How can you not like a car as visually clean and elegant as the X-Type? Two early overheating problems curbed our feelings a bit, but in the end we found the small Jag to be a pleasurable touring sedan.
Our long-term Jaguar X-Type has left us, and with little fanfare. No editors were left weeping for more time in it, but just the same none remarked, "Good riddance."
Truth be told, our X-Type faced a losing battle from the beginning. Our Jaguar saga started off with the X-Type, known as the "affordable ," arriving optioned to the hilt at $46,320. It wouldn't surprise us if it holds the title of the most expensive X-Type in the country, and it's doubly rare because it had the 231-bhp 3.0-liter V-6 and the 5-speed manual, the latter especially hard to find. To make matters worse, there were comments about its humble Ford Mondeo beginnings not being worthy of the Jaguar name.
On the side it looked every inch a Jaguar; the X-Type is one good-looking car and the only other car on the road it could be mistaken for is...another Jaguar. Add all-wheel drive, the willing V-6, the usual Jaguar excellent coordination of ride and handling and a comfortable, if snug, interior.
For that very steep price, it certainly had all the luxury features to keep automotive journalists pampered: leather interior with sport seats up front (the driver's with eight-way power), bird's-eye maple dash trim, cruise control, Alpine 6-disc CD stereo, electric moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, trip computer, heated front seats and headlamp washers, along with Dynamic Stability Control, a sport suspension, a navigation system and auto-leveling xenon headlamps.
Despite the high price, the Jag didn't give drivers a whole lot of confidence when it overheated twice early on — at 12,500 miles and then again at 19,500 — both times leaving the drivers stranded on the side of the road. The first was the result of a bad thermostat and the second, a faulty powertrain control module. Both were fixed under warranty, but should this happen at less than 20,000 miles with a modern car? It bears noting that the only other problem we had was totally minor — a headlamp power washer jet cover fell off, replaced under warranty. And the Jag also benefited from free scheduled maintenance every 10,000 miles during our test, a nice cost-saving measure.
More than anything else, what frustrated editors was the drivetrain. The clutch take-up point was very hard to find, causing jerky starts in town and making it hard to achieve that perfectly smooth shift. Also not helping matters was the rubbery, imprecise 5-speed gearbox and a slow-to-react throttle. If editors knew they were going to be taking a trip with some curvy roads (read lots of shifting), the Jag was usually left at home.
On the positive side, the X-Type is an excellent highway machine and has fine back road handling manners (the latter unfortunately not exploited enough because of the drivetrain) with good steering feel and ample grip. The engine has nice power and makes pleasing sounds.
The exterior also held up exceptionally well. Unlike some of our long-term cars, which end up with heavily battle-scarred paint, the Jag survived looking almost brand-new; a real tribute to the excellent paint quality. The interior was even more pristine; the items usually showing signs of wear — the leather shift knob and steering wheel, along with the driver's seat left-side bolster — looked as if they had hardly been used, although our mileage attests otherwise.
To put our X-Type 3.0 into perspective, we borrowed an automatic-equipped version with the 194-bhp 2.5-liter V-6. This car stickered at just a bit over $31,000, yet was hardly a stripped-down car. And because of the excellent automatic, we preferred it to our long-termer despite having the smaller engine. And for sure, it is more in keeping with the target price Jag intended for the X-Type.
Looking solely at the two mechanical breakdowns and the low resale value does not do justice to the X-Type. It is a fine machine that actually had far fewer problems than many cars we've tested recently. And it is one of the prettiest and most distinctive cars in its class. Just don't opt for the manual transmission.
Be sure to check out our of this long-term test.