Six years seem to be an eternity in the car industry. While the average product life cycle of a Japanese car is typically about four years, their European counterparts usually have a longer shelf life – anywhere between five to six years.
Jaguar though, seems to be bulking this trend for European models. Coventry’s baby model has now entered its seventh year since it was first launched, and has just received its first facelift for it to soldier on to see off its substantially more modern German and Japanese rivals.
The X-Type first appeared in 2001 with much fanfare as it was touted to be the model to save Jaguar’s fortunes. The X-Type was also the first ever compact saloon from the British car maker.
But with no suitable small car platform of their own, Jaguar had to turn to - then owner - Ford’s vast resources and parts bin to put the X-Type into production, and eventually, the platform of the previous generation Ford Mondeo was chosen as a base. Interestingly, the car was also not made at the historical Jaguar plant at Browns Lane - but was made alongside the Land Rover Freelander at the Halewood plant near Liverpool instead.
To differentiate it from the front-wheel driven Mondeo, the X-Type was endowed with an all-wheel drive drivetrain at the beginning. But a cheaper base model was needed to see off entry-level Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series variants, so in order to cut costs and reduce weight, the base 2.1-litre X-Type was front-wheel driven only, making it the first ever Jag to have only front driven wheels.