Between 2001 and 2009, Jaguar produced the X400 compact executive car, which was also available in four-door sedan and five-door station wagon body shapes released in 2004. It featured the classic Jaguar front with a low-slung bonnet and a two-winged headlight cluster. Although it is based around the platform of the Ford Mondeo, the car itself is pure Jaguar, which gives it style and presence with great road handling.
The interior styling is typical Jaguar wood and leather, comfortable seating, nicely trimmed doors, and a polished walnut veneer dashboard. It features well-proportioned space in the front, but the dip of the roofline does cut down on the rear headroom. The station wagon is a little more spacious in the back and has excellent cargo room.
The station wagon offers all the luxury and refinement expected of a Jaguar with the extra room and storage space. Around this time, the X-Type received a new grille, and again in 2008, the facelift saw new front and rear bumpers added as well as redesigned door mirrors.
Power initially in the X-Types came from either a 2.5L or 3.0L V6 petrol engine. Later front-wheel drive 2.0L or 2.2L diesel engines were offered. These were either mated to a 5-speed or 6-speed manual gearbox with the option of a semi-automatic 5-speed. The 2.2L is quick enough off the mark, going from 0-100Km/h in 8.5 seconds and producing a top end of 220Km/h. On fuel economy, the 2.0L achieves 8L/100km while the larger 2.2L is even better.
Ironically, the Ford Mondeo chassis, which came in for much criticism, does give the X-Type some good road handling. However, the association with Ford has caused much negative reaction from Jag fans. The X-Types are a comfortable ride, perhaps not as laid back as the big cats, but definitely relaxing enough for their class. However, the competition may edge it out on this one.
The driving experience behind the wheel of the X-Type is okay. Handling and steering were comfortable enough, but the suspension is a little firm over bumpy ground. Inside the cabin, there is little disturbance from road noise or the sound of the engine, providing a peaceful trip.
Across the board, all owners, even at entry level, get the full Jaguar leather and wood treatment inside the cabin. There is an electric adjustable driver’s seat and a quality Alpine stereo, air-con, powered windows, heated door mirrors, central arm rest with storage capacity, and a leather-covered steering wheel complete with audio controls.
Even at the entry level you get 16” alloy wheels, chrome window trim, fog lights, rub stripes and side skirts, so it’s a pretty well-equipped vehicle with which to start. This all gives off an air of elegant sophistication that you would associate with the name Jaguar.
The SE trim gives you cruise control, a touch screen infotainment system, sat. nav., 6-disk CD stack changer, Xenon headlights, parking sensors, stability control, and a sunroof. Split rear seats are an added extra and cup holders are absent in the earlier X-Types.
Safety provision is excellent in the X-Type, and standard across the trims are traction control, EBD, ABS, front air bags, twin front and side air bags, and also rear curtain air bags.
Later editions of the X-Type featured modern essentials such as sat. nav. and Bluetooth hands-free.
Jaguar’s main competition has always been the precisely engineered German BMWs, which makes the X-Type clash directly with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes Benz C180s. In Jags attempt to open themselves up to a new, younger market, the X-Type was meant to fill this void, and while cheaper than its rival, there were always questions about its platform.
Auto purists might feel they are getting an upscale Ford Mondeo rather than a compact Jag. The people complaining ignored the fact that less than 20% of the car’s parts were actually Ford, and that other luxury models like Aston Martin and Lincoln also made use of Ford parts.
On power, it beats its German opposition no problem. It has all the style and elegance you expect to find in a big car and even offers a Sport trim aimed at the youth. Other contenders in the compact executive range include the Volkswagen Passat and Audi A4, which compete on price, and then you have the cheaper models like Saab and Citroen C5.