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2003 JagUar X -Type Review

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SEE ALSO: Jaguar Buyer's Guide



MODEL: Jaguar X-Type
ENGINE: 2.5-liter DOHC V6
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 192 hp @ 6,600 rpm/178 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual
WHEELBASE: 106.7 in.
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 183.9 x 70.4 x 54.8 in.
STICKER PRICE: $29,950 (base)

When I bought my Jaguar 3.4 sedan in the mid-1960s, it cost me $300. Granted, the car had just about used up its useful life and needed a new 4-speed manual transmission badly. It was replaced badly and I eventually traded it in on something else. Not since that time, though, has there been a Jaguar that was really affordable, unless you went the route I went (not suggested). Now, however, Jaguar has the X-Type sedan, a compact four-door that competes with the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Cadillac CTS, among others. It carries a base price of $29,950, which puts it in the price range of many consumers. This may explain why the X-Type has been among Jaguar's top sellers since its introduction in August 2001.

Besides price, one other feature that sets the X-Type apart from some of the competition is four-wheel drive. This full-time all-wheel drive system offers excellent grip on all road surfaces, and does a decent job on ice and snow. The Jaguar Traction 4 system incorporates a planetary gear center differential and viscous coupling. Normal torque is 40 percent front/60 percent rear.

But the X-Type is more than "just another 4-wheel drive vehicle." It's a Jaguar, and you may pronounce that any way you choose.

The X-Type is powered by either a 2.5-liter DOHC V6 or a 3.0-liter DOHC V6. For a change, Jaguar supplied us with a more base version of the 2.5-liter car with a five-speed manual gearbox. At first it seemed strange to be using a manual gearbox in a Jaguar rather than the J-gated automatic, but we got used to it after a while.

The 2.5-liter engine was perfectly adequate for all we asked of it. Rated at 192 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, I felt that it was a good combination. It was low on low-end torque, but we had the manual gearbox to get us into higher revs and up the torque curve. For most driving situations, however, the engine was fine. I've also had the opportunity to drive the 3.0-liter-powered version (227 bhp and 206 lb-ft of torque), and that offers a little more pep.

As a Jaguar, it had interior wood trim, leather seats, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and a full complement of passive safety features including side air bags for the front and rear passengers and a collapsible brake pedal mechanism.

For most of the week we drove the X-Type it was on suburban streets and Interstates. But we also had a chance to let the Jag stretch its legs on a nice stretch of winding road with hills, sharp corners, good road surfaces and little or no traffic. On the way south I had to follow my daughter, but I was in front on the way back and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Here is a nice-size sedan with the ability to handle just about any curve or bend in the road with aplomb. Snicking up and down the manual gearbox and holding tight to the leather-covered steering wheel, I enjoyed all the X-Type could deliver. And the best part was that I didn't have to drive at excessive speeds.

There are many options available with the X-Type. Ours had the Xo Moonroof and Split/Fold Rear Seat Package. And with the onset of early Spring weather, the moonroof proved to be a nice addition.

Standard features include 8-way power driver's seat; automatic climate control; open/close power windows; alloy wheels; 120-Watt AM/FM cassette CD audio system; central locking; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; heated door mirrors and windshield washers; and bird's eye maple trim.

The Jaguar X-Type may have aspersions to being a SUV, with its all-wheel drive. But it isn't. It's all Jaguar, and that's the best part.

© 2003 The Auto Page Syndicate