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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Jaguar X-Type Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Jaguar X-Type Overview

Playing Hardball

The X-Type was created for those individuals who have always sought to own a new Jaguar, but found the expensive XJ sedan well out of their reach. The X-Type is the first Jaguar to compete with cars like the BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CTS and Audi A4. This is a tough crowd to run with, as Jaguar has learned over the last two years. You have to have more than a famous name and stylish good looks, so for 2004, Jaguar has slashed the price of its X-Type 3.0 by nearly $5000. Actually, the price cut is about $2500, with an additional $2500 worth of optional features now made standard.

The X-Type outpaces the competition in a number of areas, beginning with the drivetrain. Jaguar has made its all-wheel drive system a standard feature on both the 2.5 and 3.0 models. The Traction 4 system is elegantly simple in its design; power is sent to a center differential that then splits the engine's torque output 40% to the front wheels and 60% to the rear. If one wheel begins to slip—as occurs when you hit a patch of ice—the system will detect it and route power to the opposite side. The beauty of the Traction 4 system is that it works so seamlessly you won't even know it's there until you need it. Besides its foul weather applications, the Traction 4 system has another added benefit: incredible road holding grip.

An hour-long test drive through any seldom-traveled winding mountain road will be all you need to understand the beauty of the X-Type's performance capabilities. Cornering is flat with very little body roll and you'll feel how the optional Sport suspension turns the usual two-bounce dip recovery into a single short hop that returns control almost immediately to the driver. When you order the Sport package, you'll also get a set of larger 18-inch wheels and tires, thicker anti-roll bars and Jaguar's Dynamic Stability Control system that can further reduce the opportunity to lose control of the vehicle. All in all, the suspension is tight, capable and every bit a contender in this all-star league.

Of course, how you choose to drive your X-Type may also dictate which model you settle upon. The X-Type 2.5 employs a healthy 192-horsepower V6 engine that is both capable and refined. Power from this engine does not come on fully until you get the revs up past 2800 rpm, but for everyday driving and the occasional back road escape, the 2.5 is more than adequate in the X-Type and fits the car's luxury image to a tee. If, on the other hand, you prefer your Jaguar to be a little more rowdy, we highly recommend the 3.0-liter; this engine not only ups the horsepower rating to 227 but also adds a significant amount of oomph to both off-the-line acceleration and passing power. The 3.0-liter also seems to run a bit smoother at high speeds.

The standard transmission is a 5-speed manual, though we imagine most dealers will be ordering the cars with the optional 5-speed automatic. Both transmissions have their pros and cons; we found the manual transmission to have a finicky clutch uptake that took some time to master. The shifter feels great, with short, accurate throws and a nicely shaped shift knob that feels great resting in the palm of your hand. The J-gated automatic may be the better choice for this car, delivering crisp gear changes that make the most of the engine's power.

Inside the X-Type you'll find the prerequisite Jaguar leather and wood adorning just about every surface you can lay your hands on. The X-Type's lower price tag means you won't find the same level of interior material as those in the top-of-the-line XJ, but overall look and feel is still that of a premium marque. You may find that X-Type's sport seats tend toward the narrow side, especially in the seat bottoms and that rear seat legroom can be sparse when the front seats are fully pushed back. The X-Type's controls are straight-forward and easy to decipher, backlit at night in a soft green light. Some of the many standard features found inside the X-Type include automatic air conditioning, power windows and door locks, AM/FM stereo with cassette, front side-impact and front and rear head impact airbags, leather seating with 8-way power driver's seat, real wood trim and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel. Some popular options for the X-Type include power glass moonroof, navigation system, premium audio with CD, the Sport package and heated front seats.

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