Evolution of the Jaguar X-Type X400

Evolution of the Jaguar X-Type X400

We all have cars that we love because of a personal association and for me the Jaguar X-Type is just that. Yes, I know it has its haters, and the “nice Mondeo, mate” jokes can be a tad tiresome, but for me it’s car with a connection.

Back in 2001, when the X-Type made its debut, I was a young journalist on a new car magazine. I was given the ‘baby Jaguar’ as an assignment – the very first car whose story I would follow from its announcement at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show to its launch six months later.

As a result, I’m quite thrilled to see the X-Type emerging into an up-and-coming modern classic, even if the stark realisation that the press launch was 22 years ago and I’m now middle-aged is a difficult pill to swallow.


It has also made me ponder the transition point between ‘banger’ and ‘future classic’, which is the grey area of the used car market in which the X-Type currently sits. The earlier cars are now all 20-or-so years old and they’re the ones that are starting to generate a lowlevel collector interest, their mini-XJ styling, impressive driving dynamics and traditional wood and leather cabins firing nostalgia in owners who had them as company cars in their 40s and, 20 years later, are looking for a good one because they loved them when new.

The later ones are cheap cars, but are also a cut above the ordinary hatchbacks and saloons that you can pick up for a few hundred quid. Good ones are attracting decent money. Really nice early cars at specialists are £5k cars these days, and with good reason as the majority are now no longer with us.

There are reasons for the rapid decline in numbers, of course. The first and foremost is that X-Types weren’t especially well made – great to drive, well-engineered, but beset with rust traps and electrical gremlins that saw many of them to an early grave. I know this from personal experience, having owned seven.

But there are other more peculiar reasons, too. The 3-litres have been exported in their droves in recent years, which I’m told by a Lithuanian friend of mine is because they’re still regarded as status symbols in some markets, especially in the former Soviet states. Random, but true. And the local MOT equivalent is apparently more lenient towards sill corrosion, too. He’s driven home to visit family in a 3.0-litre X-Type six times, and then caught a flight back to the UK. RHD is considered a status symbol, apparently, rather than an issue.

Meanwhile, there’s a very good reason why you don’t see many X-Type 2.0s in the small ads, as well. I learned this from the MoT tester at my local garage, who has a buyer waiting for every MoT failure. He explained that the rules for 2.0-litre class banger racing dictate a maximum engine capacity of 2099cc. The X-Type 2.0 is exactly that (I always wondered why they didn’t call it the 2.1) and has the added bonus of being a V6 – one of only a handful of models in that engine size group that is.

The banger boys love them, and that’s partly because of the Mondeo bits. They love a Mondeo because it’s a strong car. They love an X-Type even more because it shares much of the same bodyshell with a more powerful sixcylinder engine, especially because externally the 2-litre engine block looks identical to the 2.5 or 3-litre, not that any of them would try to hoodwink the scrutineers, of course.

X-Type diesels? Well, their attrition rate is quite steep at the moment as a result of low-emissions zones popping up all over the country and while they’re fundamentally decent cars, they’re not the ones that the collectors want. If you’re going to preserve an X, you’re more likely to want a well-trimmed V6. After all, if it’s not your daily driver, why wouldn’t you? I suspect the derv-powered X-Types, which towards the end of production were the best-sellers, will be the rarest and least loved in years to come.

So if you want to have an ultra-rare Jaguar 10 years from now, then maybe a diesel in Sovereign specification is the one to have? Personally, though, I’m going to stick with my Y-registered 3-litre petrol. Launch spec, peak X-Type, and a car that I believe has now already attained modern classic status.

Article type:
No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment!
Drives TODAY use cookie