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2004 Jaguar X-Type Compact Luxury Sedan

What was Tested?: 2004 Jaguar X-Type

Base Price: $29,995.

Mileage: 18 city / 28 highway.

The moment I first set my eyes on the 2004 Jaguar X-Type, thoughts ran through my mind that it was a work of art. A fine work of art to be looked at - at different angles, different ways, up and down, all around.

Beautiful. Just, beautiful. From the tip of the jaguar's nose flying out of the hood to the rear tail pipe, this Jaguar X-Type is just plain beautiful in every way and at every angle.

But it wasn't the looks alone that impressed me about this vehicle. It wasn't even the great performance, the awesome comfort, the great mileage or the fabulous ride and handling characteristics of this Jaguar that did it for me.

It was the price.

So much so that it is on the top of my new-car buying list right now. Give up my huge sport ute? Sure. For this, would do it in a heartbeat.

Consider that it takes just a hair under $29,000 for the opportunity to put a Jaguar in your driveway and nestle it in your garage every night. And then to have the awesome opportunity to drive this vehicle every single day that you own or lease it.


Value. Man alive, the value you get for your money in this Jaguar X-Type. Most of the stuff that you would really expect in a fine luxury automobile is right there, where it should be. From the heated leather seats to the all-wheel-drive capabilities, the Jaguar is packed to the max with value.

The X-Type driven this week was the one outfitted in the 3.0-liter engine, which actually stickers at just under $34,000. Still, it's a value, considering most people spend that much - or more - on their sport utility vehicles.

Let's slip inside the Jag. Its seats envelope around you like a little baby swaddled in warm flannel. Wood veneer is tastefully done and placed in logical areas.

There are so many places to store stuff, it's incredible. Every nook and cranny of the X-Type is used to be able to store your car phone, cassettes, CDs, maps, Tim Hortons Ice Cap and just about anything else you can think of. I didn't personally count each and every one, but Jaguar documents say there are 29 separate, individual storage compartments - 30 if you include the trunk.

On the glove box you'll find a cool little hook that allows you to place your purse or a small shopping bag suspended and off the passenger's-side floor where it may spill all over. Don't you just hate it when your purse topples over, the phone slips out into the wheel well and then starts ringing? Won't happen again with that little retractable hook.

There's a lot of space all the way around for your comfort and the comfort of your passengers. Nobody complained all week about comfort. The X-Type had enough room for everyone and everything I hauled around. Jaguar calls it a "compact-sized Jaguar." Let them talk like that. We know better.

Let's go back outside for a moment. The lines, the shapes, the way it all flows together is a piece of harmony. All of the work on the exterior lends the X-Type to a huge cargo area under the rear deck lid.

If you want safety, you've got safety. All-wheel drive we mentioned already. Then you've got your basic anti-lock brakes, front seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags both front and rear, three-point belts all around and a collapsible brake pedal.

Jaguar has incorporated its very own Dynamic Stability Control system as part of the "sport" package, but it's an option on the 3.0-liter model. It uses sensors like steering angle, lateral-G and yaw and can minimize under- and oversteer conditions that could result in a skid. It corrects all that and keeps you safe.

You haven't experienced ride and handling like this in any other vehicle, let me tell you. Agility should be its middle name, thanks to its super-stiff body structure, four-wheel independent suspension and top-mounted struts. Variable speed-sensitive steering rounds out the package by giving you fabulous response at every speed and turn of the wheel.

Sounds like I fell in love with a vehicle I really didn't think I would? You bet. Would I buy it? Sure would. Now go get yourself one. Now.

Engine: 3.0-liter 227-horsepower engine.

Where built: Merseyside, England.