After we sold our Subaru Outback 3.0, we were without a modern car again. And without a wagon.
The old arguments to buy a modern-ish wagon began to gain importance. You know, the space, as a bad weather car, as a towing car, etc. As always, I did not want to spend much money.
Nice Subarus were too hard to find, they had huge mileages or were too expensive. I was not really interested in other brands so the chance of getting another wagon was small.
One day, I was driving to the office, I got overtaken by a wagon I did not think I had seen ever before. Or noticed. A Jaguar wagon, what the hell??
I did not even know Jaguar made a wagon. Now I have to say I was not very up to date with the more modern models of Jaguar, they just did not interest me much, cars like the X-type and S-type.
The car I saw was a X-type wagon. These were sold by very low numbers here in the Netherlands. The vast majority of cars like these were bought by leasing companies, and I think the Jaguar was just too expensive. Why not get a Ford Mondeo wagon or a Peugeot, both very popular cars here.
The X-type was available with a V6 petrol engine in 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 liters. And with a four cilinder diesel engines.
The 2.5 and 3.0 petrol versions had 4WD as standard. All were available either as a sedan or a wagon. Sedans sold pretty well, but I never really liked the styling. To me, it is too much like a shortened XJ – a car with great lines.
But the wagon does not have that handicap and comes out a lot better I think. Being a Jaguar, the interior is very nice place to be.
I was not interested in a diesel car, and also not in a base stripper version. So when I found out 2.5 and 3.0 wagons existed, and they had 4WD as standard, I got searching. It turned out these larger engined wagons were almost non-existent in our country. I only found three or four in four months time. All had huge mileages. I had a test drive in a 2.5 with manual gearbox. That made me decide to look for an automatic. The manual gear change was not very precise and the clutch too heavy. I quite like manual gearboxes but in a bigger, modern car like this, an automatic box is better placed.
As Germany is near and I could not find a car in our own country, I started looking there. The German market for second hand cars is much bigger, as a result there were dozens of 2.5 or 3.0 wagons to choose from. Even now, almost 7 years later, there are 9 wagons listed for sale in Germany (and none in the Netherlands). If I would buy a car there, I had to transport it to my home and get it through the Dutch registration inspection. I would also have to pay import taxes. So, more work and more costs compared to buying a car in our country. The extra costs were countered by the fact that cars in Germany were cheaper to buy.
I choose 2 cars online which were not too far away, to visit/inspect in one day. Looked in my agenda and picked a day. Then the same afternoon I got a notification from our online local second hand Market place. I had put in a search for a car and now a new ad was published.
I had put in a search for a car and now a new ad was published. This was for a 3.0 wagon, automatic, low miles, low price. I immediately got in touch with the seller and made an appointment for the next day.
This was the first time I test drove a 3.0 with automatic gearbox. It did seem livelier – although that may have been wishful thinking for a large part. But the auto worked well, and I liked it much better than the manual.
The car was rust and dent free, in matt black. This was a wrap, expertly done. Only when you opened the doors or hood you could see the car was actually painted silver. The interior was unmarked black leather. Although black is nothing fancy, and maybe a bit boring, I prefer it to tan leather which most X-types have.
Why? Because black is so much more easier to keep in good condition. My Subaru Outback had a tan leather interior which looked nice but – aging of the seats was clearly visible. Small cracks were everywhere. It was hard to make it look as new again.
The Jaguar was 12 years old and only had 84.000 kilometers (52.000 miles) showing on the dash. It had every option thinkable – front (rare) and rear parking distance sensors, electric heated windscreen, headlamp washers, big navigation screen, glass sliding sunroof, etc.
The seller, a shop specialized in importing Volvo wagons from Germany, explained they had to take this car in a deal with several other cars. They would not import a Volvo without service history, this car came without history. Except for the German registration papers, it has no papers at all. Which explained the low price.
Many buyers are afraid to buy a car without service history – especially a Jaguar. Jaguar still has a bad name here in the Netherlands, regarding reliability and repair/maintenance costs. I had been reading about the X-type, its development history and reading on the Jaguar X-type forums about known problems or reliability issues. Ford owned Jaguar back then, and many Ford parts can be found in the X-type. However it still is very much a Jaguar – the engine for example is based on the Ford block but has own Jaguar designed heads and manifolds. Having Ford parts is no disadvantage, in fact the Mondeo is a very good car. The 2.5 and 3.0 have a distribution chain, so no need for an expensive belt change every few years. Generally on the forums they say X-types usually are reliable and that parts are easy and not expensive to get.
This matt black wagon looked good, no damage ever, the (unproved) low miles seem to be reflected in the condition of the unmarked steering wheel, as new pedal rubbers, unmarked two remotes, very good driver’s seat and carpet. There were no noises from the suspension, no strange noises from the engine or autobox and no noise from the driveshafts.
There were a few attention points though. The Park Distance Controls did not work, the rear wiper was not working and the luggage cover rollup was missing. The radio did not receive many FM stations. And having no service history meant it would be a risk.
As it was a fresh import from Germany, it needed to be inspected for getting a Dutch registration. That inspection is like our yearly inspection, but a little more thorough. I made a deal with the seller that I would take it for the asking price provided it was delivered with a new registration (meaning it got through the inspection).
Three weeks later I got the call I could come and get the car. The inspection had showed that the handbrake function was below the norm, and the tires needed replacement. So it had new rear discs and pads and new tires when I came to collect the car.
Everyone at home loved the matt black wrap, I was not so sure. Agreed, almost anything is better than boring silver paint but matt black is not something I would have chosen. However, it does show set off the chrome very well.
One of the first things I did was making an appointment with a recommended local car shop who specialized in 90s and 00s Jaguars. I asked them to thoroughly inspect the car and doing a full service. Change fluids and maybe align the wheels. I was happy to see the car only needed rear anti roll bar rubbers and a wheel alignment. The shop kindly changed the board systems language to Dutch (from German). They also said they believed the mileage could well be true.
In the first months I bought a tow bar and installed that. The electrics for the tow bar are not quite as easy as in a classic car, this car has CAN BUS wiring meaning you cannot simply split off wires from the rear lamps – it needs a special 7-way bypass relay. Luckily the answer to any question can be found on forums, there are lively USA and UK forums for X-type owners. Installing the tow bar is a rear bumper off action. When the rear bumper was off, I tested all PDC sensors and found two faulty which I replaced.
I managed to repair the rear wiper and find a luggage cover – this was located in the UK, I had it sent over. I bought extra winter wheels and winter tires. I found the roof antennae had a loose connection, this restored the FM reception.
The car is loved by all of my family. It is a smooth driving car, fast and quiet. The big luggage space is handy for moving classic car parts and Sylvia’s garden plants, but also for taxiing persons with luggage to airports – or getting them from airports. We once took a trip to the UK to get three very good used front seats for a 1953 Jaguar Mk7, these all fitted without problems in the car. The roof railings are useful to fix a ski box or to carry a replacement TR4 hood. The 4WD is excellent on ski holidays. The electric heated windscreen is very useful in sub zero temperatures, the car has to live on the street all year round. The powerful engine is useful for towing trailers.
Over the years some parts needed replacement.
The battery gave up after only 14 years, it was still the original fitment. Rear suspension location arms needed replacing. Very easy to do.
A faulty CO sensor was the source of the Engine Warning lamp. I have a very simple ODBC reader which works via bluetooth on a free app on the phone, I was able to lookup the code and found I needed an Upstream CO sensor. These were quite expensive here, the cheapest I could find was from Rockauto in the USA. I bought one with the special spanner needed and some other parts. Exactly one year later, the same again happened! so I did the same again. This was for the other sensor in the other manifold.
Both rear wheel bearings were replaced. The first one was done by a shop, when I saw how easy that was I replaced the other side myself.
The right hand headlamp had a problem. It did not move up from its resting position when the car was started. I searched the forums and found the reason was most probably that a small plastic bracket inside the unit was broken. New aluminum brackets were available, better than the original plastic which degrades under the influence of UV. Repairing the lamp unit was a lot of work.
It meant removing the front bumper, removing the lamp unit, splitting the unit into the glass (plastic actually) part and the back part using a hair dryer to soften the glue between glass and back part. Then, after replacing the bracket, assemble it all back again. I also replace the (still working) left hand lamp unit bracket. With the front bumper off, I measured the PDC sensors, found one faulty and replaced that as well. Now I had a fully functioning PDC system front and rear again.
Upgraded the navigation system to the 2012 version. Regrettably this is the most modern version ever to be available on this ancient system.
Usually nothing much came up at the yearly inspection. This year it was different. Three (!) of the four road springs were broken. The exhaust had a bad section. The hand brake performance was below the norm. The exhaust emissions were above the norm. An engine mount needed replacement, as did a steering joint. The sills needed patching at a a few spots (rusty sills are an X-type known weak point).
I had bought a very good second hand rear exhaust system a few year earlier from a front damaged car as I noticed the exhaust back part of my car was getting rustier all the time – I was expecting a fail already a couple of years before. These exhaust are quite expensive new. This part came in handy now.
As these were never changed while in my possession and by thinking these might have an effect on the exhaust emissions, I changed the spark plugs. Not as easy as it sounds, it involves taking off the inlet manifold. Glad I did, the old plugs were worn quite bad.
All the other work was done by a local young guy who had just got his Car Mechanic degree. He has owned his X-type (sedan) for nine years, and I had bought some parts from him before: his hobby was to dismantle old/damaged Jaguars and selling the parts. Earlier I had bought the park distance control sensors off him, plus handbooks for the car. He was able to use a hydraulic spring compressor from his boss, and also was not afraid to lower the complete rear suspension subframe (needed to install the “new” exhaust). His friend was a welder by profession and offered to weld in complete new sills. I was happy to find these young specialists and pay them for the work, which I would not have liked doing myself. I am not afraid to work on classic cars but rather leave the work for these newer cars to someone else.
It all did cost a fair bit but then I have never have had much maintenance costs for the X-type over the 6,5 years. Spread over the years I am happy to see the costs are still far, far below to what a Consumer Guide finds reasonable for car maintenance for a modern car. Yes, I still see this as a modern car even though it is now approaching 20 years of age!
Apart from the maintenance costs, there are the fuel costs. These are quite high, the 3.0 is not a frugal car. However, the car is not used daily for commuting. It is here for the odd shopping duties and bad weather driving, so the matter of a low miles per gallon is not too much of a worry.
The matt black wrap is getting uglier. I did not think the matt wrap could go more matt but it does on the hood and roof. I do not have the courage yet to take it off and see the car in its real paint. And maybe re-wrap in a different color? What is the life expectancy date for a car wrap anyway? When I bought the car the wrap was a few years old already so it has lasted for at least 9 or 10 years.
If I would have to name one thing that I would have liked better, it would be having auto closure of the rear door. It is quite heavy to close with one hand. Apart from that, it is nearly a perfect car for the tasks we use it for.