Car of the month : July 2009
Jaguar has all-but confirmed that the X-TYPE won’t be replaced when it drops out of production in 2010, and a lack sales in the USA is probably the reason for this decision. But just because the Americans didn’t go for it, doesn’t mean it’s a bad car… and Ken Strachan, a man who’s been in the business a very long time, is very positive about his latest aquisition.
What do you think? Was JLR wrong to put this car out to pasture?
Words and pictures: Ken Strachan
Grace, pace and space..?
THE Jaguar X-TYPE has come in for a lot of stick as being a dressed-up Ford Mondeo. And what’s wrong with that? Jaguar started out in (four-wheeled) business by putting more stylish bodies onto the Austin 7 chassis. The Austin was then an advanced and capable little car, but not glamorous; today’s Mondeo is an excellent car let down only by bland styling and an all too common badge.
Having driven everything from a Bombardier Can-Am to a flatbed Iveco Cargo – including a number of XJ40 development vehicles – I know what I want from my vehicles. My X-TYPE was actually chosen as a business tool, the factory satnav being essential for travelling to see clients, while the Bluetooth connection means I can talk to them on the move.
But grace, space, and pace are also priorities; along with some understated British style.
First impressions: I love the styling and the colour. Even if you don’t like the looks, you must admit, you won’t mistake it for a BMW or a Peugeot. There’s a faint whiff of leather as you open the door, and a nice blend of colours and textures as you enter. The seat still fits like a glove after 95,000 miles.
The engine starts promptly, has enough power to endanger my licence. It also has enough torque to lope up quite steep hills. The gearshift could be mistaken for an RWD setup, which is high praise in my book. The steering wheel looks and feels fine, and the steering is perfectly weighted at all speeds. Excellent brakes, a very stable chassis. Seats and a steering column which adjust every which way. A nice big satnav screen – still learning how to programme it! Thoughtful interior design, with lots of cubby holes. A slightly stiff ride around town, but fine out of town. Powerful automatic air conditioning.
Could I criticize anything? Of course. Obtrusive stitching behind the steering wheel spokes. A centre cubby box lid slightly too high. No room for a left foot rest. The automatic headlights sometimes come on in main beam, which is a bit selfish when they are Xenons.
But these are nitpicks. It’s a great looking car which provides a wonderful, sporting, yet effortless driving experience. I expect 50+ mpg, with all the speed I need. I think my smile will take some time to fade.
What do you think?