After months of speculation and dodgy spy-shots the time has finally come that Jaguar has unveiled a concept crossover vehicle. Although as a luxury manufacturer some observers may have questioned why it has taken Jaguar so long to enter a booming market segment, the company has been twinned with Land Rover since their sale to Indian manufacturer Tata back in 2008 and given Land Rover’s product line-up it could be seen as pointless offering an off roader with the leaping cat emblem.
It could be argued that the new C-X17 concept is not an off roader at all. Although the popularity (and prices) of Land Rover’s product line-up has seen large growth in recent years, off-road ability has remained a core value which is built into every model. Even the Range Rover Evoque, unarguably a crossover itself, features the much-copied Terrain Response system that is present in the larger models from the brand. The Jaguar model appears to lack even a nod to off road ability, and whilst it might not be as road-orientated as something like a BMW X4 or X6 it looks like Jag could take the fight to the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, both of which are larger than the Evoque and classier than the aging Freelander.
Given Jaguar’s current design renaissance it was always pretty unlikely that they would produce a ‘minger’ and the C-X17 does not disappoint in the slightest. Looking like what is best described as an XF wagon on stilts, the concept brings in a few design elements from the beautiful F Type sports car, especially at the rear with it’s sleek tail-lights. Up front the current Jaguar grille is flanked by feline headlamps with ubiquitous LED running lights, and interestingly the large air intakes are also tinseled up with LED’s to give drivers a shock at night-time. Although a concept version for now, I would bet on most of the design going through to production, maybe barring those lower lights.
Inside there is clearly a more concept-car feel, with 4 white bucket seats facing a minimalistic white dash, with blue dials and a few hints of technlogy. The design has a definite kinship with the Range Rover Evoque in here, and whilst there is no relationship between the 2 models (yet), Jaguar have clearly decided to make good use of the popular design and I expect that something approaching a combination of Evoque and XF will be the best description of the eventual newcomer.
The idea of a Jag crossover horrifies many purists for 2 reasons, firstly because of the fact Land Rover is the off-road marque of the two (and I doubt that we will see a Range Rover saloon anytime soon) and that they seem to be pandering to a passing trend to make a quick buck, the second reason however is more interesting and revolves around the argument that Jaguar should be focusing their resources into creating a new sports saloon to rival the likes of the 3 Series and A4…a successor to the much maligned X-Type if you will. Given that this rumoured model and the new crossover will be based on Jaguar’s new platform it might seem correct to question why Jaguar have released the more ‘niche’ version first, but to me it makes a lot of sense. A crossover will always have the potential to make a lot more revenue because of their higher price and increased profit margins, and given the failure of the X Type, this gap will give engineers more time (and money) to focus on developing the saloon.
What interests me is the possible name for the production crossover. ‘XQ’ has been heavily rumoured but Infiniti owns the QX and Q combinations for their cars, although Audi fought for their right to use ‘Q’ to represent their crossovers with Quattro. ‘XC’ would also work, but that is Volvo’s territory and ‘XX’ sounds more like a clothing size than a car model. Maybe they will go with something completely different then, and with a production version probably a year or so there hopefully won’t be too long to wait.