Fleet News

Jaguar X-type 3.0 SE auto

Jaguar

Review

LIFE in the compact executive sector is tough. Image is everything, but ability is also important, and if a car is going to spend three years doing a job, then running costs cannot be ignored.

Jaguar is a late entrant in this sector where BMW and Mercedes are established and where Audi has made a name for itself with the A4. So now the much-vaunted X-type has hit the road, it has to compete with some highly competent machines with the benefit of German engineering.

So far only five X-types are available - an entry level 2.5 V6 priced at £22,000 on the road, SE and Sport versions of the 2.5, plus a 3.0 V6 in SE and Sport variants. Five-speed automatic transmissions are available as options. Later in the model's life there will be a diesel, and Jaguar has hinted that other body styles will follow - possibly a convertible, coupe and estate. There will also be a high-performance 'R' version.

We chose the range-topping 3.0 SE auto for this test, which retails at £27,500, and goes head to head with the BMW 330i SE auto which costs £27,960 on the road. The BMW 3-series won this year's Fleet News Award for Best Premium Upper-Medium Car, and the Jaguar will need to provide a strong challenge if it has any chance of knocking it off its perch next year. The most expensive car in terms of front-end price is the Mercedes-Benz C320 Elegance, at £30,635, while an Audi A4 3.0 quattro SE Tiptronic seems quite reasonable at £26,240. The Audi is the only car other than the Jag to offer all-wheel drive.

Cynics might mutter that giving the X-type four-wheel drive was a way of getting Jaguar out of a corner. The platform used for the X-type was set up for a transverse engine and front-wheel drive (in case you didn't know yet, it shares some of its under-pinnings with the Ford Mondeo). But Jaguar maintains four-wheel drive was something it had considered in the past, and the X-type seemed an ideal opportunity to introduce it.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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