Let’s take a step back to a particular point in time. Jaguar has a fairly wide range, offering three separate sedan lines. Unfortunately, two of those aren’t meeting sales targets, one of them being afflicted by ungainly, retrograde styling. Actually, this exact scenario has occurred at two different points in Jaguar’s history: first in the 1960s and then in the 2000s. The X-Type was one of Jaguar’s sluggish-selling sedans of the 2000s.
Jaguar’s sales had been plunging and the British brand was racking up huge financial losses by the turn of the century. Under Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, Jaguar was expected to rapidly expand and become a full-line (or close to full-line) luxury brand. The company hadn’t offered more than one sedan line since the 1960s and by the early 2000s it had three: the X-Type, S-Type and XJ.
No discussion of the X-Type can be had without addressing the most common criticism of it. Yes, it used the platform of a Ford family sedan. But this is hardly a sin as egregious as Cadillac chroming a Cavalier and christening it Cimarron. Furthermore, it’s puzzling that the X-Type has been so castigated for being a Ford Mondeo in Jag drag when the first-generation Audi A4 used the same platform as the Volkswagen Passat.
The second-generation Mondeo platform was a fundamentally good one, too. Yes, in a perfect world the X-Type would have been rear-wheel-drive like the S-Type, XJ and XK above it. But the Mondeo was one of the best-handling cars in the European D-segment – regarded as better, in fact, than the A4-related Passat – and Jaguar engineers made further modifications to it to make it more “feline”, if you will.
Ford had no choice but to use the Mondeo (CD132) platform. There was nothing else suitable in the corporate lineup, the S-Type’s DEW98 platform not scalable to the smaller size required for the X-Type and an entirely new platform out of the question due to profitability considerations.
The X-Type’s engine lineup initially consisted of two transverse-mounted V6s: a 2.5 and a 3.0, both derived from Ford’s Duratec V6 which resided under the hoods of the Ford Mondeo and Taurus, Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type; the Jaguar AJ V6 engines, as they were known, used an aluminum block and variable valve timing. A third V6 was made available in most markets shortly after the X-Type’s launch, displacing 2.1 liters but marketed as a 2.0 and producing 154 hp and 145 ft-lbs. Jaguar also introduced 2.0 and 2.2 diesel four-cylinder engines as was expected for the European market.
The X-Type’s multi-link/trailing arm rear suspension was from the Mondeo wagon instead of the sedan and hatch, while the wheelbase was shrunk by 1.7 inches. A sophisticated viscous coupling all-wheel-drive system was available which, by default, split torque by 60% to the rear wheels and 40% to the front to provide more neutral, balanced handling. Later X-Types were available with front-wheel-drive although all North American models came standard with all-wheel-drive. Not only did all-wheel-drive better suit the X-Type’s market positioning and help bridge the gap from FWD family sedan to sport sedan, it also provided a key point of differentiation from the FWD-only Mondeo. Jaguar claimed the X-Type only had 20% parts commonality with the Mondeo.
The most marked difference between the Jaguar and its progenitor, however, was the styling. There’s no way to tell the X-Type’s humble origins from its looks. The X-Type’s styling isn’t as controversial as that of its big brother, the S-Type, but there are two schools of thought on it. On one hand, it’s instantly recognizable as a Jaguar and manages to incorporate numerous design cues from the flagship XJ on a compact body without looking awkward. Besides, retro designs were enjoying a surge in popularity – witness the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Volkswagen New Beetle – and the swinging sixties, in particular, were in vogue.
On the other hand, this was the new entry-level Jaguar aimed at attracting new, younger buyers to the brand. Instead of offering a fresh take on what a Jaguar should look like, the X-Type followed the same design language the company had been using for years. And although the Sport models were monochromatic and, well, sportier-looking, other X-Types were dripping with chrome.
Inside, the debate raged on. With its clubby interior, available with lashings of real wood trim and absent any Ford switchgear, the X-Type was unmistakably a Jaguar. But Jaguar’s traditional interior design had advanced little over the years, but for the addition of new technology, and it was out of step with what most compact executive sedans looked like inside.
That’s not to say it was bad and, frankly, it was a breath (perhaps not so) fresh air in this segment. It also didn’t look completely outmoded, offering a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Alas, rivals to the indomitable BMW 3-Series come and go, the Bavarian and its fellow Germans, the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4, successfully fighting off interlopers. Alfa Romeo fielded two successive front/all-wheel-drive sedans, the 156 and 159, before withdrawing from the segment for a few years. Saab’s 9-3 was FWD as well, only introducing AWD as the brand breathed its last gasps. Even rivals that have followed the iconic 3-Series’ mechanical template have still lived in its shadow – see the Cadillac Catera and ATS, Lexus IS, Infiniti G and Q50, etc etc.
So it was that Jaguar’s sales targets for the X-Type proved almost embarrassingly lofty. Although the X-Type quickly became Jaguar’s volume seller, it never reached the 100-150,000 annual unit targets that had been mentioned and thus Jaguar wasn’t able to reach its overall target of 200,000 annual sales. European X-Type sales remained stable at the 25-30,000 mark for a few years before winnowing away after 2006; even in its best years, the X-Type was still outsold almost two-to-one by the Saab 9-3 and Alfa Romeo 156. German rivals were on another stratosphere entirely. And despite an emotive advertising campaign in the US that used Chris Isaak’s hit single “Wicked Games”, X-Type sales faltered – 33,018 were sold in its first full year of sale and just three years later the X-Type was only reaching a third of that number. In total, just 350,000 X-Types were produced during its eight-year production run.
An even more eye-watering number was the total loss per car figure. According to automotive analyst Max Warburton, Jaguar experienced a total loss per car of $6700 with the X-Type or a total loss of $2.42 billion. It was probably the disappointing sales of the X-Type and S-Type, along with Ford’s other financial struggles, that pushed the American company to cut Jaguar loose.
What had caused the X-Type to so badly miss its sales targets? While it was no class leader, it had plenty in its favor. The all-wheel-drive system afforded it terrific grip and thoroughly competitive handling, while even the 200 pound-lighter front-wheel-drive models were fine-driving vehicles. The 231 horsepower 3.0 V6 was one of the most powerful engines in the segment, matching the output of the BMW 330i although not matching the torque of the Bimmer’s straight six (210 ft-lbs vs. 221). Steering was well-weighted with plenty of feel.
There were flaws in the X-Type’s dynamic shine, however. Its manual transmission was often derided as cumbersome. The smaller V6 engines were somewhat weak. Low-speed ride quality in the Sport variants was widely regarded as mediocre; other X-Types rode more serenely but with more body roll.
There were other maladies. Cabin space was somewhat cramped. Some of the plastics weren’t up to the Germans’ standards, although this was less egregious considering the high quality of the leather and wood. There were no four-cylinder petrol engines as there were in rivals’ lineups and the X-Type’s V6 engines weren’t the most fuel-efficient. Car & Driver ranked it 5th out of seven rivals in a 2002 comparison test, then dead last in a similar test in 2004. At the same time, Australian magazine Wheels ranked it 9th out of 12. The X-Type was a good car but this was a viciously competitive segment.
Jaguar wasn’t willing or able to address all of the X-Types flaws and the car was mostly left untouched with few exceptions. A handsome wagon arrived in 2004, the first Jaguar styled by Ian Callum and thus offering more contemporary styling.
And at seemingly the eleventh hour of production, Jaguar introduced a facelifted X-Type for the 2008 model year that nicely tidied up and contemporized the styling.
By that point, however, the X-Type’s number was up. The range had been thinned over the years and UK buyers could only choose between the 3.0 V6 and the vastly more popular diesels; US buyers had only the 3.0 by the end.
While the X-Type’s Ford origins are often used as ammunition against this baby Jag, perhaps the real issue was the styling. In a market dominated by cleanly-styled, almost austere sport sedans, the X-Type’s throwback styling was anomalous. Another factor that’s impossible to ignore is Jaguar’s build quality and reliability record. These two factors are likely the root causes for the X-Type’s lack of commercial success.
It wasn’t all bad news, however. The X-Type likely did introduce new buyers to the brand and increased Jaguar’s overall volume. It paved the way for future compact Jaguars like the new XE which is more enthusiast-focussed (it so far sells about as well as the X-Type did early on but Jaguar has popular crossovers to soften that blow). And though it wasn’t a commercial success, it was both a small car and unashamedly a Jaguar at the same time.
X-Types photographed in 2018 in Spring Hill and Toombul, QLD, Australia, Union Square, NY, and by the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
Curbside Classic: 1965 Jaguar 3.4S (S-Type) – Sir William’s Bastard Child
COAL: 2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5 AWD – A Significantly Better Car Than The Internet Would Have You Believe
I’ll just say it. I never had the vitriol for the X-Type that some people could muster up on a whim. I just never got the whole “it’s platform shared so it automatically sucks” argument, because plenty of great cars and even plenty of great luxury cars have been on somewhat pedestrian platforms. Unlike the Cimarron, which was an obvious badge job, and a lazily done one at that, the company at least tried to hide the Mondeo roots to the best of their abilities, and it worked for the most part. I am much more dismissive of the S-Type, but that’s for another time.
I guess the real reason why the car never succeeded, besides being uncompetitive was simple. Jaguar had a really tough time shaking off the stereotype for being unreliable. It’s not hard to see where people would be skeptical buying a new lower priced model, and to know of the Mondeo roots, it would be an assumption (though, not necessarily incorrect) to go, “Oh, they took a Ford and made it worse. That’s a lot to ask from potential customers, especially against heavyweight stalwarts that had proved themselves with better dynamics, better track records for reliability, or both.
Though, really, the whole Ford PAG saga is worthy of a series all on its own. I wish I had more knowledge on it, because I have had interest in chronicling what I think were the cars endemic of everything wrong with PAG, but, I just can’t do a saga like that justice.
As well as paying an enormous sum for the Company, Ford invested a lot in updating Jaguar’s very outdated production facilities (apparently most of the production line in Browns Lane was purchased secondhand from Standard Motor) so the losses overall aren’t so surprising. Too bad they never really reaped the benefit of the long term rise in quality and finish of Jaguar cars, instead that has gone to Tata, Jaguar’s current owners.
I know very little about these cars, but I think they are lovely, and that is enough for me to appreciate their existence.
Count me in as one of the fans of the car. I’ve always liked it a lot, and if cars could be as easily stored as motorcycles, there would be one in the garage right now as an occasional use play toy. My Triumph dealer’s wife had a 2.5/5-speed back in 2001. I drove the car and, really, really liked it. Frank admission: Jaguars have always been the car I’ve wanted to own, but simple reality (I normally can only afford to own one car along with multiple bikes, and a van is first priority due to practical needs) invariably gets in the way.
I figure I’m finally going to own my Jag the day the doctor tells me the bikes have to go, and a sidecar will not be a reasonable fudge.
What I don’t get: How the Germans get such a pass of the issue of badge engineering, er, platform sharing, while everybody’s else’s feet are held to the fire by the opinionated but-wouldn’t-ever-buy-new internet community. I swear, VAG could get away with rebadging a Type 1 Beetle as a currrent Audi A8 (yes, I exaggerate, but only slightly); but if Cadillac, Lincoln or Jaguar so much as use a door lock striker plate from a Chevrolet or Ford the internet rises to the screams of, “cheap, cynical badge engineering!”
Couldn’t agree with that last bit more. But you’ve got to (begrudgingly) admire VAG for the strength of their marketing. After all, the brand wasn’t even revived until the late ’60’s, it went through a shocking albeit nonsensical sales crash in the US in the early ’80’s, yet here it is, an exxy, snobby brand for upward thrusters and selling hand over fist. Even their big innovation, 4wd, hasn’t lasted as part of their image. With the exception of the alloy spaceframe A8, they’re just Volksys in nicer dresses, with no real Euro-posh lineage (as Audis), yet they get away with it. That’s quite an achievement.
I’ve reached the point in my old age that, having been a BMW owner (back when they made ‘the ultimate driver’s machine’, and my sister is a very satisfied Mercedes-Benz customer, I absolutely refuse to consider any of the three German luxury brands when I go car shopping. Period. I don’t care if they’re really the greatest, most reliable, cars on the planet, I don’t want to be seen in one.
Because, “Baaaaah!” has never been part of my vocabulary.
Good grief, how right you are! My personal favorite was the Top Gear thrashing of the EU Cadillac, complaining that the turn signal stalk was out of a Saab.
Yes, a turn signal stalk. From a corporate parts bin. Something about as standard as a fuse, yet a point of derision because that parts bin was GM.
Now, I understand that the EU Cadillac in question was not a US version, but really, platform sharing is the norm in the industry, yet the Germans seemingly get a pass on almost all of their products. FFS, the Panamera is based on the VW Toureg platform. Yep, a VW SUV is the base for a “sports sedan” by a company that swears “there is no substitute” for. Yet nobody went bonkers over that fact, or really held the company (or more specifically, those who have purchased them) to the fire.
I just don’t understand how “group think” on the internet gets some things so wrong.
Agree, I dislike Top Gear UK with Jeremy Clarkson, and “auto group think”.
Expect cars to be only built for “driving purists” and everyone else should “take the subway”.
Do like CC with variety of views, cars and history.
At no point have the Porsche Panamera and Volkswagen Touareg been related.
The first-generation Panamera (2010-2016) was on a unique platform. The second generation one (2017-) uses VW Group’s MSB platform, which is currently not utilized by any other cars…but will soon be used by the 2019 Bentley Continental GT/GTC and the upcoming Bentley Flying Spur.
There’s a point concerning those buttons, turn signal stalks etc. Even in current Cadillacs, the steering wheel stalks are the exact same as in the lowly Spark. Functionally there’s nothing wrong with that, they do the job perfectly fine and it saves cost. However, as Quentin Willson pointed out, cars are tactile. Such cost-saving in exactly the functions most likely used does take away some of the impression of an otherwise good car. You won’t find that in a Mercedes, even if the car itself isn’t actually better.
These Jags might have been glorified Fords underneath but they carried Jaguar styling cues very well for such a small package. Very good looking, particularly the wagon. So much nicer than the awkwardly retro S-type of the same era.
This is a sweet car. I have sat in one of them and the ride, interior, NVH were really good… it’s a nice car. Knowing or not, you cannot tell there is a Mondeo under those clothes.
I think part of the reason it flopped is the bloody press. I wonder how many customers bought into the “it’s a rebadged Mondeo and hence it’s crap” the press hanged on this car.
The fact that it shared a common front-wheel drive Ford platform never really bothered me, as Jaguar sedans of this era were never the cars that screamed performance and handling to me. I always saw Jags as cushy and opulent until more recently.
Why I never warmed up to this car is the other criticism you mention, its styling. While it thankfully didn’t look as blobby and elephant-like as the S-Type, its styling was still far too traditional and stodgy, like the car was designed to appeal to someone in extreme advanced age.
It should have had a more contemporary design with sportier styling cues to appeal to the younger buyers who more commonly bought cars in the X-Type’s class. Around the same time Mercedes showed that more traditional styling cues could be successfully integrated into a more youthful package with the W203 C-Class, and Jaguar itself eventually found success in this manner with its first XF sedan.
Cool thing though, I actually saw two of the rare X-Type wagons within minutes of each other while I was on the Cape two weeks ago.
Well, I’ve driven this engine as a 2.5 manual (the Mondeo ST 24), a 2.5 4-spd auto (Mazda MPV) and 3.0 litre 5-auto (Mazda MPV), and it’s a delightful-sounding, creamy rev head, albeit hopelessly misplaced as a 2.5 in the MPV.
As for the chassis, the ST24 Mondeo, dull as it looked, was one of the nicest FWD cars I have driven, perhaps a bit torqueless but whippy when revved, and the steering and handling were top drawer. The gearchange was like an old-school RWD English Ford, meaning superb, so from a dynamic and propulsion perspective, I can’t imagine the Jag being meaningfully different. And with an interior I think was an excellent modern retro effort.
However and but. That same wondrous engine has a big flaw, because of a bit of plastic in either intake manifold or piping, (can’t recall), which cracks and dribbles water away. It is impossible to see, and results in a big over heat if you fail to notice the gauge. And even if noticed, it is so inaccessible that the engine always has to be removed and half-dismantled to fix it. Such shennanigans and expense would not impress a prestige buyer any, and word spreads. Also, as the 2.1-litre auto, a common seller in Aus due to price, it would be too gutless. I suspect even the 2.5 auto with the weight of 4wd would be feeling a bit underdone in traffic.
And that styling. It’s my guess that the huge sales failure is all down to it, not so much because it’s retro, but because it’s simply not a very good job. It looks like a familiar face as seen when stretched inside a stocking (and given that the styling is sort-of stolen, that works doubly, no?) The rear doors never seem fully shut. The bum is too high, and tries to conceal it by curving down. It looks pudgy. Largely, the problem is all to the back, proved by the wagon, which fixes nearly all the oddness, and is most handsome.
All that said, I’d still seriously consider a cheap one now, for the interior, chassis and engine – provided there was proof someone else had paid to fix that darn leaky bit.
So tempted to pick up a low buck X-Type as a retirement/hobby car…until I remember something a very wise and experienced specialist mechanic told me “nothing costs more than a cheap used Jag”. Though if a MT wagon shows up….
It won’t. All wagons were automatics, assuming you’re talking the US.
My boss’s wife bought an English Racing Green X-Type with saddle interior. It was AWD (we lived in CNY) and a lovely car in every way. She had just come from a totally overdone Pontiac SSE loaded with every electronic gee-gaw GM offered and she wanted something smaller. The Pontiac dealer had just picked up a Jaguar dealership and he sold her on the little Jag. She asked me about the car. I knew about the Mondeo underpinnings, but I also knew that wouldn’t mean a damn thing to her. Good thing, too. She bought the car and loved it. And the Mondeo underpinnings didn’t mean a thing. Ever.
Well I learned some more about this car since my other comment. The Mondeo platform is supposed to be excellent according to Jeremy Clarkson, who knows many things. So I can’t hold that against it. I admit I have particular tastes and lean conservative towards styling. I guess I’m not judging it against past Jags either, since my experience with them is very limited. I really should like the wagon, as I almost always like European estate cars. From the back it has the clean lines of an Audi, which is great, but to me it doesn’t connect with the front’s round swoopiness. So I don’t care for it. The seven spoke rims are perfect for it. Don’t like the busier Kia-looking ones. The bits of chrome trim seem perfectly shaped and placed. I will lose any credibility here when I admit I bought my ’05 Taurus way back when based somewhat on that I thought it resembled this Jaguar. I know, I know. What can I say, I am low-rent. The interior, on the Jag not Taurus, is beautiful to me. Except for the center section which looks like a weird spoon shape that annoys me. So basically I seem to be on the opposite end of most people here. But I have done my best to advocate for the X-type. Wish it was RWD, but I want everything to be RWD. I will toss in an incendiary here too before I go. The classic E-Type is ugly to me. There I said it. It is blobby and phallic looking. I very much prefer the XJS. You are now free to tear me apart…
Two thoughts from my US-centric point of view. First – everyone says that we should have more variety in the market for upper-level sport sedans than the German variety that is everywhere (whether genuine or copied). But when someone tries to offer something different, nobody buys it. I think there is a herd mentality in buyers of this demographic – everyone wants what is socially acceptable. BMW and Audi are socially acceptable, Jaguar is less so.
Second, the platform sharing should not really be a big deal here in the US as we never got the Ford Mondeo anyway. There was nothing shared with any US Ford here (so far as most buyers of this class would ever discern, anyhow) so I do not fault Ford here. Where I do fault Ford is spending the money to bring it out but then not spending the money to improve it and make/keep it competitive.
You got the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique, both of which are the rebadges of the Mondeo upon which this Jag is based, so a great deal shared with US Fords (unless you mean US-designed, maybe?)
Reading a bit online, Ford did very little to fix the problems that came up either.
The Contour/Mystique was based on the earlier Mondeo, not the second generation like the X-Type.
Ah, quite correct. Obviously, the 2000 Mondeo is a variation of the original platform (then these Jags a considerable variation of that), but you’re right, it’s not the same as the Contour/Mystique.
They fixed one problem, they used PSA/Ford diesels in them instead of the Ford engines.
We had one, William linked to the COAL (thanks!), and overall it was very good. If you like the styling (we did), like the awd (we did), and had a good experience reliability-wise (we did) then there isn’t much to fault. The dealer experience was flawless. After we sold it (to my in-laws), they had it for another 50k (up to around 100k total) and then sold it once the usual and more frequent maintenance items came about, but really, by that time, they easily could have found a much cheaper way to keep up with it than a Jaguar dealer.
I completely disagree that the styling doesn’t work, it absolutely does, and is one of the main/only reasons for people to consider the car in the first place. The entry level vehicle in the line of a manufacturer that trades on history and its styling to the extent that Jaguar does/did is the last one that should look “different”. It should use all the styling cues and all the advantage that can be conveyed from the rest of the range above it. Otherwise there would simply be no point to it. I don’t dislike the current range of Jaguars but also think that their (generally attractive) styling doesn’t really make we want to buy one as opposed to whatever it is competing against. But show me a mid-2000’s XJ-6 (before it got all modern-looking) and the styling of that makes we want it way more than the equivalent A6, 5-series, or E-class or whatever. The current one? I generally like it, but not enough to sway me from considering the others in its class.
Jaguar’s reputation for let’s call it frailty is what made us nervous in the long run, as well as other things tempting us away, but based on my one anecdote (our own experience with this car) these are good cars in general, we probably shouldn’t have bought into the reputational thing. Who cares if it’s based on a Ford somehow, it is a GOOD thing to have what could have been a fickle machine (i.e. every prior Jaguar ever made?) based on a generally reliable, durable, inexpensive to run source vehicle. I’ve had Audis, MBs, etc and this one overall was not really better or worse, in the aggregate was probably a better car from a reliability standpoint. Dismissing it for being based on a Ford is ignorant, the same way that dismissing an Lexus ES as being based on a Toyota Camry/Avalon is. Different execution, different touch points, completely different styling, you wouldn’t know. End synopsis: Good car overall, positively beautiful in wagon form.
Jaguar history should be divided into several time eras, the most important, in my mind, being pre-Ford and post Ford. The pre-Ford Jaguars were notoriously unreliable due to dodgy build quality. During the Ford era, enormous progress was made in building very reliable cars, so reliable that the Ford built XJ’s especially the XJ303 series XJ8’s had Lexus levels of reliability.
Unfortunately for Ford/Jaguar, the poor service reputations of the earlier Jaguars resulted in massive depreciations of the later Ford owned Jaguar manufactured cars The massive depreciations effectively gave second owners a bargain price for a very reliable XJ. This was in effect an amazing blessing to the second owner.
Speaking from personal experience, my wife, who like many women was seduced by the style of Jaguars, asked me to buy her a Jaguar XJ8 . So in 2004 we bought a deeply depreciated, and beautiful, 2001 Jaguar XJ8 Canterbury Blue exterior color with Cream leather interior, coming off a FoMoCo lease.
This 2001 XJ8, her beloved Jaguar, is still owned by her in 2018, and has given us an amazingly reliable 14 years of ownership, only requiring routine service items like brake pads, rotors once, tires, routine fluid replacements. This has been one of the most reliable cars, and one of the most pleasurable cars, that we have ever owned.
Admittedly she doesn’t drive it in the salt rich roads of the Great Lakes region during the winter, instead driving a wintertime 4 x 4 truck–her sacrificial salt car. She always looks forward to the end of winter so that she can drive “her Jag”.
Regarding the newer, current Tata Jaguar Xj’s, she hates their appearance calling them “graceless bricks” that could easily have been designed and built by Hyundai. So, I suspect that like Inspector Morse, we, really her, will be driving a vintage Jag–our amazingly reliable Ford era Jag XJ8– for years to come.
The X-Type used to look toy-like to me, yet somehow they have grown on me. On the other hand, I used to like the S-Type’s even more retro styling, but that car hasn’t aged well.
I’ve seen two or three wagons, but never any facelifted X-Type.
These have no “cred” in the enthusiast circles, but I just love the styling inside and out. Compared to the anonymous sedans Jaguar is producing now, perhaps they should resurrect the sheet metal stamping and give it another go.
I’ve wanted one for awhile, and nice slate grey with the dark interior. Classy little cruiser. But with the 3.0 they were rated at 16/22mpg. Jeepers. And I thought the G37 that would rip the face off of this was a bit thirsty at 18/25!
Always liked these and don’t care that they were based on the Ford Mondeo platform. I’ve seen a few of these locally and in traffic/parking lots they immediately say “Jaguar” with their distinctive retro look, which I think really works well. The wagons in particular are lovely.
As others have mentioned it was probably Jag’s poor reliability reputation that worked against these and kept sales from taking off.
While I never warmed up to the uninspired styling of the X-type, it still seems to me a lot less mondeoish than the supposedly non-Ford-Tata-owned XE XF or Xwhatever, as good automobiles as they might be, Jaguar as it once was known and celebrated has long ago lost its mojo – not to mention its mistique
The first-gen XF was definitely Ford. It was on the Ford DEW98 platform and was developed while Jaguar was still under Ford. That said, DEW98 was RWD-based and specifically designed for non-luxury cars—they almost used it on the 2005-era retro Mustang, but realized it would cost too much—so that’s probably why it gets a pass.
Wrong Kyree. The DEW platform was designed specifically for luxury cars. In particular, it was the need to spawn the Jaguar X-Type that forced the Lincoln LS to be rear wheel drive. The DEW platform was to also include a premium Lincoln sedan, larger than the LS, and a Mark IX. But senior management balked at the spending for a new and modest volume (platform-specific) transmission. It would have positioned Lincoln ahead of Cadillac, but uncomfortably close to Jaguar.
Further proof that DEW was for luxury cars can be found in the decontenting (solid rear axle) in effort to improve the affordability of the 2005 Mustang.
This and the s-type are some of the ugliest cars ever made. The lights look ridiculous.
I secretly want to have an X-Type wagon. They are just so rare on the road, and that’s why I love them. Plus they look great, and have that Jaguar old world charm about them.
Had a Subaru 3.0 H6 Outback before but this “did” nothing for me. Found out the X-type also had 4WD so looked for a good example and found a very good two-owner 3.0 V6 X-type Estate 18 months ago. Love the car! Fast, comfortable, big enough, small enough, luxurious with loads of extras. It has proved very reliable – just one rear wheel bearing needed. I took off the plastic sill covers though to rustproof the metal sills behind it – a known bad point on these cars.
I do not particularly like the looks very much – would prefer a “proper” XJ but then the estate form is so much more practical for a daily driver. What I do like is that in the one-and-a-halve year I own the car I have NOT seen another one on the road! Try that with your standard BMW or Mercedes.
To be fair, the longitude-FWD-based platform in the B5 Passat and Mk.1 A4 was a more exotic affair than the transverse-FWD Mondeo platform…especially when the former two were equipped with AWD. And, generally, that’s the case with VW; when the Volkswagens share their platforms with Audis, Porsches, and Bentleys…they’re usually fancier platforms to begin with.
But it’s not like the general public knows that.
However, I still don’t see the hate for the X-Type’s mechanicals. I always thought it was well-executed, and that the humble Ford origins didn’t matter much. Its biggest crime, as you said, was probably looking stodgy and baroque at a time when that aesthetic wasn’t too appreciated. The renaissance that the Jaguar brand had circa 2009 with the arrival of the (Ford-DEW98-based) XF…probably needed to come ten years earlier, to be honest. Although I love me some X350/X358 (2004-2009) XJ.
Range Rover in Berlin with Danish numberplates?
Danes like going to Berlin. Many have a second home there.
I suppose that if the car had been a winner otherwise, few would have been bothered by the actually well-hidden Mondeo roots. With its mini-me already-too-retro XJ styling it just attracted ridicule. The gorgeous feline styling that once had made Jaguars so attractive had been overdrawn to comical proportions, not a hint of modernity allowed. It just looked like a grandparents’ home inside and out, and the round headlamps even seemed to be wearing reading glasses. A far, far cry from the first XJ.
Of course, as often in the history of British car industry, some of the blame can placed on British Leyland. Had the XJ40 arrived sooner, it wouldn’t have looked so dated from day one, and repurposing the company into a retro brand wouldn’t have been necessary. Jags would have been a more opulent, smooth entry in the Mercedes CLS class today. Another can of worms entirely.
…”With its mini-me already-too-retro XJ styling it just attracted ridicule”…
That about wraps it up perfectly, it’s the exact reason why this Jaguar-thingy didn’t succeed.
Nice write up William.
I always thought these looked great and admired them from afar until my neighbor got one several years ago. It was pretty quick and handled well but the interior didn’t really do it for me.
The X type’s issues in the UK?
1 – the Mondeo genes came from Ford and were therefore not as good as VW genes in an Audi. Any guy in the pub (or golf club) knows that.
2 – the reputation (fair or unfair by this time) for quality, of the car and the dealers
3 – the fuddy-duddy mini-XJ styling didn’t work
4 – the image of Jaguar as an older man’s car (seen at the golf club, not the architect’s carpark)
5 – it wasn’t a BMW, Audi or Mercedes. It was not German
Personally, I think the estate looks great, some of the drivetrains were a pretty good fit and I’d rather have the Jaguar driver image than the BMW driver image. But that’s just me.
I never had a problem with the X-type styling, it was the “Mondeo-in-drag” thing that killed it for me. There is no question that the Mondeo chassis was excellent, and was engineered to stay that way for three years or so. Bought-in components were no better than you’d find in a Renault. And 20% parts commonality? Do you consider the diesel engine as one part or thousands of parts ? If dual-mass flywheels failed in Mondeos then they were going to fail in X-types as well.
I remember taking my old (Japanese) saloon for its’ annual test and seeing a much younger Mondeo ahead of me being failed for things I am still yet to replace. And how about the 2.1 petrol motor that Jaguar called a 2-litre ? The tax man in Ireland taxed it as “over 2 litres” ie very bloody expensive !
Had the pleasure of driving an ‘02 with 80k miles as possible commuter car for myself. Car had been sitting on a used car lot since late spring. It was clearly a one owner car that was babied. I was surprised to see that both door cards had been removed to fix something and were re-secured with deck screws. The driver’s side door handles( both outside and inside) were hard to unlatch. I was all in at $3990 until I looked underneath and noticed all the body rot in the cowl behind the fenders and across the rockers. I could put my fist into the cowl on both sides. I had to walk!
I had the estate car with the 3 litre V6. I always liked the looks, the mini XJ thing was quite appealing, but I quite understand why it didn’t appeal to younger people. The whole retro fad hadn’t taken off then.
The engine had very little low down torque. In standard mode the gearbox changed gear before it got very far up the torque curve making it feel quite gutless. You had to run it in sports mode to make any progress and the fuel consumption was dreadful.
It always surprised me that the marketing never made much of its 4WD capabilities. Audi were trumpeting it from the rooftops about their quattros’ safety and roadholding. Jaguar could easily have hitched a ride.
The trouble with the Ford underpinnings was that Fords were always built by bean counters and when the cars were had been through a few winters of salted roads it showed. It was engineered down to a price and the flimsy suspension components rotted away.
The S-type, based on the DEW98 platform was an infinitely better car from a mechanic’s perspective. The interiors of the facelifted S-type and the X-type were almost identical which does very little for product differentiation. Porsche had the same problem with the 986 model boxster and the 996 model 911.
It was all an adventure in American hubris. Ford spent a fortune buying the company, then another fortune sorting it out, and then sold it for half what they’d paid for it. They saved the company and left Tata to reap all the rewards. The XF is a gem of a car.