What's New for 2002
Jaguar's standard S-Type model comes tinted in three new hues for 2002: Aspen Green, Quartz and Zircon. The car also features a nifty new enhancement with regard to its cupholders: rear cupholders now deploy from the rear-seat cushion, putting them in a more easily accessed position for passengers. The manufacturer tosses performance hounds a tasty new bone with the addition of an S-Type Sport trim level, which comes with a choice of either a 3.0-liter V6 or 4.0-liter V8 engine. Its suspension reflects its performance aspirations; Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) ramps up handling with shock-absorber settings that automatically adjust to reflect road conditions. Additionally, a brand-new shade -- Pacific Blue -- is available only in Sport.
The S-Type's exterior is the first clue that this is no XJ/XK knock-off. The quad headlights and small front grille give the sedan a classic look that harks back to Jaguars of 30-plus years ago. Subtle character lines run down the otherwise smooth body, but some say the roofline and taillight section bear a resemblance to Ford's Taurus.
Inside, the S-Type is pure Jaguar in appearance, with acres of wood and leather covering every surface. However, much of the interior's switchgear is identical to that found in the less expensive Lincoln LS, which rides on the same platform. Despite its smaller exterior size, the S-Type boasts a longer wheelbase than Jaguar's XJ models and interior dimensions on par with its larger sedans. A standard split-folding rear seat further adds to this Jag's utility.
But the S-Type's interior has problems that go beyond the preponderance of Ford switchgear. The overall layout is functional but some serious flaws keep it from living up to what we'd expect from a $50,000 automobile. Items like the shallow and dull woodgrain trim with ash pattern, the insultingly cheap plastic panel beneath the steering column and a one-touch down window for no one but the driver leaves us unimpressed.
Power for the S-Type comes from either Jaguar's 4.0-liter V8 or Ford's 3.0-liter Duratec V6. While the V8 is a slightly less-powerful version of the engine found in Jaguar's XK8, it still makes 281 horsepower and 287 pound-feet of torque. The V6 uses a Ford block while Jaguar's variable-valve-timing heads, intake system and drive-by-wire throttle body top the Blue Oval low-end. These changes add 55 horsepower to the Duratec V6, giving it 240 horsepower and 212 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available in the S-Type.
As with the Lincoln LS, suspension components in the S-Type are primarily forged aluminum. Unlike the Lincoln, however, the Jaguar offers a Sport trim level (building on last year's Sport package) featuring a Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) system that constantly adjusts the car's Bilstein shocks. Buyers who choose the Sport trim also get meaty 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/50R17 tires, body-color (in place of chrome) trim, bolstered seat supports in buttery perforated leather and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A yaw-control system is on tap to keep the S-Type from misbehaving even when the driver does.
Looks notwithstanding, the S-Type is anything but a classic Jaguar, which, for the purposes of mass-market appeal, is not a bad thing.