So why was it that I had sudden urge to dust off an old tweed jacket I had lurking in the back of my wardrobe while driving it and head off into the country to find a shooting party or a gymkhana? I wish Jaguar had called it a Shooting Brake rather than an Estate – it has so much more resonance with its heritage and style.
Conversely, there was no compulsion to don a Lycra catsuit (not that there ever is) and head off with my mountain bike or windsurfing board, as the marketeers would like to think buyers of this estate will.
The X-type Estate continues the tradition that Jaguar seems unwilling – or unable – to prise itself away from and I’m sure that sales of the X-type saloon – before the stupendous diesel arrived anyway – were hit as a result.
Jaguar’s predilection for designing cars that look as though Sir William Lyons is still fashioning them on his driveway puts the X-type behind Audi, BMW and even possibly Mercedes-Benz when it comes to desirability, according to my quick sweep of opinion among the target group of thirty-somethings.
That’s not to say the X-type Estate is not desirable. In fact, I think it’s a more handsome car than the saloon and the rear balances beautifully with the front half, but it is not as modern-looking as an A4 Avant.
But those who opt for the high-end 3.0 V6 Sport auto will get a car that is full of equipment to go with the extra space in the boot.
The boot in this car has more usable space than the rather cursory attempt at volume in something like the A4 Avant and it has a separately hinging rear screen, which is handy for dropping in the odd small item.
The roof does drop low at the back, though, so in an exercise in filling it to the rafters, the X-type wouldn’t do very well (it does beat the German three, but none of the four are brilliant), although there is a handy storage area under the boot floor, which isn’t in there at the expense of a spare tyre.
It costs £29,020 on-the-road, which is about £1,100 more than the equivalent saloon, although £500 of that is clawed back in marginally better residual value predictions.
Both reach the 36% mark after three years/60,000 miles, according to CAP. For the money, you get a V6 and four-wheel drive, which means performance is decent and grip levels high, although with 231bhp you would expect a bit more punch. The auto gearbox, four-wheel drive system and extra weight at the back dull the acceleration a little.
That said, the V6 makes a lovely crisp noise and if you select Sport mode on the gearbox, it revs more insistently and kicks down if you so much as flex your big toe. The ride quality, as with most Jaguars, is exemplary, and it feels a lovely car in which to travel long distances, although cruise control would be nice as standard.
After a couple of decent – and very pleasant – journeys, fuel economy had reached about 26mpg and I couldn’t help but think that as the big V6 doesn’t give this car huge pace, perhaps a manual, front-wheel drive diesel might be the best one to go for, both for tax and running cost purposes. We’ll try to come up with a definitive opinion in a future road test.
But as a stiff upper-lipped premium-quality estate, rather than a lifestyle, outward-bound recreational vehicle, like the best British stock the X-type Estate is a fine and upstanding vehicle.
Model: X-type Estate 3.0 V6 Sport auto
Engine (cc): 2,967
Max power (bhp/rpm): 231/6,800
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 209/3,000
Max speed (mph): 144
0-62mph (sec): 7.2
Comb fuel consumption (mpg): 27.0
CO2 emissions (g/km): 249
Transmission: 5sp auto
Fuel tank capacity (l/gal): 61.5/13.5
Service interval (miles): 10,000
On sale: now
Price (OTR): £29,020