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The Little Cat That Got Bigger
2005 Jaguar X-Type Sportwagon
By Alain Gayot

In short: A nimble, luxury, compact wagon.

Since SUVs are too big and require too much gasoline, why not slim down and become more stylish? For 2005, Jaguar has three models in the X-Type series: a VDP luxury model, a Sport model and our tester, the brand-new Sportwagon just introduced on the North American market. For a long time in Europe, station wagons remained popular. Now Jaguar joins the ranks of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, SAAB and others in this urban-and-country car trend. And they’ve kept the price right to compete in this market.

A sportwagon definitely won't be as practical as a pick-up truck or an SUV, but at least you’ll be driving a real car that manages to achieve 50 cubic feet of cargo space. We like the rear pop-up window that doesn’t require you to open the entire hatch and the 70/30 split-folding rear seat that folds without removing the headrests.

The engineers mounted a nifty little V6 with 227 horsepower. Unfortunately, the acceleration is unimpressive, and it gets rather loud quickly if you floor it. But when it gets going, it purrs along quite nicely. The car handles effortlessly due to the all-wheel-drive mechanism, brakes well and is totally easy to drive.

Overall, it's a tame kitty that offers comfort and safety, and it looks cool in the driveway or in the supermarket parking lot, much cuter than a mammoth Hummer anyway.

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, complimentary scheduled maintenance, 24/7 roadside assistance.

Price as tested: $39,540

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 3-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 with VIS & WT; 227 hp

Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic

Safety: Driver's and passenger's front and side airbags, rear child seat tethers

Top Speed: 121 mph

Acceleration: 0-60 time of 7.3 seconds

Braking: 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS

Fuel Economy: 18 city / 24 highway

Handling: Variable Ratio Steering

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Photography: Walter Mladina

(Updated: 07/24/08 HC)

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