2005 Jaguar S-Type

Written by tonks on December 12, 2006

2005 S-TypeThe brand new Jaguar S-Type recently received a makeover at least one in which Jaguar hopes will bring the consumers to the fold. There’s just one problem: The S-Type didn’t get a total exterior makeover when it got better insides, so whether buyers will notice that the S-Type is actually revised is an unanswered question.

Remember, this car is actually underpinned by the same chassis as the Lincoln LS. But the latter car never had much spirit it’s a perfectly fine automobile executed without a particular aim. Compare it with what General Motors’ Cadillac subsidiary is doing with the STS and there’s simply no contest. But you can’t hang the same faults on the S-Type. This is in some ways what the LS could have been if it had a clear mission. It’s fun to drive, well designed, reasonably practical and looks sharp.

Take the looks first. In the cabin, the creature comforts are plentiful and blessedly uncomplicated. Most of the cars in this price range feature audio and climate controls as well as other buttons and knobs that all require way too much attention to operate. Jaguar remembers its heritage and, instead, gives you a nice, meaty knob for the audio volume control.

If you want to adjust your seat heater, there’s no fumbling with sub-menus on a monitor, even if you do get the optional navigation system. There’s a simple toggle switch and that’s it eyes right back on the road.

Driving this car is also more of a pleasure than its outward mien might suggest. We’ve come to think of the S-Type as a very “grown-up” car one that is, ultimately, more about refinement than sheer verve. But this car is plenty happy to be thrown hard through a set of off-camber S-turns.

Push too hard and the stability system will step in to keep all four tires on the tarmac, but Jaguar clearly didn’t let the lawyers decide on when the traction/throttle-control or braking would come in and prevent you from smoking the tires. This car can be driven hard and it’s plenty of fun.

The main issue is with the steering. This car feels agile, but it doesn’t “communicate” this agility through the wheel. For all of the snobbery we read from British car scribes and their obsession with steering, they don’t seem to be getting the message through on their home turf. The Jag tiller is just too quiet to indicate what the wheels are doing on the blacktop.

Who says that just because you drive a $45,000 car you have to be rich. But back to the question of actually buying this car: We like the S-Type. And we think if more people test-drove this car more would sell. But in a crowded field full of great models, such as the new 5 Series, Cadillac STS, new Lexus GS and new M from Nissan Motor’s Infiniti subsidiary, Jaguar never gets into the argument.


Posted Under: Cool Cars,Jaguar

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