical quad halogen headlights are installed, and xenon high-intensity-discharge units are optional. Fog lights are integrated into the lower front fascia.
Proportion and balance are of prominent importance on the X-Type. Designers substituted a high tail for the traditional low tail of the past, and this styling creates what the manufacturer calls a menacing stance. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires on the 2.5 sedan and 17-inchers on the 3.0 edition.
Five people fit in the cockpit-style interior, which features Connolly leather and traditional wood veneer in birds-eye maple. Standard equipment includes automatic climate control and integrated controls for the stereo and optional telephone.
A Luxury Package includes 17-inch forged-alloy wheels, Reverse Park Aid, an eight-way power passenger seat, rain-sensing wipers and a 320-watt Alpina stereo with a trunk-mounted CD changer. A navigation system is available.
Under the Hood
The 2.5-liter X-Type gets a 192-horsepower V-6 engine that drives a five-speed-manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic. The automatic is standard in models equipped with the 227-hp, 3.0-liter V-6, but a manual shift is a no-cost option. All-wheel drive normally sends 40 percent of engine power to the front wheels, but it can deliver a split as great as 80/20 when necessary.
Standard features include dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and side curtain-type airbags for front and rear occupants. Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are standard.
Because its structurally related to the Ford Mondeo, many wondered whether the X-Type was truly a Jaguar when it debuted. The X-Type is no Jaguar wannabe. Instead, its an eager-performing, competent-handling sedan thats able to carry on the companys illustrious heritage.
On wet, twisty, two-lane roads, the X-Type can demonstrate its handling skills at every curve and corner. Responding quickly and surely to steering inputs, the sedan is confident and surefooted at all speeds. Even on moderately imperfect pavement, the ride is sheer pleasure. Rougher patches can produce some jostling, but the car corrects itself crisply without excessive rebounding by the taut suspension.
Acceleration with the larger engine is vigorous, supremely confident and helped by crisp automatic-transmission operation. The X-Type is exceptionally quiet and exhibits evidence of solid, careful construction. The seats are comfortable and supportive.