In the 1950s and 60s, Jaguar was a company which did not limit themselves when it came to designing and building a variety of different four-door automobiles. It seemed that the automaker delighted in not only producing fine automobiles, but also in exploring the limits of the era's machining techniques when it came to translating ideas from the imaginations of designers into tangible metal works.
Jaguar's period of design intensity would last until the 1970s, at which point the company would scale back operations until it produced only one basic sedan design, the XJ. The XJ had a classic look, and was in fact the final sedan to have benefited from the input of the founding father of the company. For more than 20 years buyers interested in a four-door Jaguar would be forced to choose from one of the many different variations of the XJ, which at times featured 6, 12 and 8-cylinder engines. The design would go on to sport several small evolutionary upgrades in order to make an effort to keep pace with the rapidly changing styling of its competitors, but by and large it was a difficult task to accurately judge the year of a Jaguar XJ based solely on exterior appearance.
Ford's stewardship of Jaguar lead to some important conclusions being drawn about the future profitability of the marque. It was felt that in order to remain even marginally competitive with other luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Jaguar needed to find a way to not only update the XJ in a more meaningful fashion, but also build additional products that could flesh out the company's meager lineup. To do so, Jaguar looked first to the past to see if there were any appealing shapes which could be re-interpreted on a modern canvas. The Jaguar Mark II sedan dating from the mid-1960s was deemed an acceptable candidate, and the original vehicle's look was grafted onto a mid-size platform and named the S-Type in 2000. A few years later, the X-Type compact car would bow onto the scene as Jaguar's very first entry-level vehicle, one which borrowed heavily from the international Ford parts bin in order to keep development costs low.
This article describes the three best used sedans available from the distinguished British brand, and covers the entire spectrum of the Jaguar lineup in order to illustrate to secondhand buyers the benefits of purchasing a used Jaguar automobile.
2000 - 2007 Jaguar S-TYPE
The first new Jaguar model in many years, the S-Type caused a ripple of excitement throughout the industry when it was first unveiled at the end of the 1990s. An example of retro styling done in a reserved and tasteful fashion, the 2000 - 2007 Jaguar S-Type is a dignified vehicle that stands out from the field of luxury competitors through its unique proportions and classic lines. The S-Type at first seems as though it is too small to be a serious contender to the likes of the BMW 5 Series, but from up close it is clear that the vehicle is a true mid-size whose diminutive exterior dimensions easily deceive the eye.
The 2000 - 2007 Jaguar S-Type makes use of the same range of engines afforded to all automobiles in the company's stable. Entry-level buyers make do with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that generates 240 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. A 4.0-liter V-8 represents the next level of S-Type performance, with its 281 horsepower providing a nice upgrade. This engine would be punched out to 4.2-liters and 300 horsepower from 2003 onwards. The very top of the S-Type engine pyramid is reserved for the S-Type R's 400 horsepower supercharged V-8 which also became available in 2003. From 2000 - 2003 each engine was shifted via a 5-speed automatic, which was then upgraded to include an extra forward gear for the remaining production run.
In terms of the interior, Jaguar did an excellent job meeting the expectations of a generation of buyers reared on the intricately assembled XJ passenger compartments. Leather seats and wood trim are up to the high standard that Jaguar has established for themselves, along with a more modern dash and center console design that does not mimic the other vehicles produced by the company but instead carves out new design territory. Interior space is good but rear seat passengers will not find themselves swimming in room.
The 2000 - 2007 Jaguar S-Type is a used sedan with class and style that provides the same power and performance as other premium vehicles at consistently lower price.
2002 - 2007 Jaguar X-Type
When Jaguar announced that they would be releasing a compact sedan, fans of the British automaker collectively held their breath. Upon the further revelation that the vehicle would be based in large part upon a pre-existing Ford platform and not one which had received significant input from Jaguar's engineers, that lungful of air was let loose in a tirade of discontent aimed at both companies for allowing this to happen. However, the vehicle that would emerge from all of the associated brouhaha, the X-Type, would largely silence the dissenting voices.
Powered by either a 2.5-liter, 194 horsepower V-6 or a 227 horsepower 3.0-liter 6-cylinder depending upon the year of the vehicle and its trim level, the 2002 - 2007 Jaguar X-Type sedan is a vehicle worthy of the heritage associated with its brand. The only transmission choice available is for the smaller engine is a 5-speed manual, while the 3.0-liter can be equipped with either the manual or a 5-speed automatic. All X-Types make use of permanent all-wheel drive, the only vehicle in the Jaguar lineup with this feature. The system is biased to send 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels in order to preserve traditional Jaguar driving characteristics.
The passenger compartment of the X-Type is one area where the company could have decided to make only a token effort at matching the design of their other automobiles, but thankfully the baby Jag's interior is a serious effort that stands up well when compared to both the competition and other, more expensive Jaguars. Wood trim of course abounds, and leather seats provide a comfortable resting place for long highway trips. A moonroof, trip computer and Connolly leather are available as options.
The 2002 - 2007 Jaguar X-Type is a comfortable used sedan that is a legitimate contender to the crown of best used compact luxury car.
2004 - 2007 Jaguar XJ
The 2004 - 2007 Jaguar XJ is a serious update of the luxury automaker's flagship sedan. On sale since the 1960's, the XJ has managed to maintain much of its distinctive exterior styling while finally being drawn completely into the 21st century. Notable improvements to the vehicle include the extensive use of aluminum in both the frame and the vehicle's body panels, helping to keep the weight down, and new styling flourishes in the form of chrome and re-designed lights in order to help keep the basic XJ shape visually interesting.
The Jaguar XJ's engines all reflect the best that the company has to offer in terms of power and performance. The base model XJ8 and the stretched Vanden Plas come with an almost 300 horsepower V-8 engine displacing 4.2-liters. The XJR and the extended chassis Super V-8 editions of the car use a supercharger to squeeze out 390 horsepower from the same mill. Each vehicle features a 6-speed automatic transmission and self-leveling air suspension. Other technologies designed to help keep the XJ pointed in a straight line include dynamic stability control and adaptive suspension that can be biased towards either performance or ride comfort.
One of the greatest concerns with the previous generation of XJ was the lack of interior room when compared against vehicles such as the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. This issue has been addressed magnificently with the 2004 - 2007 Jaguar XJ, especially in the extended wheelbase versions of the car which allow rear passengers to actually recline their seats. The XJ has a long list of decadent luxury features, including intricate leather stitching and the use of exotic woods, 12-way adjustable seats, a variety of different premium audio systems and optional four-zone air conditioning. Traditional British features such as rear seat eating trays can also be ordered.
The 2004 - 2007 Jaguar XJ has managed to step into the modern age while retaining the class and style that have helped it define high end luxury for almost 50 years, making it a compelling used sedan for those who are willing to pay the high entry price.