| A Week at the Wheel | Cambs, England | Jaguar X-Type Estate 2.2D Auto |
Inside & Out:
Jaguar's latest revisions include subtle modifications around the front end where the grille treatment lends the car additional presence. It certainly looks fresher and stands apart from the older generations of X-Type
but the heavily sculpted nose remains a major point of conjecture and hasn't aged well. We've always preferred the estate, not just because it's more practical and roomy but also because it looks better than the saloon, the rounded rear more cohesive and balanced than the somewhat awkward four-door.
Interior wise the X-Type has evolved into quite a pleasant place to be with a fine level of fit and finish complementing the opulence of the test car's extensive leather. Space remains at a premium in the cabin with conditions being a little tight for a full cargo of adults. The picture is much better in the rear though where the split tailgate affords excellent means of access to the large and flat load space.
Engine & Transmission:
One of the main features of this facelift is the new six-speed gearbox and accordingly that is the area to which one's focus is drawn. That's not to say that the 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine isn't worthy of a mention; it's well mannered, refined and muscular and proves to be a fine partner to the new self shifter. The 'box itself does a good job of slurring through the ratios whilst utilising a shift strategy that ensures it plays to the strengths of the diesel's low-rev torque. Sport mode provides a little more control although somewhat ironically it's more useful for short shifting up the gearbox rather than deriving more performance from it. All out pace of 0-60mph in a shade less than 10 seconds is representative of the class but gives around a second away to the manual car, such is the energy sapped by the transmission. This parasitic loss is reflected in the disappointing economy too: we failed to return better than an average of 37mpg - a figure that doesn't compare well with BMW's latest offerings.
Ride & Handling:
Jaguar's X-Type has always enjoyed a good chassis - hardly surprising given its close relations to the Mondeo, itself a very capable car. This version, with the diesel and automatic gearbox, lends itself well to a more cruise orientated attitude. You can push the X-Type along and there is a good level of grip available but it lacks the outright fluency and agility of some competitors, pushing the nose wider, earlier. Instead the focus is on ride comfort and compliancy and the X-Type scores well in those respects.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money:
Unfortunately, whilst the new six-speed automatic does wonders for refinement and relaxation it hammers fuel consumption. Jaguar's own figures reflect a 10% penalty for the auto option with a combined cycle figure of 41mpg. In practice we couldn't match that: a figure of 37mpg from a tank during a long cruise was the peak during the test week and a result that doesn't compare too favourably with rivals that have nudged 45-50mpg in our hands. The CO2
emissions of 184g/km further reinforces the issue and could prove expensive come budget time given the tax implications.
Our test car was kitted out with the full raft of extras, some more useful than others. Specifying some of the more expensive extras does push the price up into what must be considered to be more premium territory. The more expensive you make it, the harder to argue the case for the X-Type.
Age has not been kind to the X-Type and whereas the facelift and gearbox have reinvigorated the car the combined changes have not bridged the gap to the class leaders, instead keeping pace with the plethora of new offerings on the market. This is the X-Type the market needed to begin with, but it's too late for Jaguar to reap the full rewards for its endeavours.