So then, with the eleventh month of the year already over, you may be wondering what my month of motoring in the Jaguar S-type was like? Well, it was good, actually, it was very very good, I am still questioning my sanity in selling it! In my month of owning it I took the odometer from 83491 miles to 84580 miles, which means, if my fat fingers have punched the numbers into my Texas Instruments TI-30 correctly I have covered 1089 miles! Covering those miles cost me £195.00 in petroleum spirit, which equates to 223.26 litres if you're reading this from mainland Europe, or in proper measurements 49.11 UK Gallons! This means that I was averaging a fairly respectable 22.17 mpg!! Not bad for a big old comfy wafty Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaag!
Now then, what can I tell you about my month of motoring in the Jag? Starting, as usual at the front, under the bonnet the Jaguar AJ30-V6 engine, which is actually really the Ford Duratec V6, also known as the Mondeo V6 is an aluminum DOHC V6 with a 60° bank angle which was originally introduced in 1993 in the Ford Mondeo. The primary engineering input came from Porsche, who were developing a similar V6 before selling the engineering to Ford, and Cosworth, who helped with cylinder head manufacturing. However the Jaguar version of the engine was developed slightly further than the engine that the Mundano uses, and has variable valve timing, much like the Mazda version.
The funny thing is that I'm not a fan of saloon type cars at all, I
always think that they look a bit... Unfinished, to me it looks like the
designers have always just chucked a box on the back for luggage and
stuff, more as an after thought than anything else, for me one of the
worst examples of this lack of imagination has to be the Ford Sierra
Sapphire, if you look at the profile of the Sierra Hatch or even the
estate, it's not a bad looking car, but look at the profile of the
Sapphire, what the heck is going on there? That back end does not belong on that (or any other)
car. This is pretty much how I feel about all saloon cars, but it has to
be said that the S-type does not suffer from this. The S-type is quite a
good looking car from all angles, and I'm not sure that there would be a
lot you could do to it to improve it's looks... Maybe make a two-door
coupé? Or possibly even an estate might be nice!
Inside I must admit my first impressions were that I didn't like the
light coloured plastic wood. But during my month of enjoying the Jag my
opinion of this has changed, I will still say that I would prefer a
darker plastic wood, or perhaps even a plastic aluminium. But the more I
look at the light plastic wood, the more I like it, and it suits the
feel of the car very nicely. Somehow even though it is no doubt made
from the same materials as the X-type interior was, it looks, and feels
better, it feels of a higher quality!
The more I looked at the dash, the more I liked how it was all laid out. I liked the big handy drawer in the dashboard, and I put a few bits and bobs in there. The little drawer I figured was a cup holder or something, and as I have a strict no food or drink in the car rule, I never opened it. However when I was polishing the interior in order to take photos of it to put on ebay I must've pushed on that little drawer a little too hard, and it sprang open... To my surprise it wasn't a cup holder at all, it was a little drawer, and I sure was glad it opened...
Yup... That was a nice surprise! It was about £160, which doesn't cover the fuel really, but as it was an unexpected surprise it was very nice. I used it to take Mrs Clint, and out two little Monsters out for dinner at her favourite restuarant, The Coffee Club in Westbourne. I used to take her there years ago when it was just the two of us, and I've been meaning to take her back for ages, but never got around to it. So the finding of the money seemed like a good enough excuse for me. It's a lovely little place, inside on the walls there are murals inspired by Salvador Dali, which really encapsulate a warm welcoming mediterranean ambiance of the place. The food is superb, and it's always really busy inside, infact we went back there a coulpe of years ago, but couldn't get a table! It's a thirty odd mile drive from BelongaClint to the Coffee Club, but definately worth it, especially if you're driving a lovely big wafty Jaguar. It is a little pricey (compared to our normal eatery, the Harvester!) But the food is so much better, and you don't feel like you're being hearded around like cattle either. Actually, now I think about it, it wasn't that pricey at all, I forgot that my Brother came too, so I didn't just pay for our normal two adults and two infants, it was three adults and two infants, and a bottle of wine! Anyway, if you're in the area, and can get a table you should check it out, it's always been fantastic whenever I've been there, but as ever I feel I'm wondering away from the point, so back to the Jag...
Inside the cockpit the seats were heated, powered, and remembered where you like to put them. They felt very comfortable, however being made from dead cow they were more than a little chilly on a cold winter morning, but they soon warmed up. I never felt uncomfortable in them, no matter if I drove my two little Monsters to school, or to our secret hideout in Wales. I reckon you could drive around in this car all day long in comfort!
In the back, according to my two little Monsters it was the same story, very
comfortable, and with plenty of space! Although it has to be said, that
like the dashboards light plastic wood, I would've preferred black dead
cow rather than grey dead cow, but when you're driving this thing the colour of the interior just bares no significance to how lovely it is to be both be inside, and to drive. So beggars can't be choosers I guess.
So then, would I have another one? It'll probably be of no surprise to most people that I almost certainly would, infact I've been
semi-browsing for one, I quite fancy one in Green, with a dark interior,
and as they're really quite cheap at the moment, now seems like a good
time to pick one up. I can only see them appreciating in value, probably
in the not too distant future too as more and more people realise just
how good these cars are. What I really can't work out is why the X-type,
which is nowhere near as good as the S-type sells for more second hand?
The X-type was far cheaper to buy when they were new, but the second
hand prices of the X-type are far higher than the prices of the S-type, and the S-type is so much more of a car in every way. It's so much more
Jaguar-ish, it's more refined, it's just... It's just superb! In
comparison to the S-type the X-type is the country backwards cousin! I
honestly don't get why it sells for more than the S-type! However for
those of us who have had the chance to experience a S-type we really do
get a bargain of a car for the money these days, and I have felt well
and truly rewarded every time I have driven it!
Lastly, when I had the X-type, the thing the pee'd me off more than anything was this, the thing I disliked about my time with it the most was not actually anything to do with the car its self, but more about every armchair motoring experts view of it (and the amount of them who felt they needed to tell me their views!), y'know the one, It's just an old Mondeo mate innit? Well, ok let's get this out of the way here and now. The Jaguar X-type is based on a modified Ford CD132 floorpan as used on the Mondeo, and the multi link rear suspension is also from the Mondeo estate. Also the engine in mine was based on the Ford Duratorq ZSD unit as used in the Mondeo and Transit, and of course some of the switch gear is straight out of the Ford parts bin. But as I said before, what's 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 sense, and anyway 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, but the fact is they look different, sound 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!
Well the S-type also has plenty of Ford in it, as I've already said mine has the Mondeo 3.0 Duratec V6
engine, and make no mistake inside there is no doubt no end of parts
raided from the Ford parts bin too, including switches, and of course the
ignition key which looks for all the world like its come straight out of
a Ford Scorpio. Not only that, but hiding under the beautiful Geoff
Lawson designed bodywork lurks the Ford DEW platform which is Ford
Motor Company's midsized rear-wheel drive automobile platform which
originally showed up in the late nineties under the Lincoln LS sedan. It
was also under the 2002- 2005 Ford Thunderbird, and is still being used
under the Jaguar XF! But not once has any armchair motoring enthusiast,
or for that matter, anyone else say to me, yeah, but it's not a real
Jag, it's just an old Lincoln mate innit.
Which is just as well, because I would've told them, no mate, it's a Jaguar, which to be honest, is what I should've said when I had my X-type. But the reason for the comparrison between the S-type and the Lincoln, and Thunderbird doesn't get made here is no doubt that we don't get them here, which is a bit of a shame in my mind. I wonder if this comparisson gets made in Americaland? However, as we do of course get the Mundano, it's easier for any armchair motoring enthusiast to make that comparisson whether they've owned and experienced a Mondeo, and an X-type themselves or not.
Of course I'm now wondering if it is indeed time to revisist the Jaguar X-type, and give it another good looking at, perhaps a saloon this time, with a petrol engine under the bonnet and all wheel drive. I'll let you know if and when I get one. So stay tuned, it's bound to happen sooner or later!