Why Jaguar’s Suck

Both my parents drive Jaguars. A ’98 XJS and a ’99 Vanden Plas. I really dislike these cars.


  • The seating is way too low, so that you feel like you are in one of those two inch tall beach chairs.
  • The accelerator pedal is situated so that you have to point your toe in order to depress it all the way.
  • The radio is very difficult to operate with way too many buttons that do way too little.
  • The clock is very difficult to read. It’s too small, the hands don’t have high contrast against the backing in day or night. The hands are mirrored which would be tough enough if the hours weren’t demarcated by mirrored bars.
  • The chair is difficult to adjust properly. The controls aren’t intuitive. At it’s best, the seat remains moderately uncomfortable to me.
  • There isn’t much headroom.
  • Heat is slow to come up.
  • Regular maintenance is very expensive. The “regular” 40,000 mile dealer service cost $400 (no expensive parts (timing belt, battery, etc) were replaced!)
  • It vapor-locks like a mother fucker. If you start the car, move it 10 feet and shut it off, it sometimes will refuse to start for 24 hours. When this happened to us, the dealer was consulted and told us that this was a common vapor lock problem.
  • If you leave the the air conditioner on “automatic” during the summer it starts blowing on full blast too soon after starting. It’ll burn your face with hot air and numb your ears with a noisy full blast fan before letting you settle in.
  • With the air conditioning set to “automatic”, it seems that the A/C compressor runs even in the wintertime, drying out the air even more (the lights indicate this but I’m not sure the compressor is actually running)
  • The Vanden Plas has folding tray tables (as in “please put your seat and tray tables in their upright position…) in the back seat. That’s kind of cool. Unfortunately, the tray table is a mirror-smooth surface with no edge-lip so that anything placed upon it is bound for the floor in seconds.
  • The buttons that control the windows don’t offer enough tactile feedback. You have to look at them to know which window you’re about to open or close.
  • You can’t open the window a crack. The power window system interprets you pushing the button for a 1/4 second or less as a command to open the window all the way.
  • If you floor the accelerator, the ABS brakes sometimes kick in because it thinks you’re slipping. But you’re not.
  • If you try to start the car before it’s “ready” (the seat and mirrors adjust themselves to each driver) the key won’t turn. You have to turn the key all the way back off and wait until it’s good and ready.
  • The cruise-control buttons are situated very strangely.
  • The center armrest is too high. Only someone who is 6’10” with no head and midget arms could actually lean his elbow on it.
    The door armrest isn’t quite as high but is bad too. The armrests aren’t at a similar height.
  • It only has one windshield wiper. It does a fine job of cleaning the center of the windshield but misses the right and left sides. This creates a large blind spot between the 10 and 11 o’clock position in front of the driver during inclement weather.
  • The windshield wiper fluid comes out poorly. The stuff is sprayed out from the middle of the wiper, down toward the front of the car. This of course leaves the entire upper half of the windshield untouched by fluid.
  • The windshield wipers are a non-standard 17 1/2 inches. The regular $3 replacements come in whole-inch sizes only. Factory authorized, Jaguar-blessed 17 1/2″ replacements cost around $20. Watch out, the books in auto centers claim to have the right size, but don’t.
  • The cup holders suck. No really. The front ones are just in front of the driver’s arm-rest which means a cup-laden vehicle prohibits the driver from moving his right elbow past the width of his right shoulder without a spill. The cup holders are too shallow and flimsy. Many cups and mugs have flipped out of this holder during turns and stops. The rear cup holders aren’t flimsy but they’re too shallow and shaped perfectly to hold an ice cream cone with the bottom cut off. This shape doesn’t hold a CUP snugly.
  • It’ll set you back $65,000. Monthly lease payments on one of these things costs twice as much as most loan payments. And at the end of the lease, you’ve got nuffum.
  • 17 MPG city, 24 highway. Premium gas only.
  • People call it “Jag-ee-wahr”. That reminds me of pretentious people that use the word “utilize” when they should be saying “use”.
  • No user serviceable parts. Open up the hood and you won’t find an internal combustion engine, you’ll find… something else (I suppose on some toolie/techy/gee-wiz level, this comment should be in the Pro category).
  • Not much interior space. It’s 17 feet long and almost 6 feet across, so where is all the interior space? Sure, it’s comfortable, but it isn’t “roomy” by any accounts. The trunk looks huge from the outside but it houses a spare tire and the mother of all car batteries in the false-bottom floor.
  • When you start it up, the exhaust reeks of unburned gas.
  • You can’t use the car keys to open packages because they are cylindrical and have no sharp edges.
  • A few days ago (on 4-2-04), I put it in Park while I was stopped at a traffic light and it refused to go back into Drive until I shut the car off and restarted it, twice.


  • Powerful headlights
  • Excellent acceleration
  • Quiet interior

If you think the Cons outweigh the Pros, buy one. Just stay away from me.


  1. nick says:

    You poor bastard. So spoiled. But really…it’s clear you’re just trying to be cute, or you’ve gotten hold of a couple of really wierd cars. I’ve been lucky to have taken advantage of the “old time impression” of Jaguars – that they are not reliable and don’t hold their value (true of Jags before Ford took them over), and have gotten a 97 XJ6 and a 98 XJR for less than 15K dollars each. Both wonderful cars! The R is scarey fast, and the 97 is lusheous. So sorry for your parent’s cars, or your attempt to be clever at putting them down (you need practice at being critical and credible at the same time). No offense. Grow up and buy your own car. Preferably a Ford.

  2. Lee says:

    Thanks for the comment.. I wish I was joking. Heck, whenever I’m in town, I have to drive one of them. Alas, I just looked over the list and recalled how true every thing on the list was. I’m just too practical a guy for the car.

    I drive a ’98 Chrysler Sebring convertable, bought new off the lot. I love the car greatly. It’s got everything in the right places, right down to well placed interior lighting. My only dislikes are the interior noise (it’s a convertable), slightly sloppy steering (it’s American made, not built for the Autobaun), and that it has less acceleration than the Jaguar (though it cost $20k, new).

    I honestly and for true don’t like either of my folks’ Jags

  3. Scott says:

    I have a 96 vanden plas – great car, and bought it for less than 10K. I know what you mean about the head room – I solve this by tilting the seat back on an incline, which suits me fine. I also agree with your comment about the defective cup holders – oh well! As far as expensive regular maintenance – wealthy people are going to pay a lot to bring it to a jag dealer. Regular people either do the work themselves, or find a good independent mechanic. I have found one, and my maintenance is no more expensive than it is for our 2000 golf or 1986 chevy. Everything else that you mentioned seems to either be 1) over-analyzing, or 2) rare issues with your specific cars. I’m sure you would admit that your “Pros” category was far from objective. Someone who loves jaguars, like myself, could fill up a large list of Pros that trump the small list of Cons. Some of the big pros are: tremendous acceleration for a full size sedan (0-60 in about 6 sec. in the Sport gear), and a timeless body style that stands out in a world full of Camrys and Civics. My jag is also a very smooth ride – great transmission and suspension, feels like you’re going 50 when you’re going 100mph. I also own a 1986 sovereign (before the Ford years) – this one needs more TLC, but it’s a lot of fun.
    I guess we’re all entitled to our opinion – personally, I would rather have a rusted out 89 jaguar than a brand new Sebring – but hey, if we were all the same, this would be a pretty boring world. Hopefully you’ve inherited a little of your parents good taste.

  4. […] enough Jaguar-bashing. Although American Jaguar dealers have expressed concerns about brand dilution if the luxury car […]

  5. JagOwner2 says:

    I have a 98 VDP and after tonight I HATE JAG FOR LIFE. There is ALWAYS something going wrong with my car. Once you think you have it fixed, some stupid issue comes from nowhere. I won’t even get into having the dealer replace an engine on their dime for screwing something up after the last maintenance. The clock light went out, the fuel guage stopped working leaving me stranded, the door handle broke, there is some issue with the transmission shifting into 4th. I could go on and on. These cars are priced in the pits for GOOD REASON! STAY AWAY!

  6. 98VDPJagOwner says:

    I agree with JAGOwner2….I also have a 98 VDP I have grown to HATE it. There is ALWAYS something going wrong with my car also…” Once you think you have it fixed, some stupid issue comes from nowhere.”

    The flimsey cupholder caused a drink to spill all over the radio, now the radio no longer works. DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY BUYING THIS CRAP!!!

  7. steve says:

    I like my 95 xj12 but today the stupid door handle broke and the door won’t open from the outside or the inside. Not thrilled about 10 mpg either but with 12 cylinders what can you expect. Love the power though.

  8. Joseph says:

    To all consumers or Jaguar or other Ford products: Direct e-mail addresses for executives and other employees are the initial of the first name followed by the last name and sometimes a 1 and it is at Ford.com or Jaguar.com…. example would be SVP of Ford which is David G. Leitch… it would be dleitch@ford.com or dleitch1@ford.com sometimes the last number is more than one so you can shoot an email to many different combinations and one of them will wind up in the correct spot… if it is Jaguar then it is at Jaguar.com… very simple way to skip the helpless customer service reps…the executives are helpless too but if they are bombarded by emails then they might try to find a way to stop it all. Good Luck! Here is also the fax to the executive suites (313)594-1593 & (313)845-0220

  9. sonny says:

    Hey ya’ll,
    I couldn’t help but make a comment here. I currently own a 98’XK8 coupe and I love it. It is a bit low to the ground, but so is my Corvette.
    It has wicked power and beautiful lines. Everywhere I go people stare and complement the timeless beauty of this car. So, I guess if you want to be a JAG hater you go right ahead, but JAPAN ain’t got nothing on merry ole’ England…later.

  10. Lee says:

    I have 174,000 miles on my 95 XJ6 — motor and trans are bomb-proof and the leather interior is resilient (I let the kids eat french fries, etc) — seat memory/clock/ etc not so hot — I’ve never had so many nit-picky things wrong with a car that I JUST LOVE! Really — the 95/96/97 were the good ones — I want another one.

  11. Cars for sale says:

    Clearly you purchased one of the worst jaguars there is and to be honest i really do feel for you. My father has had a jaguar for some time now and it hasn’t looked, smelt, drove and different than when he first got it many years ago. Obviously this is a matter of maintenance that you have to keep on top of with any car that you have.

  12. Givi M says:

    You are tryng to be smart, or you are just a tasteless freak, Jags do not suck, you do!

  13. lee says:

    It’s spelled “trying”.

  14. John says:

    My first car was an ´89 Vanden Plas. Gradually, every minor malfunction that could happen did: rear power windows stopped working, electronic locks stopped working, windshield wiper, etc. Car also had a habit of shutting off every time I hit a bump, usually on the freeway. Finally sold it after every single door independently stopped opening.

  15. Peter says:

    I had 8 xj ,since 1999,and this last facelift 2007 xj8 4,2 liter,since february when I baught it the rack and pinions was loose,it took the dealership 2 month top diagnosed it,then i got an appoitment 35 days alter to fix it,but the part was not in stock,actually it was in stock in UK but jag france had their echeances and could not pay for the repair even if I was under constructor warranty,they let me drive it 90 days like this until the column was weak,same thiung BO back order not in stock,,,it is now 5 months and 20 000 km that i drove it being weak,it has been a long and terrible nightmare,i use to be passionate,and i am to hire an expert and probably going to court to resolve the issues,i spent 47 000 euros in this vehicule and like i said i will have done better getting robbed! bandit are more loyal than jaguars cars!!!!!! and i spent 300 000 with them in 11 years! and service up to $6000 not $400 lol….no joke! jaguars really sucks like HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Leave a Comment

Do not write "http://" in your comment, it will be blocked. It may take a few days for me to manually approve your first comment.

You can edit your comment after submitting it.