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View Full Version : Jag X-type gets REAMED by edmunds.


jastevenson
12-20-2001, 03:04 PM
This is the harshest review I've seen from them in a long time...

Save the 'Wicked Games' for Someone Else
By Erin Riches
Last updated: 2001-12-20

After repeated exposure to the Jaguar S-Type and Sting's "Desert Rose" music video, I determined that there was no difference between the commercial and the actual video. In either case, a Jag was pushed forth as the object of desire for Sting and for all those who quietly pine away for the aging male recording artist's affection in the safety of their own homes. And what more effective way could there be to sell a Jaguar? So much of its appeal is wrapped up in style and pampering. The first advertising campaign for the X-Type used Chris Isaak's equally overplayed "Wicked Game" originally released more than a decade ago. The effect was much the same it positioned the X-Type as a conniving little temptress sure to steal your heart and wallet. Not exactly pro-woman, but capitalism has never been that.

After a full week with an X-Type 3.0 with an automatic transmission and non-sport suspension, it was plain that no one on our staff would ever fall in love with this car, much less part with hard-earned money on its behalf. In fact, we'll need the optional sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels and manual transmission to consider even a second date.

Of course, if you've been saving up for a luxury car or a Jaguar your entire life, the comments that follow will seem unduly harsh. What's not to like about a leather-lined sport sedan with a British education?! Those Edmunds.com editors must be spoiled. Well, we are. But even so, this simply isn't the car to reward yourself with after working 80 hours a week to make partner.

So, how did this X-Type offend us? When given anything less than full throttle, the transmission procrastinated before downshifting and slammed into gear on upshifts. Build quality was so poor that the dash vibrated constantly, the driver seat rocked to and fro, and the exhaust system fell apart during performance testing. And when we accelerated briskly through the curves, the all-wheel-drive system couldn't transfer power to the rear axle quickly enough, thus allowing a surprising amount of torque steer. "You could feel the car trying to make up its mind," one editor said.

We had no trouble making up our minds, though. The X-Type performed terribly in a few areas and failed to elicit squeals of delight in any area. Adding to the torturous experience was our car's "as tested" sticker price of $44,245. We priced out a 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro sedan with nearly identical equipment and came up with an MSRP of nearly $5,000 less. When you consider that the A4 is also more exciting to drive and has a carefully assembled, luxurious cabin, it's obvious that the X-Type isn't a best buy in the entry-luxury segment.

If you read our First Drive of the X-Type, you may think that the author of this test has simply gone out of her tree and doesn't understand what the baby Jag is all about. So here's what happened: Since "first drive" events are hosted by the automakers, they're designed to bring out the best in a car. As such, journalists are allowed only a brief amount of time to drive carefully prepped specimens on a set course.

We don't have these limitations when we do a full road test, since we keep each vehicle for a week, during which time no fewer than five editors put miles on it and evaluate its worthiness in various environments. And after spending hundreds of miles with an X-Type, we noted shortcomings that simply weren't apparent during our first drive. We'll also tell you up front that our 3.0 automatic was dressed for touring rather than sport so it had the regularly tuned suspension, 16-inch wheels and V-rated 205/55 Continental ContiTouring Contact all-season tires and simply was not as fun to drive as the models with the sport suspension and low-profile 17s that some of our editors have sampled. The test vehicle also had nearly $8,000 worth of options, yielding a nearly loaded vehicle with power everything, a premium sound system, a DVD-based navigation system and stability control. But with so many options, value went out the window.

As you've heard, the X-Type's engine block is a descendent of the Ford Taurus' Duratec V6, which is one of the noisier, less refined six-cylinders in the family sedan segment. However, with Jaguar's alterations new cylinder heads, new intake and exhaust systems and continuously variable valve timing (intake valves only) you'll never know that the two engines are related. By all accounts, our test car's LEV-certified 3.0-liter V6 was smooth, quiet and perfect for extended highway travel.

This powerplant produces 231 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 209 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm. In practice, it felt weak off the line, but when sufficiently revved, power built up quickly no one will ever call it magnificent, though it's adequate among entry-luxury sedans. We're sure that Jaguar wasn't shooting for adequate, but with faster competitors like the Acura TL Type-S, Audi A4 3.0, BMW 330i, Volvo S60 2.4T/T5 and even the Lincoln LS V8, that's about right. During performance testing, the X-Type needed 8.1 seconds to get to 60 mph and 16.1 seconds for the quarter-mile. Had the Jaguar been part of our 2001 Entry-Level Luxury Sport Sedan Comparison Test, it would have finished above only the Cadillac Catera Sport and the Mazda Millenia S in this category.

During one of our later acceleration runs, the test car's exhaust system fell apart (check out the Photo Gallery) ostensibly because one of the bolts holding the exhaust pipe's retaining clamp in place was merely "finger-tight." Using a wrench set and the Jaguar's tire jack, our road test coordinator proceeded to reassemble the car's exhaust system. Not a difficult fix, but as our senior editor wrote, "How many Jaguar buyers would know what to do if the majority of the exhaust system began clinking and clanking along on the pavement after an aggressive launch from a stoplight?"

Our test vehicle's standard five-speed automatic (a manual is a no-cost option) did its best to embarrass the 3.0L V6. When we hammered on the gas pedal, the transmission seemed to shift flawlessly. In every other instance, its reluctant kickdowns and sloppy upshifts which were almost always accompanied by a thud felt through the driver seat destroyed the driving experience. "The transmission couldn't find a gear to save its life," said one editor. "It was hesitant and making a wrong choice almost each and every time I hit the accelerator." This transmission includes normal and sport modes; we tried both and found no difference in shift quality, though sport is still useful for enthusiastic drivers since it allows more aggressive shift points.

The automatic uses Jaguar's traditional J-gate gear selector, which provides manual access to the four lower gears. It's not a substitute for an automanual, though, as the driver must shift through the gears, rather than tap the lever up or down. What's more, Jaguar didn't see fit to provide a shift pattern display in the instrument cluster; even when we let the automatic do all the work, we were continually glancing down at the center console to confirm the gear selection. Nor was there any indication of whether the transmission was in normal or sport, besides the small, dimly lit button on the console.

Fuel economy with this powertrain is rated at 18 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway; our test car averaged 17 mpg over a week of hard driving. Premium fuel is recommended.

Known as Jaguar Traction-4, the X-Type's all-wheel-drive system uses a viscous coupling housed in the planetary center differential to detect differences in wheel speed. Under ideal traction conditions, the system splits the engine's power 60/40 with a rearward bias for the sake of handling. If the rear wheels start to slip, some of the torque can be redirected to the front (up to a 40 rear/60 front limit).

Whenever we pushed the X-Type around tight turns on two-lane highways, the system seemed to respond slowly, allowing the car to revert to the behavior of a high-powered front-wheel-drive car the X-Type's front end felt loose and wavery (threatening to veer to one side or another unexpectedly) and the car seemed much less responsive to steering input. Yes, this is torque steer, and no, all-wheel-drive cars aren't supposed to have it. This was especially odd given the Jaguar's 60-percent rearward bias. Once the car settled into a turn and we backed off the throttle, predictable handling characteristics returned. But not before we were left with the impression that the X-Type was rather ill suited for anything more intense than a leisurely weekend drive. "I couldn't help but think that I could have hustled a Camry down the same road equally as fast," one editor wrote.

More positively, our test car did provide the reassuring adhesion of AWD on wet roads the ContiTouring Contacts probably had something to do with that, too. The presence of the optional Dynamic Stability Control offered some peace of mind, though on several occasions, it seemed overly intrusive as we unexpectedly felt and heard the abrupt application of braking force on our behalf.

The X-Type shares its chassis with the Ford Mondeo and is suspended by MacPherson struts in the front and a fully independent torsion control link setup in the rear. These underpinnings served our test car well, as it delivered a comfortable, responsive ride in most driving conditions. There is work to be done, however, if we're to think of the X-Type on the same level that we think of the 3 Series and the A4. First, even non-sport models like ours would benefit from firmer shock absorbers to cut down on some of the wallow during cornering reduced body movement leads to increased driver enjoyment. Further, considerable harshness invaded the cabin when the X-Type was driven on crumbling pavement; additional suspension refinement would add to the car's luxury feel.

Editors were generally happy with the X-Type's steering, as the car responded quickly and predictably to input from the driver. The setup feels a bit light and detached from the road when compared to the steering in some of the Jaguar's peers, but that won't bother everyone.

The X-Type's four-wheel antilock disc brakes (vented in the front, solid in the rear) with electronic brake force distribution performed competently in all situations, though editors noted that pedal travel was excessive during hard braking. Also, since the X-Type's suspension lacks anti-dive geometry, there was significant front-end dive, which diminished our confidence. And a couple of editors reported suspicious crunching and clunking sounds during normal braking (when the ABS had not been activated). At the track, our test car's best 60-to-0-mph braking run was 125 feet, which is about average among entry-luxury sedans.

Unlike its German competitors, Jaguar doesn't mess around with standard leatherette/optional leather. Every X-Type's cabin comes swathed in real Connolly leather accented by real wood paneling. Our test vehicle had a beautiful Ivory interior, which of course picked up every smudge in the vicinity (not a good choice for overly hygienic Type-As). Adding to our anticipation of being bathed in Jaguar luxury was a handsome instrument cluster with British Racing Green-faced analog gauges encircled by chrome rings. Then we seated ourselves and scrutinized our plush environment more closely.

Surrounding the rich inlays of leather and wood were plastics and vinyls that looked agreeable enough from a distance but immediately betrayed their cheapness when touched. And there was certainly a bevy of different grain patterns competing for our attention perhaps attempting to distract us from the realization that Jaguar didn't spend much on the X-Type's interior. Gap tolerances between panels were generally large, and overall, it seemed as though the assembly of our test car was a rush job. Examples?
Both front chairs rocked and rattled.


The center console was hard to open and close due to its loose latch mechanisms.


All three screws on the glovebox door were loose, causing it to rattle and resist closing.


The map pocket on the driver's seatback was improperly mounted, allowing a plastic bracket to poke through the vinyl like a severed bone.


Some of the leather on the rear seat was buckling, suggesting sloppy installation.


The vibration in the dash was so severe that the nav system's display moved up and down while the car was in motion. Our stereo expert also noted screen distortion when the volume was turned up halfway (likely due to a power drain).


We had no difficulty pulling apart various interior components with our hands, including the steering wheel housing and the center console-mounted cupholder.


On several occasions, the key remained stuck in the ignition after we had shut off the engine and accessory functions. We had to restart the Jaguar, shift from park to reverse and back, and then, turn off the car to retrieve the key.


The emergency trunk release broke off in one editor's hand as we were inspecting the trunk. (So much for saving trapped youngsters.)
We could go on, but suffice it to say that Jaguar needs to take a hard look at the budgets allotted for materials and assembly, because the X-Type simply cannot compete with other entry-luxury sedans in its current state at its current price. Keep in mind that our test car also had exterior build issues, including botched door seals and misaligned body panels.

Most editors found the leather-bound front seats comfortable and supportive, even after three hours behind the wheel. Not everyone agreed, as one driver rated them as only "marginally comfortable." The headrests don't articulate most vehicles in this class offer this comfort convenience but the sliding center armrest was appreciated. Taller drivers may find headroom lacking with the bottom cushion at its maximum height, even the 5-foot-10-inch author noted that her hair was brushing against the headliner. In addition, the Jag's sloping roofline can make it hard for taller people to get in and out. And if you and your passenger procure refreshments, one of you will have to hold a beverage between your knees, as there's only one front cupholder.

The rear seat offers good cushioning and accommodates three, but headroom is even scarcer, and there isn't much space for legs and feet. The rear doors don't open very wide, either, and we had to twist and turn a compact rear-facing baby seat just to get it inside. When we attempted to install the seat, the overly cheap seatbelt latches impeded our efforts to get it buckled down securely. A pull-down center armrest houses two cupholders.

The X-Type's traditional Jaguar stance detracts from visibility, as its tall hood and high cowl make it somewhat difficult to see out. Jaguar has helpfully equipped the car with convex side mirrors (they have a gentle outward curvature), and after adjusting to the slight distortion around the edges, the author found that these increased her range of sight down either side of the car. Everyone else assumed that the mirrors' shape was an unintended manufacturing problem. So we called Jaguar. And apparently, the curvature is part of their design. So check this out during your test drive.

The trunk employs the fashionable external strut hinges so as not to crush your cargo, and the liftover height is relatively low. The release knobs for the 70/30-split folding rear seat are back here, which is inconvenient, but once the seats are down, the pass-through opening is expansive. Our only real complaint about the trunk is that it's hard to get the lid shut completely with the use of the interior handle. Also, the CD changer is in the trunk not nearly as convenient as an in-dash unit.

For the most part, interior controls were straightforward in use but cheap in construction. The wiper stalk included a rain-sensing function (part of the Premium Package), which we appreciated during a day of intermittent storms, though the system was sometimes a bit slow to react. All of the windows are one-touch up and down. One annoyance was the lack of a central button to lock or unlock all of the doors whenever we wanted this function, we had to pry up one of the actual locks.

Since our test vehicle was equipped with the optional DVD-based nav system, many of the audio and climate controls were bundled into its touchscreen display mounted in the center stack. Several editors hate this setup, as it does require the driver to glance away from the road momentarily to find the appropriate "buttons" on the screen. Fortunately, the display is large and legible, and the various menus for audio, climate and nav functions are easy to negotiate. Dealer-installed voice activation technology (presumably governing all of these functions) is available for the X-Type, but we haven't tried it yet.

Dual-zone climate control isn't available for the X-Type, so you and your passenger will have to fight it out. The optional 10-speaker Alpine sound system is a very pleasant addition to this car, though considering that this Jaguar comes standard with just a four-speaker system, we wonder if it should be optional. Check out our stereo review.

The navigation system works quite well. As with other systems, you can program it according to a variety of specifications ("use major highways," "shortest route," "fastest route," and the like). After the system calculates your route, the narrator (apparently an American female) guides you to your destination, providing advance notice for upcoming exits. When we deviated from the computer's selected route, it generally picked up on the change in plans quickly and recalculated the route. The directions were accurate, though it missed our destination by a block on one occasion probably because the street address was located within an apartment complex. On another occasion, we turned onto a lonely two-lane road north of Barstow, Calif., and the display showed our car motoring into oblivion (which admittedly wasn't far from the truth). Otherwise, this is a useful system for the map-phobic, and because it's DVD-based, you'll be able to use it for the entire U.S. without ordering extra CDs.

Sadly, aside from its easy-to-use navigation system and XJ-Series styling, the X-Type has little to offer entry-luxury buyers. Our test car's bewildered automatic transmission and lengthy list of build-quality issues were enough to defuse its reportedly wicked sex appeal. Even its all-wheel-drive system could not escape our reproach, as unexpected torque steer compromised performance. We won't pull any punches if you're seeking best-in-class performance, luxury and value, the X-Type is not for you. Instead, try the Audi A4 or the BMW 3 Series, which surpass the Jag in every way.

Mr. E
12-20-2001, 03:36 PM
Okay, let's see a show of hands... How many of you are surprised by these conclusions?

Well, the X-type sounds like a typical Ford... At least it beat the Mazda Millenia in 0-60 acceleration. :rolleyes:

JPinTO
12-20-2001, 03:43 PM
Wow! Scorching review! SHould post that on a Jaguar board--- does anyone actually care enough to talk to other Jaguar owners?

Nebr330xi
12-20-2001, 04:17 PM
BRUTAL. But probably on the nose. I have to admit that I saw one head-on in a parking lot a couple of months back and thought it looked good. But then it drove by and I changed my mind.

Plaz
12-20-2001, 04:22 PM
Harsh.

I never seriously considered this Taurus DeLuxe.

Emission
12-20-2001, 04:23 PM
I test drove a Jag X-type prototype over the summer at a focus group. I was unimpressed then, and I remain unimpressed.

It is so much Ford, and so little Jag. It really doesn't even have a niche.

I am sorry to hear that Jag went after this market and failed miserably. That money could have been spent on any other of their cars.

Plaz
12-20-2001, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by Emission
I am sorry to hear that Jag went after this market and failed miserably. That money could have been spent on any other of their cars.

I think I remember reading some article a few months ago about how the success of the X-type was imperative to the success of the Jaguar brand too... as if it was a "make or break" kind of proposition. I hope this doesn't put that long-standing marquee in the grave.

JPinTO
12-20-2001, 04:59 PM
Jaguar has some serious work to do if it wants to compete in the 3/C/A4 market. Such a weak entry into a solid category will be immediately dismissed.

Lexus had fairly good press with it's IS300 and it hasn't made much of a dent in the segment. Bye, bye Jaguar!

Mr. E
12-20-2001, 05:19 PM
Talking about the demise of Jaguar, let's not even get into their dismal Formula One performance last year. That's got to be sucking untold millions out of the company with no payback in prestige...

The BMW Williams team, on the other hand... :D :D :D

JST
12-20-2001, 09:26 PM
Now, hang on.

I (obviously) didn't buy a Jaguar. I thought that the X-type did not give the same sport sedan feel that the 330 did, let alone the M3.

But I seriously disagree that this is a "weak" entry in the segment. It's certainly everything that the (old) A4 2.8 was and more (at least in 3.0 Sport guise, which is what I test drove). The driving dynamics were superior to the Audi's (IMHO), and the features, styling etc. were just as good, if not better. I haven't driven a new A4, so I can't comment on that.

The X-type also handles the C240, which feels (and looks) like a much cheaper car than the X-type, despite the Jag's plebian Mondeo roots. The Jag offers a better driving experience and a nicer interior than the Merc, for similar money. The C320 doesn't come with a stick.

The 3.0L engine in the Jag does not have the world of torque down low that the BMW 3.0 has, but (with a stick, which is the only way I'd buy a car) it has plenty of scoot in the mid to upper portions of the rev range. This is not a serious negative; sometimes its fun to feel the power come on as the revs climb, and the Jag is not so deficient down low to make you yearn for extra power (like, say, the vaunted S2000).

Bottom line? I think the Jag is a very nice looking, extremely competent entry in this segment. It is easily competitive with the Audi and Merc, though it is not as fun to drive as the BMW.

Ashe
12-20-2001, 09:33 PM
...........

David328ci
12-21-2001, 01:18 AM
Torque steer in a 4 wheel drive car? That is just plain shameful, specially when you can buy a much cheaper Subaru. It's no surprise to me that the 4 wheel drive in the X-Type sucks. I was skeptical when I heard that it was going to based on a Mondeo. I was thinking that 4 wheel drive was simply a compromise because the Mondeo is after all front drive so they would never take away the front drive wheels since they were already being used.

SamBeau
12-31-2001, 10:21 AM
Just try pricing a Jaguar 3.0 with the kind of equipment most of us would want.
The sports package, which is largely cosmetic, but includes the sport-tuned suspension and skid control, costs $2k and requires the inclusion of the $2.5k premium package (also required for the $675 xenon lamps).
When you've added it all up you're in Audi S4 territory....and that's no contest imho.
Sorry Jaguar, but you suck.