Used Jaguar XJ Saloon 1997 - 2003 review

Category: Luxury car

It's refined and comfortable, but possibly a little 'old hat' for some people

Used Jaguar XJ Saloon 1997 - 2003
  • Used Jaguar XJ Saloon 1997 - 2003
  • Used Jaguar XJ Saloon 1997 - 2003
Used Jaguar XJ Saloon 1997 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Jaguar XJ saloon like?

A well equipped cabin complements the XJ's all-aluminium body to deliver a beautiful luxury car. It has proved a reliable charger, but the switchgear feels low-rent when compared with German luxury cars'.

The air suspension gives perfect poise, combining a comfortable ride with good handling. And, inside, the XJ's all wood, leather and chrome. It's like a belligerent old headmaster - stuck in its ways, but still commanding respect. Upgraded models have touch-screen satellite-navigation, cruise control and electric memory front seats.


It's refined and comfortable, but possibly a little 'old hat' for some people

  • The XJ has a strong heritage, and it's a good-value alternative to its German rivals
  • The switchgear is old-fashioned, as are the car's looks
  • Running costs are high, too

Don't worry that you'll be short-changed by chosing the cheapest model. Even the entry level model gives owners enough power to feel satisfied.

The older examples feel cramped, though, but thankfully Jaguar addressed this with the introduction of a longer-wheelbase car in 2000, giving rear-seat passengers an extra four inches of legroom.

Ownership cost

What used Jaguar XJ saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Jaguar XJ saloon?

How much have you got? If you want a bit of luxury, but don't have the resources to sustain such an indulgence, you should maybe consider buying a smaller executive car like the S-Type instead.

It's not buying an XJ that's the problem, though - poor residuals have put the XJ firmly in the Ôaffordable' bracket - but you need to make a long-term financial commitment to run one.

Insurance costs are punitive: the 3.2-litre is in group 16 and the 4.0-litre is in groups 17-19. Frugality? The stats tell you you may get 24mpg, but that's with a whole lot of downhill roads with the wind behind you. Don't expect to get much more than 20mpg, and don't be surprised if it's just 17mpg.

This car isn't cheap to fix, either: Jaguar is among the costliest of all manufacturers for servicing. However, you'll be unlucky if an XJ goes wrong - Jaguar is among the top performers in the Warranty Direct reliability survey.

Our recommendations

Which used Jaguar XJ saloon should I buy?

Earlier models are cramped in the rear and lack generous boot space, so give them a miss.

The smallest V8 engine in the XJ range is the 3.2-litre unit. It produces 240bhp, will propel you from 0-60mph in 7.8sec and take you to a top speed of 145mph. Which, to be honest, is plenty for most people.

That said, however, it is overshadowed by the 4.0-litre model, which takes you from 0-60mph in just 6sec. It's impressively quick in a straight line, and handles well enough to give its rivals a run for their money.

It's probably best to steer clear of the awesome XJR. This flagship high-performance version has a top speed of 155mph and manages 0-60mph in 5sec, but it's not exactly nimble, and as a result the brakes take a hammering.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Jaguar XJ saloon?