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Jaguar X-Type

2006 Jaguar X-Type Review

by Martha Hindes

Jaguar X-Type
Jaguar X-Type Interior

How do you measure an image? Jaguar defines its image as "Passion." For a dozen years or so, a revived Jag has fed an American taste for automotive passion with a series of autos that have flaun the tlook of subtle, flexing muscles under glossy sheet metal as a chrome, leaping Jaguar hood ornament announces its presence.

Most Jaguars aren't entry level fare. That's the job of the X-Type that has earned both devotees and detractors alike since coming on scene at the end of the '90s. Seems that owners just love to remind people they own a Jag, even if the British company is now a luxury marque owned by Ford Motor Co. (Never mind that GM controls Saab, Toyota owns Lexus, Honda owns Acura, Nissan owns Infiniti and German-based Mercedes-Benz and American Chrysler are wed.)

As an eight-year-old, X-Type is no slouch. For 2006, it gets a splash of freshness with a sporty mesh grille in eye-catching chrome. New 15-spoke, 16-inch "Antares" style alloy wheels are added. And the entry level 3.0 sedan now has connectivity for Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth wireless for hands-free mobile phones. X-Type won a four- out of five-star rating in federal side impact crash tests, adding kudos following last year's coveted initial quality rating improvement from J. D. Power & Associates, the bible of vehicle rating services.

X-Type was expanded to four models last year, and now includes the upscale VDP, Sport, and Sportwagon that remains a puzzle for purist Jaguar aficionados despite its road taming capability. The most accessible model is the all-aluminum AJ-V-6 powered, 3.0 sedan ($32,995 base), undergirded with 227-horsepower and a broad, powerful torque range for fast starts and quick passing. It is aligned toward an agile, athletic drive, touched with refined luxury. Among standard X-Type highlights are hand-crafted leather, toney wood trim (burled walnut on VDP), sliding front armrest, five-speed automatic that senses driving conditions and Jag's "Traction-4" advanced all-wheel-drive. Others, depending on model, include carbon fiber veneer, rain sensing wipers, 320-watt Alpine Premium sound (VDP), and the mandatory British Racing Green as a color choice.

Rumors persist the X-Type's days might be numbered in favor of an eventual sportier small car from the legendary Brit auto maker. For those who love a compact, entry lux auto with a high dollar panache, athletic "driving machine" rep and a sense of passion, those could be fighting words.