Which products have made it into the Honest John Kit gift guides for Christmas 2019? You'll be surprised... | No thanks

Jaguar X-Type Diesel 2003 Road Test

Sat, 15 Nov 2003

I don’t remember settling into a new car faster than I did with the X-Type D. Just moved the seat once to take the delivery driver to the station and I was comfortable for the rest of the week.

Everything I wanted fell to hand, or was in a logical place and worked logically, though that could be due to years of conditioning by Mondeo. I have received a few complaints from tall, long-legged drivers that they just can’t get comfortable in an X-Type, but that applies to 3-Series, 5-Series and numerous other cars. For normal size blokes like me it’s fine.

The engine is straight out of the Mondeo TDCI 130, not the 136bhp Ford/PSA 2.0 litre used in the C-Max and new Volvo S40. And it has to make do with a 5-speed box rather than the Mondeo, C-Max and Volvo’s new 6-speeder. But it’s so gutsy it doesn’t really need a 6-speeder. First and second are a bit short. You get the same torque reaction as you do in the Mondeo TDCI, as if the engine is trying to tear itself out of its mountings. So you have to drive around that a bit. And handling is front-drive X-Type rather than four wheel drive X-Type, though the one I had felt better to me than the last 2.1V6 I drove. But where this car is phenomenally at its best is on the motorway.

Fourth and fifth are just right for pulling onto the carriageway, gaining a lot of speed quickly, then settling down to a 30mph per 1,000rpm cruise. 2,350rpm gets you seventy, which isn’t too far off the pace of a Mk II 3.8 in overdrive. But in the diesel you’re bang on peak torque, which gives instant acceleration up to the sort of speeds we’re not allowed to talk about any more for fear of earning a life sentence while thieves and murderers walk free. Actually, the way this country is going, soon the only safe place to live will be prison, along with all the other convicted motorists because the last people you’ll be likely to meet inside will be villains.

My particular motor was Sport spec on huge 18” alloys with mere strips of 40 section rubber between the rims and the road. So it clonked a bit over grids and pot-holes. And it was loaded with just about everything on the accessory list.

The electric folding mirrors are good, and especially so because the button to fold them works after you’ve taken the key out of the ignition (wiring designers, please note). The touch screen satnav was the best I’ve ever used. For a start, you can’t use it on the move, so it’s safe. But it’s also extremely easy to get the hang of and to programme. Then, when it gives you instructions, they are very clear with several different sound and visual cross-checks. I never put a wheel wrong with it.

The cruise control is good too, for those rare occasions you can safely use cruise control these days. Again, simple to operate and totally intuitive.

They gave me a bright red one, which many people might think inappropriate for a Jag, but which I liked a lot. It brought out the lines of the car well which, from the back, can look a bit like an S Type or an XJ. Very definitely a Jag, anyway.

I didn’t have time to do a valid fuel consumption check, but if it’s anywhere near the 45 – 50 readers are getting from properly sorted Mondeo TDCI 130s, then that’s fine.

So, should you pay thousands more for it than they ask for a Mondeo? If feelgood is important, then the answer is yes. The real problems with the car aren’t anything to do with it, they’re the competition.

BMW 320d, Mercedes C220CDI, Honda Accord 2.2iCRDI and probably toughest of all, the forthcoming Volvo S40 2.0TDCI.

But at least Ford makes both the Volvo and the Jag, so Henry has a 40% chance of banking your money one way or another.

Read more


Ask Honest John

Value my car