By Al Vinikour
Jaguar has a new addition to its family for 2005 — and it’s the kind of addition that’s become a standard in the European luxury ranks. The Sportwagon joins in with the compact wagons from Audi, Mercedes, BMW, and soon, Saab, in a sort of battle of the bands where there are no losers — indeed, there’s hardly an also-ran in the group.
The Sportwagon is based on the entry-level X-Type sedan, which came to North America in 2002. Jaguar hoped that today’s X-Type buyer would be tomorrow’s customer for its other offerings, from the mid-level S-Type to the top-of-the-line XKs and XJs. And though some 100,000 X-Types have been sold in North America, the smallest Jaguar has needed incentives to keep its sales at decent levels. It’s not done much to improve the brand image here, but in Europe it’s been a bigger success, especially with the diesel versions now plying the streets.
The Sportwagon gives the X-Type some much-needed, mid-lifecycle interest. And the versatility of the wagon body, built around luxury trappings, gives the lineup an appealing entry in the niche dominated by Audi and BMW.
To attain five-door nirvana, Jaguar took the front end of the X-Type and grafted on the handsome wagon back. Of all the wagons in the class, the Sportwagon seems the most dramatically changed by the transformation — and it’s a handsome look to boot.
The wagon back adds a good amount of usable space to the compact X-Type body, one of the roomier vehicles in the class. With the 70/30 rear seats folded forward, maximum interior volume is 50 cubic feet. With the rear seats in use it still has 15.7 cubic feet of luggage volume to the bottom of the window level and 24.2 cubic feet to the roofline. Seating capacity is technically five but realistically four. There’s minimum rear-seat legroom if a tall driver is positioned ideally at the controls.
2005 Jaguar X-TYPE
The tailgate has thoughtful touches. It can be opened like a conventional wagon via a remote key fob or an electrically-operated lock, controlled by a concealed button. Gas struts assist opening and closing the tailgate to a useful 88-degree angle. The rear window can be opened alone, as it features its own control options.
And you’ll never really notice the wagon addition when you’re driving, because the bodyshell of Sportwagon retains the torsional stiffness of the sedan and delivers the same supple ride and sporting dynamics. Whether Sportwagon is loaded to the gills or you’re out by yourself for a ride, the power-assisted rack and pinion steering delivers exceptional tracking and high-speed stability, and the ride motions are clean and controlled. The X-Type’s handling is among the best of its kind, thanks to well-tuned suspension settings and the traction offered up by the standard all-wheel-drive system.
All five versions of the new Sportwagon share the 3.0-liter V-6 engine found in other X-Types; it puts out 227 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission available on the Sportwagon is an electronic five-speed automatic. (A five-speed manual is available on the sedan.)
Safety gear is extensive. The Sportwagon gets adaptive dual-stage driver and passenger front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, knee bolster airbag and side-curtain airbags for front and rear occupants.
The Sportwagon also adds distinct touches to accentuate its beefier bod. More chrome trim and steel roof rails have been added, as has a standard power sunroof. Seventeen-inch, seven-spoke “Cayman” wheels with all-season tires come standard; eighteen-inch “Valencia” wheels with performance tires can be ordered.
Navigation systems and premium interior trim can send the price north of $40,000 but with a base price just under $37,000, the Sportwagon is suited to take on the other Euro brands as an SUV alternative worth leaping into.
2005 Jaguar X-Type Sportwagon
Engine: 3.0-liter V-6, 227 hp
Transmission: Five-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Length x width x height: 185.5 x 70.4 x 58.4 in
Wheelbase: 106.7 in
Curb Weight: 3761 lb
Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): 18 /24 mpg
Safety Equipment: Dual airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive
Major Standard Equipment: Air conditioning, AM/FM/CD player, power sunroof
Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles
The Car Connection Consumer Review
Nice ride, but that fuel consumption!!!
Nice car, good in the snow, decent Mpg's
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