When's it going?
There's a new 2008 X-Type that you can buy right now. According to Jaguar, it has some 500 new components, the most significant being a new automatic transmission. But there are lots of old models around, and they don't look that different.
What's good about it?
This is Jaguar's overdue response to the BMW 3 series. The X-Type isn't better than the Beamer, but it is a distinctive and appealing car. The V6 petrol engines are refined, while the diesel – not quick but returning 50mpg or so – is good and satisfyingly smooth.
Once upon a time, a diesel Jag would have been unthinkable. The X-Type proved that the concept would work. At least it meant that the diesels were more company car tax-friendly than the V6 petrols. However, larger-engined models have a four-wheel-drive system that means they grip superbly. Indeed, the Jag is as sporty as you'd expect. Inside, it's all wood and leather, the controls are well laid out and the seats are comfy. There's decent room for passengers, but the boot is shallow. The estate addresses that and is a very handsome car.
What's bad about it?
Like many compact executive cars, its biggest problem is that it isn't a BMW 3 series, and isn't quite as good to drive. Otherwise, there's not a long wrong with the X. Some know-alls may point out that underneath the Jag is a rather ordinary Ford Mondeo. Maybe, but the Mondeo was always great to drive, and the X has the sheen of a Jaguar. Just don't buy a fairly new petrol model and expect to get most of your money back a few years later.
Jaguar has been keen to sell its stocks of X-Types for a while, now, and has been offering all sorts of finance packages and enhanced specs as it now has to concentrate its attention on the new ones. You can find low-mile examples at Hartwell Jaguar Bristol (0870 904 9265), such as a 2007 2.0d S at £20,000, down from more than £21,000. Perrys of Huddersfield (0845 347 1413) has a pre-registered 2.5 SE automatic saloon, which cost £28,000 new, at £19,995.
Jaguar reliability has improved a lot even if the materials don't feel as solid as in an Audi or a Merc. There have been minor recalls between 2003 and 2005: noisy gearbox, transfer box may need replacement. Otherwise, just high-mileage issues. You may find that the diesel engine becomes rattly when warm, indicating that the auxiliary idler belt and lower pulley need changing. A heavy clutch suggests that it may be failing.
Engine sizes: 2.0-litre V6, 2.5 V6, 3.0 V6, 2.0d, 2.2d
Performance: (2.2d) top speed 120mph, 0-60mph 11.4 seconds
Safety: NCAP 4 stars