Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Kitty Has Claws

The Kitty Has Claws

Well, I solved the problem of the Corvette and snow. I had sworn off the X-type back when Ford still owned Jaguar because of Ford's support of various obnoxious gay festivals, but Ford sold Jaguar a while back, and I was now free to look at the X-type.

I bought a 2005 Jaguar X-type with 27,757 miles--and because it is a certified preowned Jaguar, Jaguar USA extends the factory warranty to six years or 100,000 from the in-service date in February of 2005. And it cost less than $16,000! Yes, the extended warranty is a statement of Jaguar's past history of unreliability--the days when you didn't dare use two power window buttons without checking first to see if you had spare fuses. But I did some digging, and it turns out that post-2004, Jaguar X-types are actually pretty decent. (Sad that Ford's acquisition improved Jaguar quality.)

In front of Lyle Pearson Jaguar they had what looked like a 4WD test track--a solid mass of ice in their parking lot. Wow, does this stick well! And it is a full-time 4WD system--40% to the front, 60% to the rear. Coming up our driveway--which is still plenty icy--I could feel the little cat hunting for traction, and finding it, without difficulty. In front of the house, I was able to controllably cut donuts in 5-6 inches of snow--no problem at all.

Of course, 4WD doesn't ever solve the braking problem on ice, and you still have to be careful. But the temptation to get some studded tires for it is very strong.

It's not a Corvette, of course. It has a speed governor at 121 mph, because of the tires (and probably because of the lawyers, too). It doesn't have the raw acceleration, although it is quite acceptable. It has more body roll, too, although these aren't exactly the conditions to find out the cornering limits, anyway. But it rides well, with a firm although not harsh suspension. It is quiet--and I do like having the stereo controls on the steering wheel again. The Corvette's removable top is nicer for the open air feel--but the power moonroof is certainly easier and quicker to deal with than having to stop the car to put the top on or off.

It isn't spectacularly big inside, but it is comfortable two in front, and I wouldn't object to riding for an hour or so in the back seat. (Well, not much.)

My wife has long called the Corvette "the tart" for its brazen appearance, and sometimes undignified and loud behavior. So I have started to call the Jaguar "Jane Seymour" for its elegance and beauty. There's a place for both!

Now, it may sound extravagant--but it really isn't. I have to have a way to get in and out of our subdivision in winter, and I need a way to get back and forth to Bend during the winter. (And even if I get a job in Boise, I'll still need a way to get back and forth in winter.) Compared to other true 4WD vehicles, this wasn't any worse than buying a Subaru with the same number of years and miles (which tells you how little Subarus depreciate, and how much the Jaguar did)--and cheaper than an equivalent truck or SUV--and far more civilized to drive!

UPDATE: I've previously mentioned that "the time to buy is when there is blood in the streets." That's when I bought the Corvette, figuratively speaking, in 2002, when the sports car market was very weak. I'm buying the Jaguar at a similar time. How Lyle Pearson is going to sell the new Jaguars in their showroom with >$100,000 stickers eludes me. But this is obviously not the time to sell the Corvette, unless I wanted to give someone else the deal of the century. Come summer, I might be a bit more prepared to do so.

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