Jaguar fans without deep pockets may have thought the day would never come when a Jag would be available for less than $30,000. Since August 2001, American devotees of the legendary British marque have been able to drive home an X-Type sport sedan for as little as $29,950 (including the destination charge).
Only minor equipment revisions are likely for the 2003 model year. Jaguars first compact sedan in more than three decades is equipped with Traction-4 all-wheel drive (AWD). Even though the X-Type is related to the Ford-built European Mondeo, only 20 percent of its components are shared with that model.
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. The sedan is 183.9 inches long overall and rides on a 106.7-inch wheelbase.
Proportion and balance are uppermost on the X-Type. Designers substituted a high tail for the traditional low tail of the past, creating what the manufacturer calls a menacing stance. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires, and an optional Sport Package includes a sport-tuned suspension and 17-inch tires.
Five occupants fit into the X-Types cockpit-style interior, which features Connolly leather and traditional wood veneer in light brown birds-eye maple. Standard equipment includes automatic climate control and integrated communication and entertainment controls for the stereo and optional telephone.
The Sport Package includes specially contoured Connolly leather sport seats, a sport steering wheel with perforated leather trim, and darker gray-stained maple trim. The Premium Package adds such extras as a glass moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers and Reverse Park Control. A navigation system is available.
Under the Hood
The 2.5-liter X-Type gets a 194-horsepower V-6 engine, which drives a five-speed-manual transmission or optional five-speed-electronic automatic. The automatic is standard with the 231-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 model, but the manual shift is a no-cost option. AWD 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 on the X-Type 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, twisting two-lane roads, the X-Type demonstrated 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 runs exceptionally quietly and exhibits complete evidence of solid, careful construction. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and the driving position is inviting.