I recommend the Jaguar X-type for those who are looking for an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a smooth ride and great handling, provided you get a Jaguar Certified or similar non-dealer warranty. Within...
I recommend the Jaguar X-type for those who are looking for an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a smooth ride and great handling, provided you get a Jaguar Certified or similar non-dealer warranty. Within 2 months of buying mine, and with only 32K miles, it needed a new transfer case. Apparently it's not so uncommon for this model, and would have cost well over $2500 if I didn't have the warranty. Mine was replaced by the local dealer free of charge.
In spite of that dismaying start, the car is very satisfying so far. The ride is remarkably smooth and acceleration is good with the 235hp 3-liter engine, although not immediate as one might hope for. (The claimed spec was 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds, but that might be with the manual; the automatic feels closer to 8.) The handling feels very solid and precise.
Seating comfort is excellent in the front, and very good in the back for those under 5'8" -- anyone over that may feel cramped for knee room. The trunk is spacious at 15+ cubic feet, and has a fairly large opening as well as 60/40 folding rear seats for pass-through storage if needed. Visibility is very good. The interior controls are mostly easy to find and use, except for some cryptic radio controls.
There are a few climate-control quirks that I still haven't quite figured out: The A/C comes on automatically if you change some of the temperature settings, even on a cold day when you really just need heat. The Recirculation button turns off by itself after 10 minutes (but I suppose that prevents even the slight chance of carbon-monoxide poisoning?). So do the dual-level front seat heaters, which work very well otherwise.
A couple of features I wish I had: integrated garage-door openers, power-seat controls for the front passenger, and accompanying memory settings -- available in a premium luxury package that is very rare. Other desirable but rare options are navigation and a CD changer. Mine does has a rear parking warning beeper, but I am never sure how many inches remain to the car or wall behind even when the beeps get fast.
Fuel economy is mediocre but tolerable at around 20 mpg in mixed driving, or up to maybe 25 on the highway. But it drinks only Premium, my deah. And it has only a 16-gallon tank, so its range is a somewhat short 300 miles in the city.
As for the styling, Ahh. The front end is gorgeous, with the classic, almost nostalgic oval headlights, crowned by the leaping Jaguar and a sculpted hood sweeping back from there. The rear is not so inspiring but still classy. From the side, the shortened length makes it clear this is more like a "baby Jaguar" and not a svelt "adult" like an XJ. The design of the alloy wheels (there were 2 or 3 options) and color can help compensate. (I have Metallic Red, which is nice, but I might have preferred light or dark blue. Other decent choices are Jaguar Racing Green, silver, topaz, or gold.
But whatever color you find, make sure you get a good warranty, or are willing to take chances. Many X-types have needed transmission work, and engine oilpan leaks seem to be common with the early model years from 2002 to 2006. Even a 2007-08 model with low miles could need an expensive repair such as a new transfer case, as mine did.
Given that, how can I recommend such a car? As a fellow Jaguar owner commented, you live with it and accept that when you start your relationship: like beautiful women, Jaguars tend to be high-maintenance. If you want reliability (or the best fuel economy, or practicality), look elsewhere. If you want real beauty and a smooth but athletic ride, set aside some funds for a Jaguar and Enjoy.