27 February 2004

Jaguar is contemplating a soft-roader version of the X-type estate to tackle the likes of the Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70.

Jag’s first wagon already has all-wheel drive and it would be relatively straighforward to raise the ride height and fit tough-looking body cladding.

Rocketing demand for off-road models has killed the market for estates in the US and Jaguar isn’t even selling the new X-type estate there. BMW only sells around 3000 3-series wagons in America every year, but a chunkier X-type estate could appeal in the US and Europe.

Jaguar’s long-term product plan may be extended to include a separate crossover SUV to satisfy demands from its US importer. ‘I think we could have success with a sporty, crossover-type sports wagon,’ Mike O’Driscoll, boss of Jaguar North America, told Autocar at last month’s Detroit show.

Ford’s US luxury arm, Lincoln, showed a possible direction at Detroit with the Aviator concept (pictured): a four-seat 4x4 with car-derived styling in the mould of VW’s Touareg, built on the car platform used for the Mazda 6.

Jaguar experimented with a 4x4 in the late ’90s, when the X500 programme culminated in a prototype based on a Ford Explorer truck platform, with a re-skin inspired by the XJ8. The project was killed off.

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