Jaguar S-type (1999 – 2007) Review

Jaguar S-type (1999 – 2007) At A Glance

+Proper, rear drive Jaguar, at its best as 3.0 V6 Sport manual.

-Lots of faults and overtaken by the opposition during its long production life.

Jaguar had been working on a baby XJ6 since the mid-1990s, conscious that its rivals were offering drivers more choice. When Ford took over Jaguar, a question mark hung over the designs, but management soon realised that having a model to rival the BMW 5-series was a smart move – made all the smarter by a bit of platform sharing.

And so it was that a retro-styled new Jaguar arrived based on the Ford’s rear-wheel drive DEW platform, which was also used by the Lincoln LS (and is still used by the Jaguar XF). Two engines were available from launch, a 240bhp 3.0-litre V6 (a entry level 2.5 V6 would follow) or 281bhp 4.0-litre V8 (replaced by a 4.2 V8). Later, a supercharged 400bhp 4.2-litre V8 would arrive in the S-type R (along with a host of dynamic upgrades).

At the time, the styling divided opinion. Honest John called it the 'spiritual reincarnation' of the Mk2, praising the flowing, retro lines. He said, 'You could argue that the styling isn't 100% successful, but then neither was the styling of the original, and that somehow adds to its character.' But the S-type had its critics. Like the Rover 75, which was launched at the same time, some saw the styling as backwards looking compared to cutting edge-designs like the new Ford Focus.

But over time, the S-type seems to have aged well – even if it hasn’t quite found its niche in classic circles. This has kept prices low, although you’ll have to pay £5k if you want the R car. 

Jaguar S Type Sport 2001 Road Test

Jaguar S Type 2002 Range Road Test

Jaguar S-Type V6 Diesel 2004 Road Test

Ask Honest John

How can I increase the height of my seat to improve visibility?

"The driver’s seat is very low on my Jaguar S-Type. I am only 5’4” and can hardly see over the bonnet. Any suggestions?"
The problem is probably being caused by a heavily worn driver's seat. Consider buying a foam-filled comfort cushion with an anti-slip backing and adjustable straps that will secure it to the seat. Halford's sell them for around £30. If you are considering replacing the car, then something like the Toyota Yaris might be better for your needs:
Answered by Dan Powell

What should I be aware of when buying a used Jaguar S-Type?

"I am considering buying a Jaguar S-Type 2005 described as in 'pristine' condition for £7999 from a specialist dealer. The vehicle has done 30000 miles and has a full service history. What should I be aware of?"
Regardless of how the dealer has described it, you should view it with your eyes wide open. The first thing to do is drive some other models to see what's available because you really, really don't need to pay £8k for one. You can get an S-type R with a 4.2-litre V8 for £3k. Remember - you are not buying a new car and whatever you buy will need work. Much better to have some in the pocket for a rainy day. Have a look at our buyer's guide here:
Answered by Keith Moody
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