2002 Jaguar X-Type
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by Greg Wilson


New to the compact luxury sedan class, the Jaguar X-Type offers the choice of two V6 engines, 5 speed manual or automatic transmissions, standard all-wheel-drive, and classic Jaguar styling inside and out. The base X-Type 2.5 starts at $42,950 but can climb over $50,000 with options.



Not quite a Jaguar

Until the X-Type came along, Jaguar was the only major import luxury car manufacturer without a compact, entry-level sedan. Generally, these small luxury sedans are the best-selling models in the manufacturer’s lineup and they attract younger buyers, so Jaguar had good reasons for wanting their own small sedan.

But rather than develop an all-new model, Jaguar chose to leverage its association with owner Ford Motor Company and develop a sedan based on the recently redesigned European Ford Mondeo – a car that was sold here as the Contour and Mystique before being withdrawn from the North American market in 2000.

It’s not the first time Jaguar has got some help from its parent – the mid-sized Jaguar S-Type shares a similar platform and powertrains with the Lincoln LS.

From a financial point of view, using common platforms makes sense – the X-Type shares the Mondeo’s basic platform, manual transmission, fuel pump, windshield, and modified versions of Ford’s 2.5 litre and 3.0 litre Duratec V6 engines. Whereas the S-Type shared approximately 40% of its parts with the LS, Jaguar says only 20% of the X-Type’s parts come from the Mondeo. I’m not sure how Jaguar calculated that figure, but I’m guessing they’re talking about identical parts rather than modified parts.

For the consumer, the question is, “Does the X-Type have the time-honoured qualities of a past Jaguars – such as great handling, torquey engine, opulent interior, and inspiring styling – or is it just a Mondeo that looks like a Jaguar?”

The answer lies somewhere in the middle..


Jaguar styling, inside and out


2002 Jaguar X-Type
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Certainly, the X-Type is instantly recognizable as a Jaguar. It borrows familiar styling traits from other Jaguars — from the XJ8, it borrows the quad headlamps and sculpted hood, a slightly flatter Jaguar chrome grille and hood-mounted leaping Jaguar ornament. From the S-Type, it borrows the rounded roof and semi-circular rear side window, the distinctive body crease which runs through the door handles, triangular taillights and raised trunk lip, and dual exhaust pipes.

Inside too, there’s no doubt that this is a Jaguar. The X-Type’s luxurious interior is much like other, more expensive Jaguar models. It features rich Connolly leather upholstery, extensive birds-eye maple wood trim on the dash, console and doors, and chrome door handles. The fit and finish is excellent. And there are unique Jaguar features, such as ‘J’ shaped automatic transmission shift gate pattern.

Unique to the X-Type is all-wheel-drive, a significant departure from the traditional rear-wheel-drive layout of present and past Jaguars. In Europe, Jaguar has plans to bring out a less expensive, front-wheel-drive version of the X-Type.

2002 Jaguar X-Type
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The X-Type’s all-wheel-drive system is a true all-wheel-drive system. It uses a viscous coupling and planetary gear centre differential to split the engine’s front/rear torque 40/60, providing instant traction should either front or rear wheels slip. As well, the X-type is offered with optional Dynamic Stability Control, a computerized anti-skid system that helps the car maintain directional control when going around a slippery bend.

Another important difference between this Jaguar and other Jaguar sedans is the availability of a manual transmission. A five-speed manual is standard on the base 2.5 litre model and is a no-cost option on the 3.0 litre model (which has a standard 5-speed automatic transmission).

As I mentioned, the X-Type is available with two V6 engines: a 194 horsepower 2.5 litre DOHC 24 valve V6, and a 231 horsepower 3.0 litre DOHC 24 valve V6. My test car was a well-equipped 2.5 litre model with the optional 5-speed automatic transmission.


Interior luxurious but not particularly roomy


2002 Jaguar X-Type
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The X-Type will seat five, but four is more comfortable. My impression is that the X-Type has a smaller interior than the A4 or the C240, due in part to its lower roofline. It isn’t cramped: front legroom and headroom is OK and rear legroom is adequate with plenty of room for the feet under the raised front seats.

The drivers faces handsome, round gauges with a green and black background, white numerals, and metal trim; and a leather-bound steering wheel with a prominent Jaguar crest in the middle — the steering wheel includes audio and cruise controls near the hub.

In the centre of the dash, the control panel has a large LCD screen which displays functions for the automatic climate control which worked flawlessly during my test-drive. A standard 120 watt AM/FM/cassette stereo offers excellent, clear, distortion-free sound, but I noticed the radio has a ‘Seek’ function but not a ‘Tune’ function. My car had the optional six-disc CD changer, which is located in the trunk.

Power windows, power mirrors and power door locks are all standard but unlike most luxury cars, the X-Type doesn’t have a separate ‘unlock’ button for the power door locks — you have to pull the door button or door handle.

2002 Jaguar X-Type
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Useful features include an open storage bin in the lower left dash area that could be used for a garage door opener, phone, or coins; an armrest between the seats that includes two, albeit rather small, storage compartments; and a single cupholder next to the centre handbrake lever.

For rear passengers, there are two rear height-adjustable head restraints and three three-point seatbelts, but the rear seat is really only wide enough for two adults. A folding rear armrest between the seats features two built-in cupholders, and magazines, newspapers, and small items can be stored in the two map pockets on the back of the front seats or pockets in the rear doors.

The optional 70/30 split folding rear seatbacks can only be released from the trunk, preventing unauthorized access to the trunk from inside the passenger cabin. The opening to the trunk is wide, but rather narrow. The X-Type’s trunk is one of the biggest in its class (453 litres/16.0 cu. ft.), but it doesn’t look that big. It’s deep but shallow.


Driving impressions


2002 Jaguar X-Type
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Before I could conduct any driving impressions, I had to get in to the car, which proved more difficult than I expected. The X-Type has those attractive, but hard-to-grip flip-up exterior door handles. Unfortunately, my test car had an uncooperative driver’s door handle that refused to release the door on three separate occasions. I discovered that the driver’s door was not latching properly when closed leading to the exterior door handle malfunction. The solution was to slam the door hard. Not something I expected in a modern Jaguar.

Once in, I found myself in a comfortable driver’s seat surrounded by that rich, luxurious-looking interior. With a power driver’s seat which includes height and lumbar adjustment, generous foot room and a dead pedal to rest the left foot, and a manually tilt/telescopic steering wheel, it’s not difficult to find a good driving position. Outward visibility is very good except to the rear because the rear deck is a bit high and the right-rear head restraint hinders visibility when shoulder-checking.

The base 2.5 litre V6 engine is no slouch. 194 horsepower is a lot of horsepower for a normally-aspirated 2.5 litre V6 engine, and the X-Type’s performance is comparable or better than other cars in its class. The X-Type with an automatic transmission does 0 to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds, just a tenth of a second slower to 100 km/h than the BMW 325Xi and quicker than the A4 1.8T by a half second and the Mercedes-Benz C240 by a whole second (performance data supplied by Roadcompanion.ca).

The X-Type’s spirited 2.5 litre V6 engine revs higher than competitor’s engines – it develops peak horsepower at 6800 rpm and peak torque of 180 lb-ft at 3000 rpm. That compares to the 325Xi’s inline 2.5 litre six cylinder engine with peak horsepower of 184 @ 6000 rpm and peak torque of 175 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm. The X-Type’s engine is not as smooth as the BMW’s, but it provides strong, even acceleration throughout the rev range, and works well with the standard 5-speed automatic transmission. With a manual transmission, the X-Type should be even quicker.

2002 Jaguar X-Type
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Still, some of the X-Type’s competitors with turbocharged four cylinder engines, such as the Volvo S40, Audi A4 1.8T, and Saab 9-3, develop their maximum torque around 2000 rpm giving them the edge in the 30 to 50 km/h acceleration times. These cars however, are not as quick off the line due to turbo lag.

Like other Jaguars, the X-Type’s automatic transmission gate is in the shape of a large ‘J’. On the right side is ‘PRND’ and over to the left is ‘4,3,2’ for manual shifting. The manual shift mode is not a sequential gearbox like Porsche’s Tiptronic, but it is a clutchless way of manually shifting and holding particular gears to obtain maximum performance.

In automatic mode, the 5 speed automatic is a very, smooth competent, responsive transmission that includes a driver-selectable Sport mode for more aggressive shifting patterns.

I experienced a minor problem when shifting into Park. After putting the transmission into Park, I had trouble pulling out the ignition key. I discovered that the gear lever had to be pressed more firmly into the Park position in order to extricate the key. Maybe I just need to be more assertive..

2002 Jaguar X-Type
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Cruising along the freeway, the X-Type has a quiet comfortable cabin, and the motor runs at about 2,200 rpm at 100 km/h and 2,700 rpm at 120 km/h. Fuel consumption is about average for a compact, all-wheel-drive luxury car: 12.5 l/100 km (23 mpg) in the city and 8.3 l/100 km (34 mpg) on the highway. That’s exactly the same fuel consumption as the BMW 325Xi, and like the BMW, the X-Type uses expensive Premium gasoline.

Cornering limits are very high, and the X-Type can be thrown fearlessly into tight corners with controllable understeer and minimal body lean. However, I felt the independent suspension (front MacPherson struts/rear 4-link) needed better damping, and the car is not as balanced as a BMW 325Xi or Mercedes-Benz C240. The steering is responsive and accurate, but again, not quite as good as its German competitors.

The X-Type’s four wheel disc brakes with ABS are very powerful — it stops from 100 km/h in 40.2 metres (132 ft.). That’s comparable with stopping distances for the Audi A4, BMW 325Xi and Mercedes-Benz C240.


Competitor overview

The X-Type is longer, wider and slightly lower than its major competitors: for example, the X-Type is 201 mm longer, 50 mm wider, and 43 mm lower than a BMW 325Xi — however, some of the BMW’s height difference can be accounted for by the BMW’s higher ground clearance.

Competitors for the $42,950 X-Type 2.5 include the all-wheel-drive BMW 325iX sedan ($42,100), the Audi A4 1.8T AWD ($37,225), the rear-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz C240 Classic ($37,950), Saab 9-3 ($32,000), and the front-wheel-drive Volvo S40 ($31,495) and Mazda Millenia ($42,150).

The $49,950 X-Type 3.0 would compete with the BMW 330Xi ($49,700), Audi A4 3.0 quattro ($44,495), Mercedes-Benz C320 ($50,600), Lexus ES 300 ($43,400), Lexus IS300 ($39,440), Acura 3.2TL ($37,000), Nissan Maxima GLE ($36,900) and Infiniti I35 ($39,500).


Price and features


2002 Jaguar X-Type
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The X-Type 2.5 starts at $42,950. Option packages are: the Sport Package ($2,000) which includes 17 inch sport alloy wheels and tires, sport-tuned suspension, front sport seats, grey stained wood veneer, black side window trim, and rear spoiler; and a Premium Package ($2,000) which includes 70/30 split folding rear seats, rain sensing wipers, power lumbar support, trip computer, reverse parking sensors, and auto dimming rearview mirror.

Stand-alone options include: automatic transmission ($1,490), a Navigation system ($3,900), Dynamic Stability Control ($1,000), Premium 180 watt sound system with 6-disc CD changer ($1,650), moonroof ($1,550), power passenger seat ($600), high intensity discharge headlamps ($1,150).

As tested my test car came to $53,060. X-Types are built in Halewood, England.


Verdict

The X-Type has smashing good looks, a sumptuous interior, and competitive performance figures, but lacks the refinement and the precision driving experience of its major German competitors. Then there’s the matter of that sticky door handle..


Technical Data:

2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5
Base price $42,950
Freight $670
Price as tested $53,060
Type 4-door, 5 passenger compact luxury sedan
Layout transverse front engine/all-wheel-drive
Engine 2.5 litre V6, DOHC, 24 valves
Horsepower 194 @ 6800 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Transmission 5-speed automatic (std. 5 speed manual)
Tires Continental Contact 205/55R-16
Curb weight 1595 kg (3516 lb.)
Wheelbase 2710 mm (106.7 in.)
Length 4672 mm (183.9 in.)
Width 1789 mm (70.4 in.)
Trunk space 453 litres (16.0 cu. ft.)
Fuel consumption City: 12.5 l/100 km (23 mpg)
  Hwy: 8.3 l/100 km (34 mpg)
Warranty 4 yrs/80,000 km

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