Due to other commitments/needs I’ve been spending a little less time here at CC than usual, this being one of the reasons why I’ve at least paused the New Car Reviews for the time being. However, on one of my very recent trips to Laramie, Wyoming to finally start refurbishing a languishing rental house I’ve been needing to work on amongst other things, I passed by a small used car dealer on the main drag. Usually they feature a bunch of SUVs and trucks but have often had the odd older Audi, which always made me interested. Well, the other day they had this, probably my favorite Jaguar shape of at least the last couple of decades. So let’s go check it out!
If you’ve been here at CC for a while, you might remember that I once owned an X-type, in that case a 2002 sedan with the smaller engine and quite liked it (above). That was back when they were pretty new. Here’s the link to the COAL on that, but the most interesting part of it is the last sentence: “Maybe I’m the only one, but our Jaguar never left us stranded, the electrical system was flawless, the car was a pleasure to drive and own, and overall I would not refuse to own another. (But it would definitely be the wagon next time)!” So I am predisposed to liking them and absolutely love the styling of the wagon. However, I’ve never driven one or any X-Type with the bigger engine. So I thought I might as well take the time to do so and see how the idea has held up over the last decade and half or so.
I’ve been playing around with video for a while now, if only on my phone, but ended up making an impromptu video about this car (above). Walking around it, looking under the hood, and while driving it, all included – but none of it planned out or ahead, just on a whim, I wasn’t even sure I would write this piece when I made it. I don’t know and didn’t ask about the rules in Wyoming regarding holding a phone in one hand while driving even if not actively really interacting with it, but the state’s all about Freedom, so whatever, I just assumed it’s fine(ish).
Some of the in-car shots may though have a lower horizon than ideal since I’m afraid of The Tase and didn’t want to be obvious about it, but what the heck, it’s eight minutes in total, I narrate/speak throughout, there’s no bad music, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth much, much, more. And I wasn’t about to do a Take Two. I’ll also pen my thoughts below, but note that in my opinion you’re really missing out if you don’t watch as some things cannot be fully explained in writing. Or at least I don’t have the patience for that.
In any case, the short version of the car’s history (in general, not this particular one) is that the Jaguar X-Type was introduced in the United States for 2002 in two versions – 2.5l and 3.0l engines (both V-6) being the biggest difference. All were full time AWD, all were pretty loaded, even the basic ones like the example we used to own. Most importantly they all smelled fantastic. Both a 5-speed automatic as well as a 5-speed manual were available. The common refrain is that they are Ford Mondeo based, it’s about 20 percent parts commonality from what I understand; they were produced back when Ford was on their foreign luxury car brand owning, uh, jag.
Most that drive and/or own them, love them, most that criticize them seem to have never even driven one (kind of like some others regarding anything Nissan, Chrysler, and Tesla). People seem to think being Ford based is bad, the reality is the Ford-era Jaguars seem to have been some of the best ones ever from a quality standpoint. So maybe things are not as great as they could ultimately be, but they are far better than Jaguars used to be.
For 2005 the wagon (Jaguar called it Sportwagon over here, Estate elsewhere) made the trip across the pond, exclusively offered with AWD and the 3.0 V6. Most tended to have options slathered on them and a (to me) surprisingly very low total of 1,602 were sold here over a three year span. So if you see one, it’s quite a sighting (over here at least, they sold many more in Europe and elsewhere, The Queen even had one). The X-type was sold here until 2008, in other markets to 2011.
The transfer case as of 2005 was electronically controlled (viscous-coupled prior to that), and starts with a 40/60 F/R torque split that could apportion more or less power to each end as needed, so not a fixed ratio. No knobs or buttons, just always in play. Engines here stayed the same over the entire run, there were extremely minor updates inside and out, none that would be noticeable to anyone but a dedicated fan – even most owners wouldn’t quickly be able to pin down a year just by looking at one.
Let’s start outside with the styling. The X-Type has been variously described as a rip-off, a dumbed down XJ, and a bit awkward-looking. By its detractors anyway. Others liked or loved what they saw and when you tell someone “Jaguar” what they tend to picture in their mind is a vague 1970s/1980s XJ6 shape. Jaguar (under the design eye of Geoff Lawson) took that idea and shrunk it a little to make the X-Type. Use your strengths and all that, in hindsight I think it was good, as the modern crop of Jaguars could be Anycar.com. (But I’ll happily review one if Jaguar USA takes note of this).
The part that was the least successful in my opinion was the rear of the sedan, looking a little bulbous. Gloriously the wagon fixes all of that as part of Ian Callum’s rework of the sedan into the wagon, his first Jaguar design assignment that I am aware of. The back looks fantastic and as a whole the thing is marvelous. In my opinion of course. You’re free to disagree below but you’re wrong, I’ll inform you now.
Not only does the back have a proper hatch but the glass actually opens separately from the tailgate. I forgot to take a picture so can’t display it but it does, making it FAR more practical than lots of other wagons, CUVs and SUVs.
Everything from the B-pillar forward is identical to the sedan version. The paint on this one seems to be the Quartz Gray, currently in various states of fading with the roof being the worst and the body endowed with various nicks and small scratches but no serious depressions in the metal beyond a few dings. However on the plus side it doesn’t appear to have been in any (major) accidents, any paintwork would be quite obvious. This all looks equally old and ill-maintained. The front does feature a clearbra applique so at least there are no rock chips. Just the slightly cracking and starting to peel clearbra applique. It’s on the mirrors too.
At first walkaround it’s a smaller car than remembered. Or more accurately most other vehicles on the road are now larger. Getting in though demonstrates that there is plenty of room for myself. Even with a sunroof in this car my head and hair do not touch it or the surround, there is room for my legs, my arms are at a natural height and everything falls to hand nicely.
Sure the material quality isn’t completely up to 2022 model year standards but it’s still far ahead of most other 2005 vehicles, and would not be out of place in a 2012 or so vehicle. The wood is plentiful (if cracked on this example like on most), the leather still fulfills its olfactory mission, is not torn, and on the seats supports the body wonderfully. The seat bottom cushion is plenty long and surprisingly is shaped in a way that the bottom (seat) bolsters do more to hold the body laterally than the upper (back) bolsters do. A triple seat memory is included as well.
Seat heaters are present and work in two levels, the gauges are clear and easy to read and the center stack on this one features a large and I have to say early implementation of touch screen. However, 16 and a half years after leaving the Halewood, England factory the touch screen still shines bright, responds quickly, and has no faults. Well, beyond fairly crude graphics and type fonts reminiscent more of a Coleco or Nintendo game than the high-res stuff used these days.
But there are lots of buttons too that act in concert with the screen. The navigation system works and shares the screen with the HVAC system as well as the Radio, although both have redundant buttons on the surround, there’s even a CD player but no visible AUX input. The audio system is by Alpine and includes a subwoofer in the cargo area, and three of the four speakers in the doors work – the passenger door one is taking a break. In the middle of the console is the J-Gate shifter, finished in real wood veneer like the rest of the wood along with a wood shiftknob, and two cupholders sized for cans or slim bottles. And the traditional lever handbrake.
An armrest slides fore and aft and can open as either a small top or not quite as small lower compartment. There is some minor wear on the console and the chrome buttons, but the leather bits are just slightly worn-in. The ashtray lid hinge is broken but that seems an easy replacement at the junkyard of your choice. Or ebay. The cigarette lighter provides the only port to perhaps add an adapter for a phone charger. There is no Bluetooth, but a built in phone was apparently an option, not included on this one, complete with steering wheel buttons to activate it. The wheel also has buttons and toggles for the audio volume and tuning.
The back seat is finished as nicely as the front, and headroom is great, no issues for myself. Legroom is a little tighter when the front seat is adjusted for myself, I can either sit with my knees in the scooped-out back rest of the front seat or man-spread, but then nobody is sitting in the middle.
For those who may not know, I am 6’1″ with a 32″ inseam, important to know in order to compare to how you might fit. There is an ashtray on the back of the center console as well as a fold down armrest with two cupholders. There are zero places to plug in anything.
Behind the rear seat is the cargo area. This is very nicely carpeted with a compartment to the side and another compartment below that holds the jack. It also features another 12V cigarette-lighter style power port, handy back here. Below the styrofoam tray thing is the spare tire. The back seats fold flat 70/30. While the rear hatch and glass unlock electrically there is no power assist either up or down.
Moving to the front of the car is the grille with the famous leaper. Opening the hood presents the transversely mounted 3.0l naturally aspirated V-6 engine that produces (produced?) 227HP@6,800rpm and 206lb-ft of torque at 3,000rpm. It’s closely related to the base engine in the Jaguar S-Type as well as the Lincoln LS and technically part of the Ford modular Duratec family. The difference between this and the smaller 2.5liter is the stroke of the piston, everything else is apparently identical/interchangeable as with most of the rest of the car. Other markets offered a couple of other engine options as well including a 2.1liter and a diesel.
Using the switchblade style key causes the engine to fire to life instantly. This example has over 168,000 miles on it and is currently displaying a Check Engine light. The seller tells me that there are two codes present, a P0171 and a P0174, indicating a lean condition on each bank of cylinders, likely a vacuum leak of some sort in the intake system.
In Wyoming this does not matter as there is no required emissions check to register a vehicle. It’s usually so windy all of that ends up in Nebraska anyway within minutes but then again one of the main industries is coal mining so not a surprise. Wyoming is though also becoming a leader in wind energy with vast wind farms to harness that free resource. (For the record, I like Wyoming, both the state from a scenery and landscape perspective as well as the people I’ve met there.)
Pulling out reveals a somewhat worn suspension but quick and light steering with an excellent turning radius of under 18 feet. Driving over potholes or sharp lateral pavement breaks reveals more of a crashing than a smooth thumping, and heavy cornering causes more sway than your Aunt Marge after a few cocktails. When giving it the beans, apparently due to the trouble codes the engine computer will cut the fuel when a threshold is exceeded, causing a hesitation and major stumble at around the 1/2-3/4 throttle mark once about 3,000 rpm is hit.
A lighter throttle still allows higher speeds to be reached as I found out by taking it on the freeway. However these foibles all for some reason went away at least temporarily during the test drive, showing an engine that pulls very well and is enjoyable to listen to, if you can hear it over a little wind noise and a greater amount of either very worn tire noise or a wheel bearing going out noise. The steering is a little vague, brakes are likely in need of replacement but the car overall gives off a vibe of being a willing dance partner once the stitches are pulled from the engine and everything is all healed up after some other minor (to perhaps moderate) surgeries. The video explains it better.
Tires on this one were varied, with perhaps up to three brands represented and varied amounts of tread (that’s charitable, at least two were quite bald – or slick for the racers among you; think feature, not bug, I suppose). Eh, whatever, easy enough to replace with one’s preferred brand, O.E. tires often leave a lot to be desired, even when brand new. The wheels here are 17″ alloys, all uniformly curb-rashed and with most of the center caps heavily faded. The tire pictured is the one with the most tread by a very large margin. Tire size is 225/45-17.
Beyond the one speaker and the engine (emissions?) fault along with the worn tires and suspension, remarkably everything electric worked. And worked well. Power locks both from inside and via the fob, power windows and sunroof (all one-touch), the radio, interior lights, power seats (a little slow but they got there), and everything else commonly used, all present and accounted for.
Pricing for this very loaded example is a (these days) not entirely unreasonable $2,988 but the purveyor quickly indicated that $2,600 should be doable. When new, the base price of this car was $36,330 (about $51,450 today) plus Destination Charge. And options of which this one has many. Of course you have to appreciate the marque, enjoy the looks, and not being afraid of doing a little dirty work yourself would help immeasurably too to keep this as a reasonably fun little automotive mistress on the side of the driveway to be taken out as the whim arose.
Never would I suggest this (particular example) as an only car for a household or someone that would be dropping their entire bundle on the acquisition price. And of course realize that nobody is impressed with down-on-its-heels paintwork on an erstwhile “luxury car”, no matter how entry-level it was when new. But work on it in the garage to get it all in excellent mechanical shape without feeling a need to have any concern about the exterior? That may be the biggest luxury of all.