Earlier this year, Jaguar revitalised the smallest of its range. Ian Robertson tests the 2009 model year X-Type, now available with a new six-speed automatic gearbox
Many industry commentators have been speculating about the future of the baby of the Jaguar range, and suggesting that new owners Tata will let the X-Type quietly pass away. Except that these reports are premature, with the revitalised executive saloon and estate seeing a mini sales boom – no doubt spurred on by interest in its bigger brother, the new XF.
Jaguar says that over 500 improvements have been made to the X-Type, and it definitely shows. For the 2009 model year, the new car receives a restyled exterior, including new front and rear bumpers, a more prominent front meshed grille with Jaguar ‘growler’ badge as well as changes to the side profile. Climb into the cabin, and appreciate the use of modern materials, including tungsten finishes, taking cues from the XF. These lift the cabin, belying the age of the X-Type design. Probably one of the most important new features is the availability of a six-speed automatic gearbox, mated to the 2.2 turbodiesel engine for the first time. This fills a gaping hole in the Jaguar range, and as well as offering the traditional automatic functions, there’s also the availability of a sequential shift for those that prefer to select their own gears. The 2.2D is a proven unit, having been previously used in Ford’s old model Mondeo ST TDCi, albeit with Jaguar’s engineers working their magic on it.
On the road, the revised X-Type feels planted and rides nicely, with the suspension feeling well damped and controlled. The steering gives plenty of feedback, although eager drivers may feel that the handling isn’t quite as sharp as a BMW 3 Series. On the motorway, the Jaguar is a comfortable cruiser, with both road and wind noise well contained. The new auto ‘box is smooth with changes barely noticeable. And while the 143bhp on tap may seem measly on paper, when translated onto the road, it is more than plenty, with bags of torque.
Buyers of estate cars tend to buy them for their carrying capacity, and the X-Type is more lifestyle tourer than serious load-lugger, with 445 litres available with the seats in the upright position. This is a little less than the BMW 3 Series Touring, with Ford’s Mondeo having around 100 litres of extra space. Still, the design is attractive and looks better than many boxier estate cars, and should provide enough cargo room for a small family.
At £29,350 for the SE model tested, it is on the pricey side when compared to its main rivals. Equipment levels are high though, with touchscreen satellite navigation, Bluetooth hands free system, front and rear parking sensors, electric and heated leather seats and 17-inch alloy wheels all fitted as standard. Most buyers of rival models would need to turn to the options list to get a similar specification. The entry level S version can be bought for £4,000 less, which may offer better value for money if you don’t need things like satellite navigation and leather seats.
The improvements to the X-Type are certainly welcome, but you can’t get away from the fact that the baby Jaguar is an ageing product, having been on sale in petrol saloon form since 2001. And while it isn’t top of the compact executive car class, what you do get is a capable, comfortable cruising machine that is well equipped compared to its rivals. Coupled with that, the X-Type has been designed in the UK and is built at Halewood in Merseyside, also home to the Land Rover Freelander 2.
ON SALE: NOW RANGE STARTS AT: £22,900 FOR ESTATE 2.0 DIESEL S
- Price: £29,350
- Engine: 2198cc, 4-cylinder turbodiesel with diesel particulate filter
- Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
- Max Power: 143bhp at 3,500rpm
- Max Torque: 266lb ft at 1,800rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,500kg
- Combined Consumption: 41.0mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 184g/km (E)
- 0-62mph: 10.3secs
- Max speed: 125mph
- Insurance group: 15
Smooth gearbox, easy to use touch-screen SatNav, quality materials, cruising ability, attractively styled, well equipped
Not as roomy as rivals, especially in the back, pricey, more lifestyle tourer than load lugger