2002 Jaguar X-TYPE
This 2002 review is representative of model years 2002 to 2008.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The new Jaguar X-TYPE all-wheel-drive sports/luxury sedan promises to be an instant hit when it goes on sale Aug. 1 in this country because it feels every inch a Jaguar and has base prices far below those of other models from this sexy automaker.
Ford, which bought Jaguar about a decade ago, wants the compact X-TYPE to be the British automaker's first high-volume car. Indeed, the fast, posh X-TYPE is expected to double Jaguar sales in the next few years. Ford paid a lot for troubled Jaguar, and then pumped a small fortune into it. A high-volume model will help it get back some of that money.
For Younger Buyers
I tested all versions of the nicely built X-TYPE on a variety of roads and a race track in the Dijon area of France, and found this model can easily compete in its tough market segment. It's more fun to drive than Jaguar's larger S-TYPE and XJ sedans, which mostly are fast, stylish luxury models. The X-TYPE can even be more entertaining than the rather soft XK8 two-seater.
(It can be argued that the costly supercharged versions of the XJ and XK are the ultimate "fun" Jaguars. In any case, Jaguar says to watch for a supercharged X-TYPE in the next few years.)
But the X-TYPE is as much fun to drive as the 3-Series sedan and has a more posh interior. The new Jaguar feels sportier than the C-Class. As for the A4, it lacks the prestigious Jaguar nameplate. And the IS 300 is too hard-edged for many buyers.
The A4 and 3-Series offer all-wheel drive, but it is optional.
This "invisible" system does not call for driver involvement and doesn't make you feel as if in an all-wheel-drive car—except for the extra traction it provides.
The 3,428-3,516-pound X-TYPE has quick, precise speed-sensitive power steering with good feedback. Strong brakes provide short stopping distances, although hard driving on the twisting track caused some brake fade after repeated, hard braking.
However, you can't get the Sport package without ordering the $2,500 Premium package, which contains such items as a power glass sunroof and power front passenger seat.
There's also a $2,200 navigation system and the $1,500 JaguarNet emergency messaging system with integrated digital cellular phone. Both also require the Premium package. Voice activation is a dealer-installed option. It allows voice control of primary functions of the audio, climate control, telephone and satellite navigation system.
Although it's an entry-level model, the X-TYPE is well equipped. The lower-priced X-TYPE has a 2.5-liter 194-horsepower V6 and items including automatic climate control, AM/FM/cassette, remote keyless entry, cruise control and power driver's seat, windows, door locks and mirrors.
Standard is a slick 5-speed manual transmission, which works with a clutch that has a reasonably short throw but feels a little dead.
Improved Automatic Shifter
The $35,590 model has a 3.0-liter 231-horsepower V6 and a no-cost choice of the manual or smooth, responsive automatic.
Jaguar is to be congratulated for offering both models with the manual. But, in fact, the S-TYPE's automatic is a 5-speed unit with an extra gear that makes it nearly as fast as an X-TYPE with the manual.
I expected the 2.5-liter model to feel considerably slower than the more-powerful model, but that wasn't the case because both engines produce lots of torque at low and mid-range speeds. Both V6s are the first transversely mounted Jaguar engines and are based on the V6 in the Jaguar S-TYPE. They're quite sophisticated, with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and continuously variable valve timing.
Expect fuel economy in the mid-to-high teens in the city and in the mid-20s on highways.
The standard driver's power seat and tilt-telescope steering column accommodate a wide range of driver sizes. Gauges are easily read and their chrome rims are a nice touch. Controls are well placed and work smoothly. But the odometer is often difficult to read quickly on sunny days.
Front seats are comfortable, although those in the optional Sport Package may prove too confining for some occupants.
The X-TYPE has the largest trunk of any Jaguar model, at 16 cubic feet. It's nicely shaped and has a fairly low, wide opening for easy cargo loading. Also, its lid raises on hydraulic struts, not old-fashioned manual hinges. But a fold-down split rear seat only comes in the Premium package.
Jaguar reliability has improved greatly, and the X-TYPE has a comprehensive 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and road-wide assistance program.
Some analysts consider the X-TYPE a big gamble for Jaguar because it's entering a really tough market and the company isn't known for entry models. But others consider the car to be a good strategic move that will let Jaguar increase volume, fill out its model lineup and draw a much larger number of younger customers.