Last Chance To Buy: Jaguar S-Type

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Indy Lifestyle Online

When is it going?

There is a 2004 S-type, although an observer might be hard pushed to tell the difference between the old and new. Essentially there is a mid-life makeover which sees a restyled body for, as Jaguar puts it, a more muscular look, a revamped interior, aluminium panels and sportier suspension. That means there are old-style S-Types to be shifted.

What's good about it?

It's an executive car that isn't German. After the sober styling (new BMW 5 excepted) of the market leaders, the S-Type makes a nice change. Some may think the design is a pastiche of the classic 1960s Mark 2, but it does stand out from the company car-park crowd. There are four engines from V6 to V8 and a supercharged version. The 400bhp R is seriously rapid -- an impressive drive with good handling.

What's bad about it?

Not a lot, although the styling does not have the grace of previous models. The cabin is well-organised, although there are some suspect plastics, plus the centre console can be confusing. Drivers complain of wind noise on the motorway. Biggest gripe is the lack of space. You can fit four inside, but it looks tight, and anyone over average height will find their head brushing the roof. Five is near- impossible while the likelihood of getting all the luggage in the back is remote. The boot won't take bulky loads and access is also restricted.

How much?

Jaguar dealers can be sniffy about discounts, but car supermarkets have them. Motorhouse 2000 have a 2.5 V6 Sport automatic at £24,499 (usually £29,200) and newcarbrokers.co.uk a 2.5 V6 at £23,094 (£25,550). DC Cook Direct (0870 6064343) have the 2.5 V6 model at £22,795, but a 3.0 V6 SE is £28,695, down from £32,000.

Any snags?

There were build-quality issues with early models. Gearboxes sometimes needed reprogrammed software and the electronic parking brake could behave erratically. Water leaks in the boot and failing electric windows were other niggles.

FACT FILE

Launched: 1998

Engines: 2.5 V6, 3.0 V6, 4.0 V6, 4.2 V6

Performance: 3.0 V6, 0-60 in 7.5 secs, 145mph

Economy: 3.0 V6, 26mpg

NCAP safety: Not crash-tested, but side and curtain airbags, head restraints, ABS, and traction control

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