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2006 Jaguar X-Type reviews

October 14, 2005 03:05 PM EST | Jaguar , Luxury Brands , Sedans | Email to Friend | Comments (0)

A decent entry-level luxury sedan that's outclassed by its European rivals in the important areas of interior furnishings and driving dynamics. Only worth considering if you've got to have the style of a Jaguar.

Pros
Comfortable highway ride, standard all-wheel drive, large trunk, classic Jaguar styling.

Cons
Soft handling, not enough low-end torque, downmarket cabin materials detract from luxury ambience, tight rear-seat entry, no manual transmission available.

What's New for 2006
There are only minor changes to the 2006 Jaguar X-Type. The smaller 2.5-liter V6 has been dropped from the lineup, leaving the 3.0-liter V6 as the only engine available. Jaguar has also made the five-speed automatic transmission standard equipment and discontinued the manual gearbox option. Remaining changes are purely cosmetic, such as a new chrome-mesh grille and updated wheel designs. Bluetooth wireless connectivity and Sirius Satellite Radio are new options this year. See 2005 model.

Introduction:
For the 2002 model-year rollout of the new X-Type, Jaguar set its sights on a younger, more mainstream consumer than it had ever targeted before. The X-Type expanded Jaguar's range of cars in a few noteworthy directions. It was relatively inexpensive (for a Jaguar, anyway), came with standard all-wheel drive, and could even be had with a manual transmission. For 2005, Jaguar added a versatile station wagon version of the X-Type, known as the Sportwagon.

Styling follows the example set by the XJ8, with rounded quad headlights, a Jaguar leaper hood ornament and a discreet chrome grille proclaiming its heritage. The X-Type doesn't have the singular glamour of its pricier siblings in the Jaguar family, though, and from certain angles, the sedan is disappointingly reminiscent of a Ford Taurus.

Inside, each X-Type comes with leather upholstery and real wood trim, but many of the plastics and vinyls used in the cabin are below class standards. The cabin offers a decent amount of room for four adults, though tight rear door openings can make it hard to get in and out.

The competition in the entry-level luxury car segment has only gotten tougher since the X-Type debuted in 2002. Most of its peers, both import and domestic, surpass it in important areas like engine performance, driving dynamics and cabin accommodations while matching or even beating the Jag on price.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The Jaguar X-Type is available as a sedan or a wagon. Base 3.0 models come with standard equipment like 16-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, real wood trim, automatic climate control, a six-speaker CD stereo and one-touch power windows. The Sportwagon adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a power moonroof and split-folding rear seat. On the options list, you'll find a navigation system and the Sport Package, which offers 17-inch alloys, revised suspension settings, HID headlamps, carbon-fiber and Alcantara interior trim, and more aggressive exterior styling. The VDP Edition includes special wheels, chrome mirror caps, rain-sensing wipers, a seat and mirror memory system, a 320-watt Alpine audio system with a CD changer, walnut trim and heated, 10-way power seats with color-contrast piping.

Powertrains and Performance:
The X-Type has a 3.0-liter V6 rated for 227 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission choice is a five-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard on all X-Types.

Safety:
A full complement of safety features is provided on the X-Type, including seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants, side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, and four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Stability control is optional. In government crash testing, the X-Type earned four out of five stars in all frontal- and side-impact categories. In frontal-offset crash testing, it received a "Good" rating (the best possible).

Interior Design and Special Features:
Inside, the X-Type comes with an ample array of luxury features, including leather upholstery, real wood trim, automatic climate control and one-touch windows. Unfortunately, many of the interior materials are low in quality for this class. There's adequate room for four adults, although a sloping roof line puts the squeeze on taller passengers while tight rear-door openings make it tricky to exit the entry-level Jag gracefully. The sedan's trunk capacity is generous at 16 cubic feet, while the wagon offers up to 50 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded.

Driving Impressions:
Alongside other entry-level luxury sedans and wagons, the X-Type comes up short in acceleration and handling. The V6 engine doesn't feel particularly powerful, nor is the five-speed automatic especially quick on the draw. Ride quality is smooth and comfortable on the highway, but it can be harsh over bumps and ruts. Opting for the Sport Package gives the X-Type a fair amount of agility in the turns, but the smallest Jag still feels soft and slow to respond compared to most peers.

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