Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Jaguar X-Type Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Jaguar X-Type Overview

Body
A Little Kitty with Big, All-Wheel-Drive Claws

The X-Type represents Jaguar's first attempt at moving down market into the well-established territory dominated by BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Lexus. To succeed in this arena, Jaguar knows that its car must have all the appeal, luxury and presence of the XJ8 yet sticker for less than half the price. That's a tall order for any new car and the X-Type does its best to fulfill it.

To create their new car, Jaguar looked to its parent company (Ford) for a platform from which to work. This is nothing new for the two automakers, the popular S-Type and Lincoln LS share the same platform and are both selling well. Jaguar decided upon the Ford Mondeo—a popular European sedan in the same league as the Volkswagen Passat—as a starting point and then redesigned the car from the ground up. Jaguar engineers overhauled the suspension system, steering, brakes, engine and transmission. They added more sound-deadening insulation and made the body more aerodynamically slippery and then, just for kicks, tossed in a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system as standard equipment. Finally, the X-team added a 5-speed manual transmission to complement Jaguar's excellent 5-speed automatic. For those who don't know, a Jaguar in which you can manually shift your own gears has not been seen on this continent for over 30 years. Yeah baby!

Next, the stylists were asked to perform a little "Cinderella-like" magic on the Mondeo body—and they didn't even get a pumpkin or pair of glass slippers to start the job. To their credit, the design team did an exemplary job incorporating many of Jaguar's trademark features into the X-Type's body while still delivering a design that looks fresh and new; 17-inch large alloy wheels are a particularly handsome touch.

At this point you are probably wondering if the X-Type performs as well as it looks. Well you needn't hold your breath any longer because the answer is yes. With its standard 2.5-liter V6, the X-Type can move along just fine, though the added weight of the all-wheel-drive system and extra hardware make the larger, more powerful 3.0-liter V6 the engine of choice. When so equipped, we found the X-Type's acceleration to be exhilarating and its road manners practically purrrrfect (sorry, we couldn't resist). If you opt for the manual transmission, it may take you some time to get used to the clutch, which was responsible for number of jerky shifts until we figured out its engagement point. The 5-speed automatic may be a better choice.

Performance and styling are only two-thirds of what is needed to make a Jaguar a Jaguar. An interior to die for is the third and final Jaguar prerequisite and it is also the X-Type's Achilles heel, for as nice as it is, a Jaguar's interior must truly shine—and that shine does not come cheap. In the case of the X-Type, too many of the interior trim pieces look and feel like those from a more common car; a Ford Mondeo to be exact. Covered in premium Connolly leather, the X-Type seats look appealing but once occupied prove to be very narrow, especially in the bottom seat cushion. On the other hand, they do provide good back and shoulder support. The dash layout is clean and functional, but again many of the tiny buttons that command the radio and HVAC controls do not look the part. We also found it odd that there was no central locking button for the doors. We did enjoy the silence of the cabin and the excellent sound system. We also found the trunk to be roomy and easily accessible.

Considering this is Jaguar's first attempt in this segment, it's fair to conclude that they've done a pretty good job with the X-Type. It may have to go a bit further to catch up with the A4s and ES 300s of the world, but for many people, a Jaguar is a Jaguar and one that costs less than $30K is all the encouragement necessary to pull out the checkbook.

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