Jaguar X-Type 2.2 Diesel Sovereign saloon
Facelifted X-Type strikes a more sophisticated pose
- Diesel performance is impressive
- Driving experience should please enthusiasts
- Standard equipment levels are very good
- Traditional exterior gains a modern touch
- Ride on Sport models might be too firm for some
- Petrol models less desirable when taking account running costs
- Boot aperture could be more generous
- Rear legroom is modest at best
Often referred to as the 'baby Jag' the X-Type has been a mainstay of the range of some time. Originally devised to lure younger buyers away from the likes of Audi, Mercedes and BMW, it offers an interesting combination of old world charm and contemporary driving dynamics.
It's always tough competing against premium saloons such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. The X-Type was always going to find the business of tempting buyers hard work. The combination of familiar values and competitive prices is attractive, though.
Keeping that price competitive has meant sharing a few things with one-time owner Ford. The underlying platform and drivetrain has its roots in the previous generation Mondeo. And it's paid off, as the X-Type is an enjoyable car to drive, and one that boasts an excellent choice of diesel engines.
While the first cars launched were petrol, the range has matured. Diesel power arrived along with front-wheel drive for the oil burners plus an all-important auto gearbox to keep fleet company car drivers happy. And it's the 2.2 diesel that puts the X-Type on a par with its German rivals for performance and economy.
However there's still the nagging doubt from some quarters that the baby Jaguar could have been so much better. In truth it's not a bad car, just one that's in a fiercely competitive market surrounded by constantly evolving cars from the German makers with deeper pockets and a wider fan base.
Our verdict on the Jaguar X-Type 2.2 Diesel Sovereign saloon
There's no question that the subtle but agreeable exterior styling changes to the X-Type have done much to broaden its appeal. Jaguar's ability to heap more standard kit on its car's shouldn't go unnoticed, either. This slim line range and exclusive focus on diesel power should prove attractive to high mileage motorists seeking to stand out from the compact executive herd.
Nothing with a 'premium' tag will be cheap to run, although opting for a diesel variant will help keep costs down at the pump if you travel a lot. Be mindful that running and insurance costs are higher than for a mainstream saloon. The X-Type is based on a mainstream Ford platform tough, which should make a difference come service time.
Space and practicality
The X-Type won't spoil you with space, but for most people it should be fine. The main gripe is the modest amount of rear legroom, as adult passengers might feel the pinch on long journeys. Positives run to a good number of cubbyholes, including a useful centre armrest. At the rear the Jag's boot is a practical size given the car's compact dimensions, although the loading aperture could be bigger.
Controls and display
With subtle tweaks to the X-Type's cabin, quality and usability have both been improved. Even without the minor changes, the car's switchgear remain intuitive and easy to use. The optional touch screen sat-nav makes finding your way through climate, audio and navigation functions easy.
For all its luxury cues, the X-Type is not a car you can stretch out in; its cabin is snug rather than spacious. The seats are supportive, however, and headroom - even in the back - is more than reasonable. Noise levels are pleasingly low, although ride comfort can be spoilt by firm suspension settings.
With remote locking, an alarm and engine immobiliser all standard fit, there's no need to worry about security. There are few places to leave valuables in plain sight too, making it doubly hard for the criminals. In light of the car's status, you might want to consider an aftermarket tracking device for added peace of mind.
Whatever critics say about the X-Type, there's no doubting its safety package. With occupancy-sensing restraint systems, twin front and side airbags and the predictable inclusion of anti-lock brakes and traction control nothing's been left to chance.
Over time Jaguar has gone to great lengths to promote the car's all-wheel drive handling prowess - something that doesn't apply to the front-wheel drive diesel variants. Steering is direct, and the brakes are powerful and responsive. The 2.2 diesel is the pick of the range thanks to its deep reserves of power and effortless overtaking potential. The combination of sports suspension and large alloy wheels promote an overly firm ride.
Family car appeal
With the X-Type's target buyers likely to be mature males, it's unlikely that families were Jaguar's primary consideration. The car's cabin is, frankly, too luxurious for family use, and car's modest boot won't help, either. It's not big enough to swallow shopping, toys and the odd pushchair. An executive-style MPV would be a better choice.
First car appeal
Few first time drivers will have the means to buy and run an X-Type. Asking price aside, insurance, servicing and fuel costs are in the premier league - as you would expect from a Jaguar. That said, it is an easy car to drive if you find yourself behind the wheel.
Quality and image
There's little doubt that the principal of a compact, premium Jaguar saloon is a sound one. Alas not everyone has bought into the concept, as many still think of Jaguar as a maker of big, expensive and luxurious saloons. Initial build quality niggles have gone and the diesel engines have allowed the car to compete more successfully against the mighty steamroller that is BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
As far as compact executive saloons go, the X-Type leans more towards the compact end. The car's doors easy to pass through, although access to the front is predictably better than the rear. Compact saloons never make the best load-luggers, and the X-Type is no different thanks in part to the modest aperture of the open boot.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
There's never any complaint when attention turns to Jaguar audio systems - even the basic units are good. The upgrade path is a generous one, with a choice of power amplifiers, CD changers, sat-nav and Bluetooth telephone provision. The sat-nav is of the touch screen variety, and boasts a large display and responds quickly to detours.
Colours and trim
Despite the external refresh, many of the traditional, sombre Jaguar colour options remain in the catalogue. There's no question that a black or dark green car does look stylish. The same is true of the car's cabin, as restrained colours certainly lend a more sophisticated air - especially black leather.
A seasoned drive should have no problems with the X-Type; parking the saloon is relatively straightforward as the power steering is light and the car's overall dimensions are hardly huge. That said, it's not always easy to judge where the boot ends, making the parking sensors a must-have.
A full size spare is fitted as standard.
Diesel engine range - 2.0-litre (128bhp); 2.2-litre (152bhp). No petrol option for facelifted model. Transmission - five-speed manual (2.0) and six-speed manual plus six-speed auto as cost option (2.2). Trim levels: S, SE, Sport Premium, Sovereign.
BMW 3 Series Saloon Benchmark car in this sector, although can be pricey
Audi A4 Saloon Latest model is better to drive and build quality remains superb
Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon Much improved Merc is a good all-rounder and more engaging when driven hard
Honda Accord Not German but surprisingly accomplished