Last of England [2]

The X-Type’s heyday – brutish and short.

US market X-Types were fitted with a bonnet-mounted ‘leaper’ ornament. Image cars.com

The Jaguar X-Type made its world debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2001 amid a good deal of optimism, Jaguar’s then Managing Director, Jonathan Browning outlining the model’s significance to the press in transformative terms. In this he would be proven correct, albeit not in the manner intended. 

Early reviews spoke of a car which met the required criteria of Jaguar-ness. Reporters seemed particularly keen to get any Mondeo references out of the way quickly. Much too was made of Jaguar’s (more successful) efforts to avoid the justifiable criticism levelled at the larger S-Type offering upon launch in 1998, whose cabin was decried as being of a distinctly US ‘hire-car’ ambience.

American imprint, Autoweek noted that while the X-Type’s styling “borders on clutter with its copious, otherwise welcome Jaguar styling cues,” over several hundred test miles behind the wheel at the car’s UK-based press-launch, much of it on undulating English B-roads, there was praise aplenty. “It’s the ride-handling mix, a blend of comfortable isolation from the harshest road surfaces and a sense of control and performance ability that distinguishes it. Is it a real Jaguar? Yes.

The New Jag Generation,” the X-Type’s marketing line, carried an implication that the compact Jaguar would open up the storied brand to a younger, more dynamic demographic, who would progress up the range as they gained in age and affluence, and certainly, the car’s dynamics were geared more towards that audience. Shifting Jaguar’s customer centre of gravity from a predominance amid the gated compounds of Florida’s retirement communities was considered essential to the brand’s longer-term viability.

But the X-Type’s early popularity, such as it was, appeared to lie largely with downsizing retirees, who appreciated the fact that it looked just like the XJ they were in many cases trading against it, or with those who simply hankered for a slice of Albion.

Timing is everything in life. Jaguar introduced the X-Type to the American market in the Spring of 2002 and the moment was anything but auspicious. The United States, traumatised from the events of the previous Autumn had in fact been in recession (the after-effects of a failed dot-com investor-bubble) for some months prior to September 11, and Wall Street was plunged into even deeper crisis by the Al Qaeda attacks.

In its wake, a large number of major US corporations failed – some observers viewing 9/11 as a catalyst: Enron, Worldcom, Tyco and Xerox amongst the higher profile casualties no longer able to paper the cracks. And while Congress put through a $1.35 trillion tax cut in 2002 which precipitated something of a consumer bounce, it was to prove shortlived as individuals and businesses adjusted to a wholly new set of realities. By year’s end, both business and consumer confidence was falling.

Never paragons of durability, Jaguar’s US market reputation had for decades been of a decidedly chequered variety. It was not until a full-time engineering and proving outpost was constructed in Arizona around 1985 that the carmaker began to firstly understand, and then remedy many of the baked-in issues relating to their existing cars. Ford’s purchase of Jaguar in 1989 however led to total reorganisation, and the wholesale adoption of the blue oval’s procedures and processes.

Jaguar’s rapid adoption of Ford’s quality systems, a function of their relatively small size and complete buy-in throughout the business saw the carmaker go from second-last in JD Power’s quality rankings in 1991 to the top position by 1997 – to the surprise of Ford’s own senior management, whose products still languished in mid-field at the time. Jaguar had made a lot of progress on the build and durability front by 2001, so it was all the more disappointing that issues would later emerge, gaining the model a reputation for fragility and expensive repair bills.[1]

But despite a positive initial reception, early X-Type sales were modest – its debut year being best for American deliveries with just over 33,000 finding takers – a respectable figure, but a good deal short of projections. Sales nosed steadily downwards from there and from 2004 X-Type US sales went into freefall, halving the following year, then halving once again in 2006, when just shy of 11,000 were delivered.

Across Europe, the picture was less bleak, yet broadly of a similar nature. 2002 sales echoed those of the US, with just short of 31,000 being delivered. In mitigation, a lack of smaller-engined variants acted as a brake on initial demand, where taxation regimes in many countries militated against the car. 2004 saw a brief reprieve with a sales spike that year of 38,400 X-Types. And while the subsequent falloff was not as precipitous, the direction was nonetheless assuredly downwards.

By 2001, Jaguar formed part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group (PAG), headed by Wolfgang Reitzle. The former BMW Wunderkind was regarded as having perhaps the keenest instincts for product excellence, this side of Ferdinand Piëch, and under his leadership, plans for Jaguar were for a range of closely related saloons all spun off a shared aluminium sub-structure. Sanctioned prior to his appointment, X-Type was unreservedly not a Reitzle car, the patrician product guru viewing it with a certain elegant distaste.

However, once Jacques Nasser was replaced as Ford Motor Company CEO by Sir Nick Scheele[2] in 2001, Reitzle, frustrated by Dearborn’s unwillingness to fully commit to his product plans and reportedly not prepared to be Scheele’s fall-guy departed abruptly the following year. It’s probably not unreasonable to suggest that the PAG group’s prospects died then.

In 2002, a 2.1 litre version of the AJ-V6 engine debuted for certain European markets, aimed at broadening the model’s appeal, but its swept volume kept it on the wrong side of affordable tax bands in many EU countries. This model was also notable as being the first Jaguar-badged car in its history to be sold with front-wheel drive – a matter the press made much of. Nobody else particularly cared, not least as it was a sluggish a performer and not a success.

The Autumn of 2003 saw the belated introduction of a turbodiesel version – a 1993 cc Ford-Mondeo sourced power unit[3] (manual-only, driving the front wheels), followed by the debut of a well executed estate model; Autocar in October of that year fatuously stating that the UK ‘s Audi dealers should be worried.

Sales figures are something of a blunt tool in terms of causality, but what can be discerned from them is that initial demand for the X-Type was not stellar, and without supporting evidence of any supply-related issues, the logical conclusion is that as a commercial proposition, the car never really caught on. Even at its Worldwide sales peak (around 2003/4), X-Type sales fell considerably short of expectations.

Image: honest-john

By mid-decade, Dearborn was chilling towards their resource-hungry English prestige arm, especially as wounds were still being licked over losses incurred from Ford’s underperforming (Jaguar-branded) Formula 1 programme, which retreated into ignominy at the close of 2004 – the blue oval selling the entire outfit to Red Bull, who made rather more of a success of it.

X-Type’s disappointing sales saw initial ambitions for additional bodystyles and more performance-orientated halo models[4] falter. By 2004, fissures were growing with newly appointed Jaguar Managing Director, Bibiana Boerio informing Automotive News that executives were openly questioning whether “the X-type is a true Jaguar?” With industry analysts citing Jaguar USA’s policy of cheap lease offers as devaluing the brand, there were growing calls for the model to be withdrawn from the US entirely.

In the wake of the outcry surrounding the Browns Lane factory closure, Jaguar’s Joe Greenwell testified to UK parliamentarians at the November 2004 Select Committee on Trade and Industry, admitting that Ford had overseen “a failed growth strategy.” He went on to issue a chilling indictment of the blue oval’s relationship with brand-Jaguar telling the committee, “Ford acquired Jaguar 15 years ago and, quite candidly, it has not had a satisfactory return from that business and yet it has continued to invest billions of pounds in Jaguar“.

His tone was contrite, yet upbeat, telling the committee; “I think the right way forward is, as I indicated earlier, that Jaguar should concentrate on producing great Jaguars and when it does, it makes money. It will be niche, it will be distinctive, but I would rather we made money out of the units we sold than we push volume, as we have done, and make these losses and put the company at risk. We are not going to do that.

Having acknowledged their error, management began to loosen the creative screws, allowing Jaguar to begin rebalancing its offer towards core values. But it was already too late. By 2006, Jaguar had become an unsustainable liability. Having invested $billions, Ford had been rewarded with little but deepening pools of red ink and the prospect of never-ending financial dependency.

Land Rover Freelanders come off the line at Halewood. Image: Reuters.

Meanwhile, having acquired the Land Rover business from BMW in 2001, LR announced the second generation L359 Freelander model that year. This all new model, built on a Ford-derived EUCD platform would be built alongside the X-Type at Halewood, bolstering the now under-utilised plant’s viability in the wake of the Jaguar’s lukewarm reception. Itself no paragon of reliability, the Freelander nonetheless proved rather more of a commercial success.

Mark Fields was appointed to manage the PAG holding in the wake of Rietzle’s departure in 2002, telling Car magazine in 2014 that Ford had initially hoped PAG would provide one-third of blue oval profits by mid-decade. But it was not to be. “Jaguar was in very bad shape. We had too much capacity, a vehicle line up that didn’t deliver the brand, we were smack in the middle of the X-type experience. It was a real lesson for us: badge engineering to turn a Ford into a Jaguar – extra leather isn’t going to cut it!

With US sales of the X-Type barely exceeding 5,000 cars in 2006, it was decided to pull the model from North America entirely, although a trickle were delivered in 2007. With Ford now actively seeking a buyer for the limping cat, it is likely that a facelift (introduced that Autumn), was viewed as a matter of expedience. Surprisingly, and notwithstanding the lack of sheet metal changes, the revisions were significant, but to be blunt, at least two years late to market for them to have had any real market significance.

Changes centred primarily upon modernising the visuals and improving the interior ambience. The revisions added up to a good deal more than the sum of their parts, lending the X-Type a visual appeal it wholly lacked at launch. The facelifted car debuted a new, more powerful 2.2-litre turbodiesel[5] (with an automatic option), while the 3-litre petrol unit was retained as the sole option – the others having been axed, along with the bulk of Jaguar’s sales ambitions.

Once again, timing was not Jaguar’s forte, the facelifted model arriving just in time for the 2008 financial crisis, so it is hardly surprising that sales remained in the doldrums. However, the revised models probably prevented a total collapse – the X-Type by this point selling largely on incentives and specification. Jaguar was moving on, and the X-Type was now viewed as something of an embarrassment by senior management. When asked about the model at a press event in 2009, Mike O’ Driscoll[6] quipped, “Do we still make it? I’d like to put a stake through its heart.

Later in the year, he did just that, the X-Type axed early at the cost of 300 jobs at Halewood, which was also shut down temporarily. A spokesman emphasised that job losses would be of a voluntary nature, Halewood now required for a new generation of car, one which would prove to be the diametric opposite in looks and appeal to yesterday’s Jaguar: JLR’s 2010 Evoque crossover.[7]

By then the UK motor press had turned fire on the hapless Jag, commentators lining up to take pot-shots at the car many of them lauded to the skies in 2001. Over a 9-year lifespan, 362,000 were produced. Given that projections were for between 100,000-150,000 a year to be sold, this can only be viewed as a massively disappointing outcome.

o0O0o

In the final piece, we will examine the whys and wherefores.

[1] Driveline faults (the transfer case being a prime cause – also reported failures of the JATCO automatic transmission), and electronic gremlins. In addition, some well-publicised faults with diesel pumps and dual-mass flywheels in the European market diesel models.

[2] Sir Nick Scheele’s pathway to the top floor at Dearborn’s Glasshouse was via Browns Lane, where he served for a time during the 1990s as Jaguar CEO. As such, he was one of the architects of Jaguar’s Rapid Growth Strategy, latterly dubbed a failure. 

[3] The 2.0 litre diesel unit was sourced from the Mondeo and was a rather uncouth device, despite efforts to silence it. Its lack of refinement and subsequent durability woes suggesting that perhaps it was rushed into service?

[4] A supercharged R version of the X-Type was to be offered as a halo model. According to Autoweek, it was scheduled for the X-Type’s third model year, but was never green-lit. Suggestions that the transfer box couldn’t handle the engine’s torque are unsubstantiated.

[5] The 2.2 diesel unit was suppled by Ford and differed entirely from the more refined PSA-derived unit fitted to the equivalent Freelander 2 – for reasons which are not clear.

[6] Jaguar seemed to burn through more than cash during this period – there seemingly being a different MD or CEO for each successive year – hardly a recipe for success or continuity.

[7] The Evoque was originally a Jaguar advanced studio project, overseen by Julian Thomson. It was also exactly the kind of product Jaguar desperately needed to turn around its prospects.

Sources: Car magazine/ Autocar/ Autoweek/ The Guardian. Sales figures via carsalesbase.com

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

25 thoughts on “Last of England [2]”

  1. Good morning Eóin. This is indeed a sad tale, if very well told. The Autocar ‘obituary’ for the X-Type (to which you provide a link above) is snide and mean-spirited, and very different to the enthusiasm with which the magazine originally greeted the car, IIRC.

    I’m left wondering about the possible outcome of an alternate reality, whereby the 2001 X-Type was not styled to look like a mini-XJ, but was given a fresh and contemporary appearance. Would that car have fared any better in the market? I pose the question because that’s exactly what Jaguar has delivered with the XE, to which the market seems pretty indifferent, in part because of its bland and generic design, I suspect.

    I find it difficult to believe that the (excellent) Mondeo underpinnings were an issue for the vast majority of potential buyers. I remember when BMW introduced its first FWD model a company spokesman saying that most owners neither knew nor cared which wheels were driven. Perhaps Jaguar was overly sensitive to this when planning the X-Type, hence the excessive application of traditional Jaguar design tropes?

    Was it the downsizing pensioner buyer demographic that emerged that hobbled the X-Type’s appeal to younger buyers? Jaguar’s timing was, as you point out, pretty unfortunate, both for the initial launch and the facelift.

    Much to ponder while I look forward to reading your conclusions.

    1. I remember Jaguar highlighting the difficulties in squishing as many heritage details into the X-type design as possible, specifically the headlights being oval instead of circular, because circular would not have worked, the car being narrower than an XJ.

      There’s an XE near where I live, and somehow I always have to remind myself that it’s a special car – in the vein of the 3 series. I remember the first-generation XF being hailed as a great design (there’s one near where I live, too, but unfortunately it’s the pre-facelift version with “those” headlights). Maybe they tried to spread the original XF’s design language over too many models, or didn’t have the money to get all the details just so?

      Aren’t the plans mentioned in the article – closely related sedans based on an shared aluminium sub-structure – how Jag have been operating? And hasn’t it been a bit of a let down? As I understand it aluminium is light, but weak, meaning so much of it has to be used to get the desired stiffness that it compromises packaging. Jags of the XSomething generation aren’t known for being light cars, either. The brand is probably too small to invest in another product strategy, though.

      Speaking of cars parked near where I live: there’s also an Alfa Giulia, a car I see more often than I’d imagined (though nowhere near 3 series ubiquity, of course). I also see more of them than I do Stelvios, which I certainly wouldn’t have expected. It’s not a great design, the Giulia, but I never have to remind myself that it’s special. It’s just at least ten years too late, probably.

    2. Living in Denmark doesn´t help things, I guess. I think I´ve not seen more than one or two XEs or XFs around here. In Dublin I see the odd XF. Five series and E´s outnumber it. What it doesn´t do is look all that remarkable (sitting in one is good – I was in a Jaguard taxi last February). And the same lack of wow applies to the Giulia other than that the interior on some versions is really pleasing. It seems the companies are up against the fact the same production methods are now used by everyone. A 10,000 euro car is as well made as a 50,000 euro car, just with less content.
      Stelvios? Sales figures for this must be microscopic. Again, I might have seen a handful since it came out and it has to be halfway through its life cycle now.

    3. That’s why I’m surprised at the number of Giulias I do see: I live in the Netherlands where the tax situation seems largely similar to Denmark. I’m not much of a traveller even in non-covid times, but every time I did cross the border from Germany into Holland, I was struck by the difference in car population: C and D segment cars (and bigger) give way to fleets and fleets (flocks? murders?) of Aygos and the like – driven like they were big BMW’s 🙂.

      Company car regulations play a huge part in this, too: any larger car is almost inevitably a lease car, for which the tax favourites have changed over the years, with remarkably visible consequences for the car population: from Megane diesel estates to Priuses, to Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs (dubbed Mitsubsidies over here), to latterly the Tesla Model 3. Any Tesla’s a regular sight in NL (even quite a few Jaguar I-Paces, which I quite like), but the Model 3 is positively ubiquitous. We are a definitive proof that government manipulation of markets works.

      The design crises at the German Big Three are probably related to what you highlight: a 10.000 euro car is as well made as a 50.000 euro car. Add to that pressure to cut costs (Golf VII vs. Golf VIII) and you end up with frustratingly little to set your premium (or semi-premium in case of the Golf) product apart. Except apparently a lot of creases and fake air in- and outlets. The X-type was in some ways a very forward-looking design, given recent tendecies to similarly stuff every design idea you can think of into one car.

  2. Don’t you just love car journalists (for lack of a less insultingly euphemistic term) who first laud something to the Oort cloud and beyond, only to lambast it as if it’s the root of all Evil a few years later, and gaslight you when you call them out on their backflip?

    1. I couldn’t agree more. The Vauxhall Astra is a great example of this. Every time a new model is launched, the general consensus is that the new car is great, and Astra is *finally* as good, if not better, than a Golf or Focus.

      Then when the next generation model Astra comes out, they refer to the previous model in very poor terms, suggesting that the Astra has never been more than an ‘also ran’.

      This can be particularly well evidenced on YouTube, when car journalism moved to video reviews in the late 2000s. The new Astra J in 2009 had many videos made about it – where you can see car journalists slagging off the putting down the Astra H, but the new J being the best car in its class, which Vauxhall should be proud of. You then fast forward to the Astra K reviews in 2015, and they speak of the Astra J as….an also ran that only ever trailed the competition.

    2. Paul Horrell mentioned this phenomenon in his dissection of Aston Martin’s inability to become a viable concern in the long run: Every new Aston is first hailed as a triumph against the odds (and ‘bad news’ for Ferrari/Porsche), then a revised version comes up (‘now it handles the way it should’ve done from the start!’), before an all-new model reveals that the previous one was an outright stinker – ‘but this all-new Aston is so good, they must be crapping their pants in Zuffenhausen!’

    3. Quite right. What happens is that the narrative drive overcomes the duty to report accurately. Consider the accurate headline: “New Wolseley 34/90 is better in some areas than the 33/12 Turbo” and “Compared to the outgoing car, the performance has improved by 4% and fuel economy by 8%”. And consider the narrative headline: “Wolseley nails it with the screaming new 34/90. Austin watch out” followed by “The outgoing Wolseley was slow, thirsty and couldn´t hold a candle to Austin´s Loughborough GT. Now it´s all sorted with stark improvements in acceleration and even fuel economy. Plus, the boot volume is 45% sexier than before. Longbridge must be shaking.”
      And yes, every outgoing Vauxhall was the worst things since diabetes Type III and the incoming one is always quite a lot better but not qui————ite as good as the Ford or VW because the things Vauxhall worry themselves about are not the thing Ford and VW worry themselves about (and that´s fine) or that many journalists seem to be interested in.

    4. You should see the state of guitar “journalism”. If it’s made by Gibson (and its main subsidiary, Epiphone), Fender, or Paul Reed Smith, it’s the bee’s knees. I wonder if it’s FYI: Fender’s tremolo (actually, what they do is vibrato, but hey, who are we to argue with Leo?) bridges are terribly clunky and horrendously poorly engineered and constructed (even the US-made ones) compared to PRS and aftermarket units like those made by Gotoh, ABM, or Vega.

    5. My favourite is from ´80s and ´90s new BMW reviews. They invariably said: “the new x-Series is really well mannered and safe to drive, unlike its predecessor, which was a handful in the wet.” Come the next x Series a few years later, and that “safe” bimmer was something lethal, apparently…

  3. Despite being a sluggish performer was the AJ-V6 capable of being reduced from 2.1-litres to 2-litres to keep it on the right side of affordable tax bands in a number of countries or was it not worth the development?

    Read claims the limit of the Supercharged X-Type R was up to 260 hp, yet would have needed a target of at least 280-350 hp to have been somewhat competitive.

  4. I remember looking at the X-type facelift and thinking to myself: ‘If this is what Team Callum can come up with on the basis of X-type, what marvels will they create when finally given a free hand?’

    1. Good morning Christopher. The X-Type facelift certainly did much to calm down the overwrought original:

      I’m not sure essentially the same facelift worked nearly so well on the XJ. The big bumpers and other addenda gave the larger car a whiff of ‘aftermarket’ to my eyes:

    2. Like most, I’m no fan of X358’s appearance, but the X-type facelift I considered as successful as the final iteration of S-type. Both cars never lost their inherent clumsiness, but Callum et al did turn eyesores into cars that could be described as flawed & characterful, rather than plain ghastly.

    3. I could never really get on with the emboldened frame around the grille on the facelift – as on the facelifted XJ, I think it looks rather aftermarket – in that regard I still find the revised S-Type the more successful of the transformations.

  5. Regarding journalists, the traditional outlets must wonder what’s hit them, with the increased competition from social media. Many of the ‘amateurs’ are much better than the professionals.

    I’m very much looking forward to the next instalment, too; I must say that I was staggered to learn that the Evoque was originally a Jaguar project – that seems particularly cruel, given its success. Mind you, I think it makes an excellent Range Rover.

    I had to look up ‘Oort cloud’ (a cloud of icy particles, thought to exist far away in our solar system). It’s a nice reference, Konstantinos – another thing learned.

    1. Charles: I’d hate to foster a misapprehension (and I should have worded that more carefully), but my understanding is the original LRX prototype was created in Jaguar’s advanced studio under Julian Thomson’s supervision. I don’t know of any evidence to suggest it was intended as anything but a LR, but it does suggest that maybe there was some thought of a Jaguar of this ilk – perhaps using R-D6 as a basis? I have heard rumours that this latter car was being considered in some shape or form, but perhaps I am not adding my sums correctly…

  6. Taking a Danish perspective, all these cars look dramatically better in Scandinavian conditions than they do in the UK or Ireland. The much-loved X-Type stands out in Denmark like automotive astistocracy and so does the S and XJ. Alas, the Danish market is tiny and highly taxed. That´s why most people drive i10s and Ups and Aygos (making the Jaguars look extra special). In a way Jaguar ought to give up making cars for the UK as they aren´t appreciated.

    1. That’s a fair point. In Europe at least I think part of the X-type’s problem is that the contemporary donor Mondeo was just so good. To justify the higher price, the X-type would have had to be better in some way or, preferably, several ways.
      Whether one likes the current design direction or not, Audis do manage to wield the various “premium” gilt in such a way as to imply they are in some way of higher quality than the mechanically almost identical VWs. The poor old X-type did not do this, and unfortunately it was smaller than a Mondeo and it seems (I have never been in one) that it didn’t drive any better than one either. What differentiator does that leave?
      More generally, in one of the recent discussions of another Jaguar on here, someone (my apologies, I can’t recall who!) pointed out that Jaguar had quite different images in the UK (E-types and Arfur Daley), in Continental Europe (exotic, slightly frangible glamour-mobiles), and in the US (limousines). It’s hard not to feel that this is at the root of Jaguar’s product planning woes. Any given product is almost certain to disillusion at least one of these constituencies, and trying to please them all has an unfortunate tendency to disappoint all of them…

    2. There’s a big difference between the pairs of Audi A4/VW Passat and X-Type/Mondeo.
      The Passat in question would have been the B5 which was a quite upmarket proposition. The Mondeo Mk1 might have been a good drive but it looked bland, started with severe NVH problems and had an awful interior. The Mondeo simply was not a car you would look forward to own.
      Basing the X-Type on this car was a simple case of ‘nearly, but not quite’ and the eye watering prices asked for the Jaguar can’t have helped when customers subconsciously make the Mondeo connection. If you want to beat BMW at their own game a car like the X-Type is not enough.

      The sad thing is that when Jaguar finally did it properly with the XE that didn’t sell either but that’s (at least from where I sit) because they didn’t manage to get the XE in the fleet lease market.

    3. Dave: I won´t wholly disagree with your point but the CDW 132 platform should not be judged by the standards of 2021. In Europe at least it was highly competitive and was rated well for its handling. The interior wasn´t awful. By the standards of the day it was fine as in totally, unremarkably decent. More importantly, the X had its own interior. The quality of the Mondeo Mk1´s trim has no bearing on the X´s inside bits. It´s very likely there´s very little that is really common to the cars after Jaguar went over the basis elements of the CDW132 platform. The A4 of the middle 90s was based on the PL45 platform and that meant the Passat question was the roomy and spacious but not legendarily drivey-handley B5 version. Ideally the next Mondeo was the one to choose as the basis for the Jaguar but the problem is that it wasn´t finished in time. Although I agree the X-Type was flawed, the fact it had roots in the Mondeo was not one of them. The flaws were divisive styling, a small choice of engines and insufficient attention paid to interior quality (not that it was bad so much as unconvincing).

  7. I’m no fan of the facelift as I think a Jaguar needs a certain amount of brightwork even if it is going against the fads of the era. It does give the car a more confident mein though, the original did have a resemblance to one of those overbite-y, miserable looking weedy little sharks (A morgay perhaps) that you sometimes see being landed at Cornish harbours. A poster on part one said that the distinctive Mondeo windscreen was obvious on the X Type. I’d no idea what he meant but yesterday I saw an early AWD 2.5 and it had very prominent black plastic fillets down either side of the windscreen, which I saw on a few older Fords today, now that I know what to look for. It wasn’t unatractive but it did look like an odd way of channeling water, something discretely distinctive.
    Is the X Type’s initial lack of acceptance due to it having all wheel drive fullstop, rather than AWD evoking an association with front wheel drive? It came a few years after the era when AWD was used as a range topper for non-“Premium” saloons: Sierra XR4-4, Toyota Camry All-Trac etc, so could it have lent the X-Type a down market ambience?

    1. I didn´t see it like that but maybe that´s just me. AWD seems such a wierd bit of overkill. If you ask me AWD was kind of cool on a saloon and made me think precisely of those 4×4 saloons of the 80s, especially the technofestival Japanese ones like the 1990 Mitsubishi Galant.

  8. A couple of things.

    Thing one: The 2.2 diesel was available before the facelift – I should know as I had a 2006 X-Type 2.2 Diesel Sports Premium Estate (quite a mouthful) which was very definitely pre-facelift. Obviously I didn’t buy it new -£32,000 new but £13,500 from a Jaguar dealer two years later. I really liked it (but I am a cheap date) but it’s replacement, a Mark 3.5 Ford Focus is a better car in all areas except boot space.

    Thing two: the X-Type comfortably outsold the XE, the car we were told by the press that Jaguar should have made first time round.

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