Full 2008 Jaguar X-Type Review
What's New for 2008
Some formerly optional higher-end features have been made standard on the 2008 Jaguar X-Type. On the sedan, this includes the 10-way power front seats with driver memory, rain-sensing wipers, the auto-dimming rearview mirror and the rear center headrest. The Sportwagon adds only the headrest, as the other items were already standard on it.
The Jaguar X-Type has always seemed like a television spin-off of a popular film. And not in a good, "M*A*S*H" sort of way. Rather, more along the lines of "My Big Fat Greek Life" or "RoboCop: The Series." All the things that made the big-budget versions a success leave something to be desired in a smaller, less expensive medium, especially when it comes to production values. Although the 2008 X-Type tries its best to act the part of a baby Jaguar XJ, it ultimately feels like a lesser car half-heartedly tarted up with wood, chrome and leaping-cat hood ornament.
In fact, that's exactly what it is, as the X-Type sedan and wagon (called "Sportwagon") are based on the last-generation Ford Mondeo, a front-wheel-drive family sedan and wagon sold in Europe. Since no self-respecting Jag could have its power shunted through the front wheels, all X-Types come with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). It's certainly a nice attribute, and in years past AWD was one of the car's main advantages. However, AWD has become more common in the entry-luxury segment, and most competing sedans and wagons now offer it as an option.
Perhaps realizing this, Jaguar has been trying to increase the X-Type's appeal by making more features part of the car's standard equipment list. This year's sedan, for instance, comes with the formerly optional 10-way power front seats and driver memory. Still, for its price of entry, this Jaguar should offer more quality materials and refinement -- copious amounts of sapele wood trim and leather aren't enough.
Overall, we've never thought much of the X-Type, and the fact that it's now in its seventh year of production and still hasn't had a full redesign makes our heart grow even colder. Along with its interior plastics and overall build quality remaining several steps behind competing vehicles, its performance and fuel economy are hardly captivating. The 2008 Jaguar X-Type is quite simply standing still in a segment that's rapidly moving forward with the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS and redesigned Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Though, on the bright side, the X-Type is at least more enjoyable than "My Big Fat Greek Life."
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Jaguar X-Type is available in sedan and wagon body styles with only one trim level. Standard equipment is plentiful, with 16-inch alloy wheels (17 inches on the wagon), a sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, leather upholstery, real wood trim, tilt-telescoping wheel, 10-way power front seats with driver memory, a trip computer and a six-speaker audio system with CD player. The Sportwagon also comes with reverse parking assist and a premium 10-speaker audio system.
Other options include 18-inch wheels, heated seats, reverse parking assist on the sedan, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, and for the sedan, the premium stereo. Jaguar brings a touch of the Caribbean to the sedan with the Aruba and Belize luxury packages that add different wheels, seat piping, burl walnut veneers, a wood-and-leather steering wheel and Homelink.
Powertrains and Performance
The only engine offered in the 2008 X-Type Sportwagon and sedan is a 3.0-liter V6 that makes 227 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is Jaguar's signature J-gate shifter. All-wheel drive is standard. In our performance testing, a Sportwagon went from zero to 60 mph in a lackluster 8.2 seconds. The car's EPA estimate for 2008 fuel economy (16 mpg city/22 mpg highway) is similarly below average for this segment.
Standard safety features include front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers. There is also a knee bolster airbag for the driver. Stability control and antilock disc brakes are included as well. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2008 Jaguar X-Type sedan earned a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in frontal-offset crashes. IIHS side-impact tests resulted in a "Marginal" rating, the second-lowest, though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the car a four-star rating (out of a possible five) for side-impact crashworthiness.
Interior Design and Special Features
In photographs, the Jaguar X-Type's interior looks like an elegant atmosphere evocative of a classic Jaguar. The dashboard look is certainly reminiscent of the XJ and XK8 with its large swath of dashboard wood trim and central pod of controls. Take a seat in the real thing, though, and the X-Type immediately calls to mind that low-budget TV spin-off. Materials quality is unimpressive, particularly the plastic central control pod, which is also not particularly ergonomic. The wagon offers a maximum of 50 cubic feet of space, which is a smaller amount than other entry-level luxury wagons provide.
Compared to most other entry-level luxury sedans and wagons, the 2008 Jaguar X-Type comes up short in terms of driving excitement and refinement. Its V6 engine is less powerful than those found in many current family sedans, and the five-speed automatic is not especially quick on the draw. The Jaguar's ride quality is smooth and comfortable on the highway, but it can be harsh over bumps and ruts.