By driving her Jaguar X-Type Estate through Windsor Great Park at the weekend, the Queen confirmed what PetrolBlog already suspected. The X-Type Estate – notable for being the first production Jaguar wagon – is a handsome old devil and probably the last of the Jags actually fit for the Queen.
The media was working itself into a lather as pics of Her Majesty driving to the church emerged on Monday morning. “Impatient” was how one paper referred to the ‘incident’ as the Queen “veered onto a grass verge” to steer around a young family. OK, two things here.
Firstly, far from being patient, the Queen wasn’t acting impatiently, she was merely looking to avoid disrupting the couple’s morning stroll. Secondly, that wasn’t a verge, it was part of the grass in Windsor Great Park, which is essentially the Queen’s front lawn. So she had every right to steer her X-Type on to the grass.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) July 20, 2015
But here’s the thing. The real story to emerge from this ‘shocking’ turn of events is the car in which the Queen chose to drive to morning worship. Truth be told, Queen Elizabeth looks right at home in the Jaguar X-Type Estate. Few wagons of the era offer the same level of class and sophistication.
Put it this way, could you image the Queen driving an XF Sportbrake? Or an F-Type Coupe? And as for the XE, the X-Type’s spiritual successor, that looks far too much like a rival to a typical German executive saloon to warrant further investigation at Buckingham Palace. That said, some mags are quick to suggest the XE represents the second coming of Jaguar, proclaiming it to be top cat in the ultimate twin-test against sliced bread.
On the plus side, at least you can order a new Jaguar XE in British Racing Green.
But back to the Jaguar X-Type Estate. We’ve been programmed to dismiss the X-Type as nothing more than a Ford Mondeo in a posh suit and as such, Jaguar is keen to distance it from the XE. And sure, the saloon version does come across as a bit Mr Small and Medium-sized Enterprise. Ian Callum even suggested the X-Type was effectively thrust upon Jaguar by the then bosses at Ford.
But with the wagon version, Jaguar worked some magic. In the right colour, with the right engine (3.0-litre V6, please) and with the right set of alloys, the Jaguar X-Type Estate just works. It would look at home outside any country house or castle and – as demonstrated by the Queen – it has a unique sense of Britishness about it. Where the X-Type saloon would look low rent, the estate somehow looks to the manor born.
Maybe Jaguar should have called it the X-Type Eventer? None of this Sportbrake nonsense.
Naturally, the 3.0-litre V6 with Balmoral-spec all-wheel drive is the one to go for, we can’t imagine the Queen getting her hands dirty with the diesel versions. And it comes with that all-important feature required on a country estate – the split rear tailgate. This opens to reveal 1,415 litres of space with the rear seats folded down, more than you’d find in a BMW 3 Series Touring, Audi A4 Avant or Mercedes C-Class Estate.
The cabin looks like it was designed in a different era and that’s no bad thing. Note what look like supremely comfortable seats, a wooden dashboard and a stubby gearstick. Doesn’t look too much like a Ford Mondeo from where we’re sitting.
If the Queen happened to peruse eBay – and we’re pretty sure she likes nothing better on a Sunday afternoon – Her Majesty would find that prices range from £1,500 for something ropey to £13,000 for a wagon fit for a Queen. Dark green metallic, ivory leather trim, 17-inch alloy wheels and all-wheel drive. That would be the spec for us.
Take a leaf out of the Queen’s book and give the Jaguar X-Type Estate the credit it deserves. Rather than viewing it as a negative, consider the humble underpinnings of the Ford Mondeo to be a good thing. Allow a certain former presenter of a certain television programme to demonstrate.
Watching that footage leaves us in little doubt that the Jaguar X-Type Estate is the last of a dying breed. Today, Jaguar is trying desperately hard to shake off its gentleman’s club image and – with the help of some actor types and a range of new products – is beginning to succeed. But that leaves a gaping hole in the British car industry.
Where do we go for the affordable-if-we-stretch-ourselves-or-work-a-little-harder-at-work British car now? By playing it cool, Jaguar may lose sight of what made us fall in love the big cat in the first place.
Dear Queen, if you’re reading this (hello, by the way), PetrolBlog salutes you for your choice vehicle and we politely request that you give us first refusal on your motor when you come to sell it. We’ve heard there are some great deals on the new Mitsubishi Mirage. Yours sincerely, PetrolBlog.
All photos © Jaguar.