Episode 17. Jaguar X-type BJ04 FBZ. My First Jag.

A couple of years ago I bought myself a Jaguar. I'd never had a Jag before, and this was my first foray into Jaguar ownership, here is the tale...


I am going somewhere with this retrospective visit to Jaguar ownership, so please bear with me. I had decided to visit one of my best friends who lives some 700 odd miles away from me in Germany. Before embarking on this journey I decided in my wisdom or otherwise that the way forward was to treat myself to a new car. I'd never had a Jaguar before, so the decision was made that I would buy myself a Jaguar X-type estate to see what it would be like. Now, by all accounts if you travel across Europe in your car you're supposed to carry amoungst other things all your documents with you including your driving licence, insurance, and V5c etc. Knowing this I bought the Jaguar nearly three months before I planned to go, so that the DVLA had time to get the documents back to me. About four weeks after buying the Jaguar I still hadn't received the documents so I went online to see what I should do, the advice on the DVLA website was that it could take up to six weeks to get the documents and not to bother contacting them until after the six weeks were up. I thought fair enough, and hoped that they would arrive on time as I still had quite a few weeks until I was planning to go. A couple of days before I was planning to go, I still didn't have the documents, I was starting to get a bit concerned, but I thought not to worry, I'll cross my fingers, and just go for it, hopefully I don't get stopped! However, I was talking to my Dad and Brother about it all, and their advise was to phone the DVLA. So with a few days to go before my planned trip I sat there on hold to the DVLA thinking to myself, quick, hang up before someone answers. Unfortunately for me, someone answered... SHIT! Against my better judgement, I foolishly told the person at the DVLA, who incidentally sounded like a 12 year old boy with a bit of a little Hitler complex what my predicament was. I told him that I was planning to go to Germany in a car that I'd bought several months previously, but I needed the V5c. His response was that the previous owner, had not yet sent the documents in!! WHAT?! He then went on to say that I couldn't take it without them! I said that I had the new keepers supplement. He said that it didn't matter, as I needed the full document! So then I said, that I had no choice, everything was booked, and I was going to go for it! To which he replied that I couldn't, because it was illegal!! It wasn't illegal, said I, but he then butted in, and said that car theft is a SERIOUS crime! Honestly, I felt like I was being told off by a school boy! So I told him that I hadn't stolen a car, because I had a receipt, and the new keeper supplement. Besides, even if I had stolen the damn thing, in the grand scheme of things car theft is NOT a serious crime, it's a crime, yes, but not a serious one! By this time I felt he was a bit condesending, and insolent, and frankly he was starting to urinate me off! He then informed me very matter of factly that car theft is a very serious crime. That was it for me, and probably where it all really started to go shitfaced, so I then interjected, Ok then, imagine this, you come home from your crappy little day job to find that someones murdered your whole family, and nicked your rubbish little car, which do you consider to be the serious crime? For me, I wouldn't give a rats ass about the car! Understandably he wasn't happy about my insubordination, but politely told me that I couldn't take my new car to Germany without the V5c, as I would need it to prove that it wasn't a stolen car that I was taking abroad to sell! By now, absolutely thoroughly wee'd off I retorted I AM TAKIN' IT! His response? Oh no you're not, I am going to report it as a possible stolen vehicle so if you try to take it through the passport control they will stop you, and sieze your car and belongings! What?! Are you freakin' kidding me? I've got to hand it to him, that was game, set, and match to the twelve year old boy with the Hitler complex working at the DVLA! I hung up immediately before my big stupid mouth got me in any more trouble, and wished I'd followed my inititial plan and just gone for it! So, with just two days before I was planning to go to Germany a new plan was needed, and needed fast. I consulted with Mrs Clint, whos words of wisdom were that she didn't care how I did it, but I needed to sort something out quickly, as she would not be cancelling our trip! Ok then, thanks for the help babe. So with Mrs Clints words still ringing in my ears, I decided to give our very nice Vauxhall Omega estate a good looking over and maybe a service. But that's not this story, this story is about the Jag! Now then, depending upon which country you live in you're probably thinking that's a nice Jaguar if you're English and know how to pronounce it correctly, or if you happen to be from Americaland you probably think its a nice Jagwaaaaah!! Failing that, like me and the majority of people, it's a nice Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag!


First impressions. Well, I'm a bit disappointed if I'm honest. I've never been a Jaguar man really, I never liked the E-type, I never liked the XJS (although I look at them both nowadays and think that actually, I do quite like them!) I do however like the XK8 and on more than one occasion I have nearly bought one. I also quite like the looks of the X-type, especailly the estate, and I do quite like the looks of the S-type, so I probably wouldn't rule one of those out either! But like I said, I wouldn't consider myself to be a Jaguar man. However, my Dad has always quite fancied one, but he has never owned one. My Uncle had loads, when we were kids he always seemed to have a different XJS, or XJ6 in his drive, I reckon he changed them when his ashtrays were full! He always said how great they were, and often bought me toy Jags. Infact, in his whole life as far as I can remember he only ever bought one car that wasn't a Jaguar. So due to all the hype that my Uncle, and to a lesser extent my Dad made about the Jaguars, even though I wasn't a big fan, I sort of have them on a bit of a pedastool in my mind! In Mrs Clints family there have been a few Jaguars too, the last one being an old XJ6 which was owned by her 86 year old Nan until she used it in a fit of road-rage to barge a taxi driver off the road who had previously over charged her. By all accounts she T-boned this poor fellas taxi, then just kept her foot on the loud pedal until the it was in a field! She's quite a fierce old biddy when she's riled!


Anyway, when I bought my first Jaguar, and as seems to be (almost) common practice these days it was pretty much out of go-go juice, so I will oblige you now and put up the first fill up shot.


The other car is my Brothers company weapon, he gets to accompany my on many of my car adventures for which I have to splash some fuel in his tank, which is a lot better than having to use public transport! So I put a decent splash of go-go juice into the Jag, and also the Focus, and off we went towards home. It's a stinkin' diesel, so I was expecting a decent MPG figure, and fiddling around with the switches I managed to come across the average MPG figure on the computery thingy, it was 23.7 MPG!! 23.7, that's not very good is it, how hard did the woman who last owned it drive it? She must've been like the Little Old Lady From Pasadena that the likes of Jan & Dean, and The Beach Boys sung about in the 1960's! So upon seeing this figure and scaring myself I decided that I would put on my lightest footware and see what I can do to improve that MPG figure. Thankfully I did managed to improve on it quite a lot, by the time I'd driven the car just under 100 miles to get it home, I had the figure up to 30.1 MPG, which was definately an improvement, but I hoped to get it even better still, and eventually I managed about 40.8 MPG which I thought was not too shabby considering that a lot of the time I just driving about town in the traffic! I did also have a couple of other niggles. One is the interior rear view mirror, and this is probably specific to me, and people who are about my size. For me, it's just in the damn way all the time. I reckon Jaguar could've mounted it another three or maybe even four inches higher on the windscreen and it would've been fine. The other thing about it I don't like is that I find the seats are a bit small for my lardy arse and therefore not very comfy, plus I think the ride is a bit harsh. Infact I had a compareable car on my fleet at the time with a similar ride, it was this one...


This is not good, a ten year old Jaguar should in my opinion have a better ride than a thirty year old heavily lowered Talbot! What else can I say about the Jag? Well, it runs nice, it drives ok, and well, it's ok really. To be fair though, one of the most tiresome things about owning and driving the X-type is hearing the constant torrent of "It's just an old Mondeo isn't it mate" from just about everyone. I feel like, and have now said to a couple of 'armchair automotive experts' Yes, it is the Ford CDW27 'World Car' platform that was used in the 1993 Ford Mondeo, but it was also used in the USA in the Mercury Cougar. Yes, it does have the Ford Duratorq diesel engine, and it pulls like a train!! Yes it does have quite a lot of Ford in its DNA, and nowhere is that more obvious than the key you use to start it. But having said that, whats wrong with that? Many cars share parts with other cars, from an economical stand point why spend money, time, and effort developing something thats already been developed and is already in use somewhere else in the parent companys line up of cars? But apart from the obvious parts raided from the Ford parts bin it's all Jaguar. Besides, lets not forget the X-type was styled by Geoff Lawson, a man who during his 15 years at Jaguar he was responsible for shaping the entire Jaguar line up, including the awesome 1992 XJ220 supercar, the 1995 XJ luxury saloon, the 1996 XK grand tourer, and the 1998 S-Type. So actually, it's not really a Mondeo at all is it? I said this to one of my Brothers amoungst other people, this Brother actually is a proper automotive expert, actually I think what he would call himself is an automotive engineer, he knows what he's talking about, it's his job. But after I said this to him he just stood there dumbfounded and said, oh, I had no idea, I just thought it was a re-hashed Mondeo. I think that this train of thought has almost become folklore, probably due to something that was perhaps said by someone like Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear, but I don't know for sure. The funny thing is though, even if it is just an old Mondeo is this an insult? I mean the Mondeo, although not a very exciting car in standard form is still a fairly good car, and a very capable car isn't it? So perhaps this is meant as a compliment, that infact the X-type is a good car, as it's just a Mondeo. Also lets not forget, that so-called 'proper' Jags were just built from parts raided from the store cupboards at British Leyland! This is not exactly a by-word for quality or reliability is it? However I have wondered if perhaps it doesn't feel very special is because its an old Mundano in a pretty party dress? But I don't think it is, I mean the Capri was just an old Cortina in a pretty dress, and the Mustang was just an old Falcon in a pretty party dress, and both the Capri, and Mustang are regarded as quite special, so why doesn't this X-type feel special?
 


I wonder if, due to the way my Dad, and Uncle felt towards Jags, perhaps they've just been bigged up in my mind, and this is just a case of you shouldn't meet your heroes. But, I do feel that maybe, and probably more likely the problem is that  I just didn't feel that the car its self was special enough, I mean, it's a Jaguar, surely it should feel a bit special. Wheres the sense of occaision, wheres the feeling of grandeur? The biggest probelm I think is that I get to drive this Rover a lot...


The car on the right is my Dads Rover 75 estate, Tourer, and make no mistake it's a good car...



The Jaguar and the Rover are very similar, they are both wrong wheel drive, and powered by an agricultural engine...


                       Jaguar X-type                                                          Rover 75

Even inside it's a similar story, infact if you were put into either cars with the badges covered up so you didn't know which you were in I reckon you'd have a job to know which is the Jaguar, and which is the Rover. Like I said, they are very similar cars, except for one thing. The Rover is better. Yes, you read that right, THE ROVER IS BETTER!! This is why. My Dads Rover has a similar mileage (actually it's abit higher than the Jag) and it's still just as powerful, it's diesel engine will pull all day every day with plenty of power. It's as quick as the Jaguar, even though the Rover is automatic. The ride in the Rover is smoother, quiter, and more refined, and it handles just as well as the Jaguar. The seats are more comfortable in the Rover. The bodywork looks similar to the Jaguar, ok, it might not be quite so pretty as the bodywork on the X-type, but it's not an ugly car by any stretch of the imagination. But here's the clincher, for me anyway, the Rover feels special! The quality, and fit and finish of everthing is better on the Rover than on the Jaguar, and it just feels special. I know, I can barely believe I'm writing this myself! The other thing is the price difference when these two cars where new, the Jaguar prices ranged from £21,165 - £33,050, where as the Rover 75 prices ranged from £16,400 - £30,000. So why on Earth would you buy the Jaguar over the Rover in the first place as it was more expensive, and in my opinion not quite as good? I can only imagine that people were buying the badge. When you buy a Jaguar it's because you want to buy into the whole Jag deal. The old race wins, the E-Type, the D-Type, Steed's wide-bodied XJ in The Avengers, Simon Templars XJS in The Return of The Saint, et cetera. You're buying into the history, the pedigree, and the image, and a front-wheel-drive X-Type may well have made this dream easier to realise for more people. Personally I think this is a bit of a shame really. I really do wonder why when Rover were producing cars as good as the 75 is did they end up going bankrupt? I genuinely think that they never got over the reputation they earned themselves during the seventies for poor workmanship and shoddy build quality. This is a shame. My guess is, if you're actually still reading my babble, you're wondering why I didn't just go and buy myself a Rover 75 instead of the Jaguar? Well, like I said earlier, I get to drive my Dads Rover very often, therefore I know what they're like to drive, this is not to say that I wont get a Rover 75 eventually, as I'm pretty sure I will! But, I wanted the Jaguar, and I wanted to really like it. The thing is, I've still not been put off from having another Jaguar, probably not another X-type though, I quite fancy a S-type at some point, and a XKE, and possibly even a XJ although not necessarily any time soon, but if one comes up cheaply enough, I might well have a go at it!




To be frank the Jaguar wasn't a bad car at all really, it was big enough, powerful enough, comfortable enough, and as I sit here reminiscing about it I've realised that the thing I disliked about my time with the X-Type most was not actually anything to do with the car it's self, but more about every armchair motoring experts view of it and the amount of them who felt they needed to tell me that it's just an old Mondeo mate innit? It really kind of irritated me at the time, so let's get this out of the way here and now. There is nothing at all wrong with that, I don't believe for a second that Jaguar was trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear. It was just trying to build their car cheaper, and from an economical standpoint raiding the parent companys parts bin makes good common sense. Besides, if what I have read about the X-type is true, then less than 20% of the X-type is shared with the Mondeo. I could understand their arguments if there were no difference between the X-type and the Mondeo apart from the badge, but the fact is they look completely different, they sound completely different, have completely different dynamics and a totally different ambience. A bit like the Audi A4 and VW Passat, which are also based on a common floorpan, but nobody comments about that do they? I think that Jermey Clarkson once summed up the X-type quite well when he said, "Underneath the X-type is actually a Ford Mondeo, but don't let that put you off. Genetically you are 98% Identical to a Halibut, but it's the two percent that makes the difference. And it's the same story in here, look at all this wood, and leather, and equipment, it feels very Jaguarish." Well done Jezza, you nailed it!


Just an old Mondeo it is not.

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