If you've always lusted after a Jaguar sedan, but couldn't pop for the $55,000-plus XJ8, there's good news - and bad. The 2000 S-Type marks the debut of the first "small" Jaguar in more than 30 years. At a glance, all that elegance can be had for an affordable price because the base V-6 model starts at $42,500. That sticker starts to rise when you upgrade to the 4.0-liter V-8 engine, deluxe communications package and other assorted goodies. Our test vehicle ended up costing $56,710. So much for affordability - and a good starting point for an argument over whether this tony British product merits a four-star rating. He: I have been dying to drive the S-Type since it was first introduced last fall at the Birmingham Motor Show in England. I missed the preview for American journalists earlier this year, so my anticipation has been building steadily over the past 10 months. When we finally got into the car, I have to tell you it was a great thrill - and something of a letdown. In the flesh, the S-Type looks every bit as beautiful and classic as it does in the photos - maybe even more elegant and desirable. I love the way it rides and handles. The V-8 is terrific, and the cabin is lovely. But for $58,000, I can also buy some other pretty sensational automobiles, including the larger Jaguar XK8. She: It's fascinating to see how the male mind evaluates cars. Is that your version of arguing with yourself? He: What makes you think my mind had anything to do with this evaluation? We're talking seat of the pants - which is also where I keep my wallet. She: In that case, let me get my two cents in. I felt like a movie star in this car. And not a slug like Janeane Garofalo. More like Myrna Loy in the Thin Man series. I'm surprised the seats in the S-Type don't come with mink trim and that there's not a cigarette holder in the ash tray. It just makes you want to wear silk stockings and dress up when you drive in it. The front end has a classic-looking grille and headlights. It's terrific. Now if you read the male press, they're all in a lather about how the styling is controversial and poorly executed. But I think the proportions are perfect and the message is clear - you're a rich, pampered person if you're behind the wheel. And when you get into this stratospheric price range, what's another 10 grand anyway? He: Hold your horses, toots. I happen to think Janeane Garofalo is very sexy. And I would never think of wearing silk stockings when driving the S-Type. Just goes to show how the female mind evaluates cars. Let's get serious. At a base price of $48,000, the S-Type V-8 is a great buy. Two options on our test car that I think are worthwhile are the $1,200 weather package, which includes heated seats and dynamic stability control, and the $1,100 sport package, which bundles active suspension with 17-inch wheels and tires. Throw in the $580 destination charge, and the bottom line is a more attractive $50,88 0. That's about six grand cheaper than our test car. She: Whatever. We took the S-Type on a long road trip from Detroit to Mackinac Island and had few complaints. We could have used another cup holder up front. The back seat felt a little snug. The navigation system proved a little frustrating because it's set up to prevent you from operating much of it while you are driving. But what about when the front-seat passenger is operating it? It should have some kind of an over-ride feature. But did we enjoy the trip? Yes. The engine made an ample 281 horsepower, which is on a par with the BMW 540i and the Mercedes-Benz E430. We even got more than 20 miles per gallon on the highway. The cabin felt like a country club. Give in and give it four stars like me. He: Did you want one for your birthday, Nora dear? She: Have the maid mix me an extra-dry martini and I'll think about it, dear. 2000 Jaguar S-Type Anita's rating: world class Paul's r ng: above average Type: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, five-passenger luxury sedan. Price: Base, $48,000; as tested, $56,710 (including $580 destination charge). Engine: 4.0-liter V-8; 281-hp; 287 lb-ft torque. EPA fuel economy: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway. 12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan*: $2,027 (Estimate. Rates may be higher or lower, depending on coverage and driving record.) Where built: Coventry, England What we liked: 1930s movie-star elegance with 1990s amenities; powerful 4.0-liter V-8 rivals larger engines from BMW and Mercedes; ride is exceptionally comfortable; easy to maneuver; far more stylish than its close cousin, the Lincoln LS; base V-6 model is the most affordable Jag in years. What we didn't like: Loaded V-8 is way too expensive; back seat could be roomier; needs another cup holder in front; navigation system can be frustrating; optional deluxe communications package is not worth $4,300.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Rick Popely||Cars.com National||January 6, 2000|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||April 28, 2000|
|Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||October 28, 1999|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||October 3, 1999|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||September 19, 1999|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||August 25, 1999|
|Larry Printz||The Morning Call and Mcall.com||August 8, 1999|
|Richard Truett||Orlando Sentinel||June 17, 1999|
|Terry Jackson||The Miami Herald||June 17, 1999|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||May 23, 1999|
|Paul Dean||Los Angeles Times||March 25, 1999|
|Tony Swan||Detroit Newspapers||March 25, 1999|
|Al Haas||May 27, 1999|
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