Premium large car; Built in England
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,200 – $11,800*

1995 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas

1996 Jaguar XJ12 LWB

1996 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas LWB

1997 Jaguar XJ6

1997 Jaguar XJ6 L

  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Ride
  • Steering/handling
  • Cargo room
  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy

After buying Jaguar in 1990, Ford Motor Company spent millions of dollars to provide engineering and manufacturing expertise. At the same time, Jaguar was permitted to remain independent in terms of styling and packaging its new sedan along traditional lines. As a result of the change in management, we’ve been impressed by the cars’ performance, ergonomics, and apparent improvements in overall quality. Jaguar definitely has moved up in the luxury-sedan field, coming closer to the leaders. Although that goal hasn’t quite been reached, there’s no question that a Jaguar has more character than many rivals, such as the Lexus LS 400.


Redesigned Jaguar sedans went on sale for 1995, powered by one of three engines. Fresh styling with all-new body panels bore a strong resemblance to sedans from Jaguar’s past. Four rear-drive models went on sale, topped by a performance-oriented XJR with a 322-horsepower supercharged 6-cylinder engine. A heavily revised version of the prior 4.0-liter 6-cylinder engine went into the base XJ6 and plusher Vanden Plas. Jaguar’s 6.0-liter V12 engine went into the flagship XJ12 sedan. All models got 4-speed automatic transmissions. Dual airbags and antilock brakes were standard. So was new electronic variable-assist power steering. The XJR and XJ12 had traction control. A sport suspension was installed on the XJR, with 17-inch tires instead of the usual 16-inch rubber.

Yearly Updates

1996 XJ-Sedan
Rear leg room had been marginal in the redesigned sedans, so Jaguar lengthened the wheelbase of the Vanden Plas and XJ12 by 4.9. Most of the additional length was used to increased leg space for back-seat passengers. Rear head room was about half an inch greater, too. The base XJ6 and supercharged XJR stuck with the original 113-inch wheelbase. Window glass was thicker, and additional sound insulation was installed.
1997 XJ-Sedan
Only 6-cylinder engines went into ’97 models, as the V12 faded into history. A new long-wheelbase XJ6 L stickered for $5000 more than the regular-length XJ6. All sedans got a new contoured rear bench seat and a 3-point center seatbelt (replacing a lap belt). XJ6 and XJ6 L sedans now sported black grille bar, instead of chrome.
1998 XJ-Sedan
For ’98, the XJs get front side airbags and drop their inline six-cylinder engines in favor of new V8s. Base, L, and Vanden Plas models get a dual-cam 290-horsepower V8, while the XJR gets a supercharged version making 370 horsepower. All models also get a new 5-speed automatic transmission.
1999 XJ-Sedan
The only major change to this luxury-sedan lineup were larger front brakes for the XJR.
2000 XJ-Sedan
An ultraluxury Vanden Plas supercharged model joined the XJ lineup, and a satellite navigation system became available. Standard traction control now modulated throttle and brakes, instead of merely varying the throttle to maintain grip. Rain-sensing windshield wipers were new this year. Newly standard on XJR and optional on other models was a 320-watt Alpine stereo, and the XJR got redesigned alloy wheels.
2001 XJ-Sedan
Newly standard for 2001 was Jaguar’s Reverse Park Control that warns of obstacles when backing up. A CD changer became standard for XJ8/XJ8L, the XJR added a heated rear seat, and heated front/rear seats became standard for the Vanden Plas.
2002 XJ Series
The XJ Sport was new for ’02 and essentially combined the base powertrain with the XJR’s 18-inch wheels, sport seats, and body-color exterior trim. Also new was the XJR 100, a limited-edition marking the 1902 birth of Jaguar founder William Lyons; it added exclusive-design 19-inch wheels and special trim. The Super V8 replaced the Vanden Plas Supercharged model and included a touring-tuned version of Jaguar’s computer-controlled suspension. The XJR for ’02 added a standard sport-tuned computer suspension and a navigation system.
2003 XJ Series
Jaguar’s flagship sedans get two new option packages for a shortened 2003 season, the last for their vintage-1994 design. The Super V8 features a softer version of the XJR’s sport-oriented computer-controlled suspension, as well as a navigation system that costs extra in other XJs. A new Sovereign package on the base XJ comes with heated front/rear seats, premium 320-watt audio, and extra leather-and-wood interior trim. Exclusive to XJR is a new R1 Performance option with uprated Brembo-brand brakes and special wheels.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Basic XJ6 sedans used a dual-overhead-cam inline 6-cylinder engine, rated at 245 horsepower. A supercharged variant of that inline six went into the performance-packed XJR, developing 322 horsepower. In 1995-96, the lineup also included a flagship XJ12 with a 313-horsepower V12 engine. All Jaguars had a 4-speed automatic transmission. Then, in 1998, Jaguar dropped the inline six-cylinders in favor of two new dual-cam V8s. Both 4.0-liters in displacement, they made 290 and 370 horsepower–the second with the benefit of a supercharger. Mated to these V8s was a new 5-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/243
Engine HP 245
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 289
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/244
Engine HP 290
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 290
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic



ohc V12
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/365
Engine HP 313
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 353
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Supercharged dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/243
Engine HP 322
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 378
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Supercharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/244
Engine HP 370
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 387
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


Road Test

Original 6-cylinder engine smoother and quieter than predecessor, delivering brisk acceleration from a standing start as well as strong passing power. The V12 isn’t sufficiently stronger to justify its considerably higher price. We averaged just 14.7 mpg in an XJ6 sedan, though much of the driving was rush-hour commuting. Normally-aspirated V8 provides smoothness and power of V12 without expense. Supercharged V8 offers neck-snapping acceleration from all speeds. Test XJ8 averaged 18.5 mpg, including lots of highway driving. Test Vanden Plas averaged 15.5 mpg with more city travel. Test XJRs averaged around 13 mpg. Each engine demands premium gasoline.

Picking an XJR with its supercharged 6- or 8-cylinder engine yields a big performance boost. The “blown” engine responds quickly to the throttle and delivers a smooth, steady power increase. The XJR also has a huskier tone than other models, but is just as refined as its less-vigorous mates. All models offer precise, responsive steering and handle adeptly, with less body lean in turns than previous sedans. Ride comfort has risen, too, as the suspension easily soaks up bumps and provides a stable highway ride.

Because interior dimensions did not change much, space is adequate for four, but five will be squeezed. Tall people sitting up front may have to recline their seatback more than usual to get adequate head room. In fact, they might even have to slouch to clear the roof–not the sort of behavior that’s expected in what is ostensibly a full-size sedan. Tall occupants might also be short on leg room in the back seat–unless they’re in one of the stretched sedans. Instead of crowded, uncomfortable conditions, back-seat riders in an extended-length Jag have room to relax and stretch their legs. Rear doors are much wider on the extended models too, but you still need to duck under the low roof when entering or exiting. The dashboard design could be better. Some controls are mysterious, awkward, or both.

Cargo space isn’t as large as it should be, either. The trunk has a wide, flat floor; but the cargo area ends at the bottom of the rear window. Therefore, you don’t have enough space for a foursome’s golf bags, much less an abundant load of luggage. The same lack of storage space characterized prior Jaguar sedans.


Model Tested: 2001 Jaguar XJ8

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 8
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 9


Controls/Materials - 3
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 3

Total: 52


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.0 197.8 70.8 53.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.1 21.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.2 36.3 41.2 34.7
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
117.9 202.7 70.8 53.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.1 21.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.2 36.8 41.2 39.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Vanden Plas LWB 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 175
Injury 53
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: The company is replacing the 5-speed automatic transmissions whenever they are in the shop for other service due to an unspecified problem that could lead to a failure. (1999)
Dashboard lights
Description: Oil-pressure gauge reads low when energy-saving motor oils are used. (1995)
Dashboard lights
Description: A check-engine light may be caused by a faulty air-injection check valve. (1995)
Hard starting
Description: Hard restarting when the engine has warmed up due to a problem with the fuel-pressure control valve. (1995-96)
Power seat
Description: The power-seat fuse repeatedly blows, so Jaguar suggests replacing the original fuse with one having a 20-amp rating. (1995)
Transmission leak
Description: Transmission fluid leak at dipstick could be due to a blockage of the transmission breather pipe. (1995-01)

Recall History

Description: On a few cars, steering assembly was fitted with incorrect nuts; can result in loss of steering control.
Description: On small number of cars, fine cracks in gear teeth of geartrain inside transmission can result in breakage of teeth; can cause transmission to “lock up” below 15 mph.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

Share this: