New smaller petrol-electric hybrid sees Lexus GS take on 2.0-litre turbodiesels in the executive sector
On test: Jaguar X-type 2.0-litre Sport review (2001-2007 model)
- Bodystyle:4-door saloon
- Engine:2.0-litre V6 154bhp
- Fuel type:Petrol
- Transmission:5-speed manual
- Date of test:January 2003
What is it?
The X-Type is Jaguar's first genuine foray into the big volume compact executive market that's dominated by the BMW 3 Series. There are three engine choices, all V6s, of 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0-litre capacities. The 2.0-litre is the entry-level model; as such it only comes with front-wheel-drive, rather than the four-wheel-drive which is standard on the 2.3 and 3.0-litre derivatives. It's the car that Jaguar vehemently denied it would make, at launch they insisted that the X-Type would only be available with all four wheels driven. It was no secret though that the front-wheel-drive car would eventually be made available. In sport guise, tested here, it benefits from tighter suspension, sports seats and the other usual accoutrements which come with such a badge - larger alloys, front fog lamps and a sports steering wheel.
Where does it fit?
The X-Type is the entry-level model in the Jaguar range, sited below the S-Type and the XJ models. It competes against the ubiquitous 3 Series BMW, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and the Lexus IS200. The 2.0-litre is the base model in the range. Coming in at under £20,000 in standard form Sport specification adds around £2,250 to the list price. For that you get the improved support and electrical adjustment of the sports seats and sports suspension among other equipment. The X-Type range is limited compared to its rivals, only coming in saloon form, and only featuring petrol engines - diesels are not expected until late 2003/early 2004 - limiting its appeal to business customers.
Is it for you?
The X-Type really is intended to be the Jaguar for everybody. The Coventry firm hopes to steal sales away from its German rivals - even a small proportion of their massive sales would be good news for Jaguar. The X-Type isn't as overtly sporting as its chosen adversaries, but Jaguar has managed to find a nice balance between sporting feel and cosseting comfort. The smallest engine in the range, badged 2.0-litre, is actually a 2.1-litre and delivers 154bhp. Performance is brisk rather than startling, that engine needing worked hard to keep up with its rivals. If you're not fussed by outright performance and would like to have something rather than the all-too-easy BMW/Mercedes/Audi on your drive then the Jaguar might prove just the car.
What does it do well?
The X-Type is a classy looking machine and it's also available cheaper than you think if you're prepared to search around. It feels solid, surefooted - even in front-wheel-drive guise tested here - the cabin too is unmistakably Jaguar. The sports seats offer good support and comfort, all the better should you decide to explore the X-Type's enjoyable handling. It cossets like few other cars in this class, the ride having Jaguar's excellent compromise setting between sports and comfort - even with the Sport version's sports suspension.
What doesn't it do well?
The range is limited to petrol engines and is likely to remain so for some time yet - limiting the X-Type's appeal to business drivers. The weighty steering suits enthusiastic drivers, but for others it might feel a touch heavy. Similarly, the gearbox needs a firm shove - smooth shifting isn't helped either by the heavy clutch pedal. Space in the rear is only just class competitive - which means there's enough room for children - but adults are likely to find it a touch cramped. Trim in early cars felt a bit flimsy; the car we tested felt far better built than previous examples. The boot, while reasonably long, is shallow, and a split/fold rear seat is an option - as is a CD player - if superminis can come thus specified a £20,000 junior executive should too.
What's it like to live with?
The X-Type comes with a three year unlimited mileage warranty, and there's been no reports of any particular problems. Early cars had some iffy trim, so if you're buying used make sure the glovebox and cubbies lid's and catches all work. The gearchange is rather obstructive, though over time you'll get used to its characteristics. If you're intending on carrying a lot in the boot there are better choices out there and big mileage drivers must lament the fact that the X-Type is not yet available with a diesel powerplant. Expect one late 2003.
Would we buy it?
The X-Type is aimed at the type of young, thrusting execs that buy BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4. It's only been partially successful; the limited model range - there's no diesels as yet and no estate or coupe either - means it's not sold as well as Jaguar had hoped. Its less than anticipated sales have resulted in a fairly extensive over stock of them - meaning there are some fairly impressive deals to be had. If you're taken by the looks, which in our eyes are bit clumsy, and are not looking for a diesel then the X-Type might be just the thing. In 2.0-litre guise it needs working fairly hard to maintain progress compared to its larger engined four-wheel-drive siblings. Overall, front-drive only doesn't lessen the X-Type's appeal, it's just that its rivals do it all that bit better, and have a wider range on offer too.
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