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2004 Jaguar S-Type Sedan

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San Francisco:  When the Jaguar S-Type was introduced a few years ago, it was criticized for being too much like a Ford and too little like a "real" Jag. It looked great on the outside - like every Jaguar should - but showed far too much of its Taurus DNA in the cabin.

Jaguar rectifies some of this Fordness, though thankfully not all of it, with a heavily revised S-Type. It retains its gorgeous body and chic style, but its interior, ride, handling, and horsepower are made more appropriate for a car with such a rich pedigree.

Most notable is a sumptuously redesigned cabin, which now includes massive swathes of wood trim and rivers of supple leather covering the doors and seats. It's a major improvement over the tacky Ford like styling used starting in the 2000 model year and finally makes the S-Type feel like a blue blooded Jag from behind the wheel.

And oh, is that a fantastic feeling. Even before the engine roars to life it's clear that this is a special car, one that pays extraordinary attention to detail and has an innate sense of style. The warmth of its wood trim and calming comfort of its soft seats are beckoning, almost seductive, as they surround its lucky passengers with pure and simple luxury.

The S-Type drives like a typical Jaguar with a soft ride, refined handling, and almost eerie silence at highway speed. Its acceleration can range from competent to exhilarating, depending on which engine you choose: a 3.0-liter 235-horsepower V6 ($43,895), a 4.2-liter 294-horsepower V8 ($49,995), or the screaming S-Type R with a supercharged 4.2-liter V8 that makes 390 horsepower ($63,120).

Our test vehicle, equipped with the non-supercharged V8, accelerated with authority from stoplights and on highways. Moving around town felt almost effortless as the engine silently tugged the Jaguar through traffic and onto freeways, only belting out a throaty roar under hard acceleration.

Its ride is soft and supple, though a little bouncy, as it smoothes out imperfections in the road with grace. Handling is improved with an all new front suspension introduced in the 2003 model year that makes the S-Type feel fairly agile in corners but not as exciting as a true sports sedan.

Of course, driving a Jaguar is as much about style as it is comfort, and the S-Type doesn't disappoint, at least from the front. Its nose features the gorgeous, classic lines of Jaguars from the 1960s with charming curves that give it an artistic - if not snobbish - appeal. The rear end, however, is dull and Ford-like with a high decklid and boring profile, unlike Jaguars of the past with their sleek, low-slung trunk that added a sense of elegance.

While the S-Type is exceptionally refined and lavish, it seems to benefit from Ford's blue-collar heritage. Jaguars historically have not had a great reputation for quality, as their V-12 engines seemed to start leaking oil almost as soon as they left the factory, their electrical systems were notoriously buggy, and their reliability - or lack thereof - was legendary.

When Ford bought Jaguar a few years ago, the gurus from Detroit evidently implemented strict quality control measures that finally brought Jaguar up to modern standards of reliability and build quality. The S-Type benefits from Ford's guidance with rattle free construction and an improving reputation for engineering quality.

Overall, the S-Type is a worthy car to carry the Jaguar name, one that has the performance, luxury, and style to live up to its historic reputation. It still has a little Ford DNA showing through its gorgeous curves, but is that so bad? Not anymore.

Why buy it? It finally has an interior befitting of a Jaguar, its ride is soft and quiet, and its body is prettier than Jennifer Anniston in a swimsuit. By Derek Price AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  S-Type tones down Ford influence
Topic:  2004 Jaguar S-Type
Word Count:   697
Photo Caption:  2004 Jaguar S-Type
Photo Credits:  Jaguar Interrnet Media
Series #:   2003 - 53

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2004 Jaguar S-Type

Download the original image file here:  2004 Jaguar S-Type 24k

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Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
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