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
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
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
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 -
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.