Used Jaguar S-type Saloon 1998 - 2008 review

Category: Executive car

It's not quite a BMW-beater, but it's a refined alternative that's worth considering

Jaguar S-type Saloon (98 - 08)
  • Jaguar S-type Saloon (98 - 08)
  • Jaguar S-type Saloon (98 - 08)
Used Jaguar S-type Saloon 1998 - 2008 review
Star rating

What's the used Jaguar S-Type saloon like?

When the S-type arrived in 1999, it looked like it had just driven off the set of The Sweeney. Most models had even a classic wood and leather interior to match, but underneath the car was every bit as modern as its German rivals.

While the S-type may not have the ultimate poise of the BMW 5 Series, its handling is still very good, thanks to an agile chassis and precise, accurate steering. Optional CATS suspension sharpens up the responses further, and every model performs well, with not a duff engine in the range.


It's not quite a BMW-beater, but it's a refined alternative that's worth considering

  • The engines are smooth, the ride is comfortable
  • and it's good value for money
  • Headroom is a bit tight in the rear, and it's not as sharp to drive as a BMW 5 Series

Electrically adjustable pedals are an option on later models, but even without them, getting a good driving position is easy. However, the centre of the dashboard contains an almost bewildering array of buttons, and tall back seat passengers will find their heads brushing the roof. There could be more stowage in the cabin, too, and the boot opening would be better if it was wider.

Ownership cost

What used Jaguar S-Type saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Jaguar S-Type saloon?

German rivals hold their value better than the Jag. So a good used S-type gives you a lot of executive car for your money. However it's not the case if you want the diesel, which looks set to stubbornly hang on to its value, and remains quite dear.

That said, the diesel is attractive in many ways. For a start, with an official 41.5mpg, the diesel is almost twice as efficient as the 24.5mpg 300bhp V8 and the 22.7mpg R. And, with just a group 14 rating, it's the cheapest model in the range to insure.

To cap it all, its 15,000-mile service intervals mean it needs to see the inside of a dealership less often than it's 10,000-mile rated petrol counterparts.

Sadly, the bill won't be cheap when the time does come around. Jaguar hourly rates are about the most expensive in the whole market, so unless the car is still under warranty, find a good specialist instead.

Our recommendations

Which used Jaguar S-Type saloon should I buy?

First-generation cars were fitted with a 240bhp 3.0-litre Ford V6 or a 4.0-litre 280bhp Jaguar V8. The V8 came as an automatic only, but V6s also had the choice of a manual gearbox.

The high-performance R model arrived in January 2002 with a new 400bhp supercharged V8. At the same time a smaller, but more fuel-efficient 2.5-litre 200bhp V6 was also introduced, while the V8 became a 300bhp 4.2-litre.

However, all these petrol engines soon became irrelevant ancient history when, in 2004, Jaguar gave the S-type a major facelift - and made a much better car in the process. There was a nod to the larger all-aluminium XJ, s Jaguar fitted the S-type with an aluminium bonnet, but it was the new diesel engine under that bonnet that really impressed.

The Peugeot-Citroen-Ford-developed 2.7-litre, 24-valve, twin-turbo diesel is our choice. With its 206bhp and 320lbft of pulling power, this unit has the refinement and the performance to wean anyone off petrol power. In mid-model SE spec, it provides all the kit you need.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Jaguar S-Type saloon?