Yet the introduction in 2001 of its X-Type range, with prices starting at under £20,000, opened the brand to a much wider market, both in fleet and private sales. And that market is even broader following the arrival of the 2.0D.
The X-Type’s 2.0 turbodiesel engine, the same one used in the Mondeo, is quite responsive mated to the five-speed manual transmission, so that even when transporting five adults the X-Type can hustle along very quickly. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite escape that unmistakable clatter that is the trademark of so many diesels, however. From inside the car the engine is audible yet not over-intrusive, but dare to open the window and the whole Jaguar experience becomes tarnished.
What’s more, fuel consumption on our test wasn’t impressive, hovering around the 38mpg mark against Jaguar’s claim of a 50.3mpg combined average. However, that might improve on longer motorway journeys.
Although the X-Type is Jaguar’s entry level model, buyers who are looking for a certain level of luxury will not be disappointed on choosing Sovereign specification, as the level of standard equipment is extremely high.
The car’s elegant exterior is matched fully by its plush leather interior. A touch screen mounted in the centre console serves as the combined controls for the car’s stereo and CD autochanger, climate control and easy to use satellite navigation system, while the wood and leather steering wheel also has controls for the stereo and cruise control system.
Under the skin, touring suspension and 17in alloy wheels give the X-Type a ride that’s smooth and secure yet still pretty responsive, which when combined with the electrically adjustable heated front seats, ensures that journeys of any distance can be completed stress-free in comfort. At the destination, parking is made relatively easy through the use of rear sensors.
Ultimately, the list price is the 2.0D Sovereign’s weakness. Many of its direct competitors are cheaper, even after calculating the addition cost of options required to bring them up to a similar specification. Maybe that’s the price of owning a Jaguar.
Strengths: Jaguar badge, good looks, comprehensive equipment, good power
Weaknesses: diesel noise, expensive, no automatic option
Opportunity: Steal sales from poorer equipped competition
Threat: cheaper rivals with extensive options
The USP: Competent cruiser that does away with the options list
Engine: 2.0 direct injection common-rail turbodiesel, 128bhp
Transmission: 5sp manual, fwd
Performance: 0-62mph 9.9secs; top speed 125mph
Efficiency: 38mpg (AM figures)
Rivals: Honda Accord 2.2 CDTi Executive, BMW 318D, Mercedes C220 CDI Classic, Rover 75 2.0 CDTi Connoisseur SE, Volvo S40 2.0D SE, Audi A4 1.9 TDi