Used Vehicle Review: Jaguar F-Type, 2014-2018

Vehicle Type

Combines cruising comfort with pleasing performance and handling, and […] reasonable on fuel when driven gently.

Performance Coupe/Convertible

History/Description

Jaguar launched the striking F-Type model range in 2013 to plenty of excitement. Replacing the XK in the product portfolio, F-Type was an all-aluminum performance car offered with a luxurious two-seater cabin in coupe or convertible body styles, and with rear- or all-wheel drive.

With competitors like the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, and Dodge Viper in its sights, the F-Type amounted to one of the most beautiful machines available for the money, and offered up plenty of choice.

Feature content included push-button start, available ceramic brakes, premium audio systems, automatic climate control, leather memory seating, navigation, full multimedia connectivity, a back-up camera, and plenty more.

Engines/Trim

Most used models will run a supercharged V6 or V8 engine. The 3.0-litre V6 was available with 340 horsepower as standard, or 380 hp with the “S” designation. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 pushed power output up to 550 horses. Later models offered up a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine for the shopper focussed more on fuel efficiency than all-out output. Though the F-Type was styled to turn heads, the exhaust sound is arguably its most distinctive attribute – thanks to a loud crackle and meaty growl that follows this machine around.

Most models will feature an eight-speed automatic with a lightning-fast paddle-shift mode, though V6-powered rear-drive models were available with a six-speed manual in certain years. The high-output V8 engine was standard with rear-wheel drive early on, though all-wheel drive was later added as standard. If you’re after an AWD-equipped model, shop model year 2016 or newer.

What Owners Like

Many owners report that the F-Type capably combines cruising comfort with pleasing performance and handling, and that the vehicle is reasonable on fuel when driven gently. Notably, ride quality, even over rough roads, doesn’t diminish badly by performance car standards. The cabin is snug but nicely trimmed, and feels luxurious and welcoming. On all aspects of power, performance, handling, balance, and the dynamic “feel”, F-Type seems to have impressed its owners – though many admit this car is an indulgence, and that faster/more powerful options are available for the money.

What Owners Dislike

Gripes include limited trunk space, the lack of a rear seat, the wish for a little more at-hand storage, and the slightly awkward position and throw of the six-speed manual shifter, which may take some getting used to.

Pro Tip: Consumables

Approach any used Jaguar F-Type assuming that it’s in need of new brakes, new tires, and a new clutch (if equipped with the manual transmission), until you or a technician confirms otherwise. Though these machines are designed for hard driving in a motorsports setting, it can cause more rapid wear of consumable parts like the above. Assume the seller would rather you foot the bill for replacements, until you have proof to the contrary.

Pro Tip: Ceramic Breakes

Avoid the ceramic brakes, probably. These expensive brakes were an option that relieved original owners of several thousand dollars, and can be (very) pricey to replace when they eventually wear out. Ceramic brakes are an exotic technology designed for heavy motorsports use – though on public roads, they’re mostly overkill: even an aggressive driver on the street simply won’t generate the levels of heat and strain this braking system is designed to handle, though the cost of replacement parts will still be immense. To help keep more of your money in your pocket for the long term, we recommend avoiding this braking system, unless you’re a track-day veteran who will put the F-Type to regular use.

Here’s Your Test Drive To-Do List

Read This First

Here’s a useful post in a Jaguar F-Type owner forum that seeks to compile commonly reported gripes and problems sourced from a large group of owners. Note that many of the issues reported here are very rare against total sales volume, and that some don’t affect many models. After reading through this list, be sure to plan your test drive and meet-and-greet with any used F-Type candidate with enough time to spend at least 30 minutes inspecting the vehicle’s body, interio,r and electronics, slowly and carefully, before you set off for a test drive.

Battery Problems

Thankfully, the F-Type’s most commonly reported problems are very easy to handle. If anything that runs on electricity in your F-Type is acting strangely, sporadically, or failing to work, don’t panic – you probably just need a new battery.

Battery-related niggles are common in modern performance cars for numerous reasons, including the likelihood that they’re not driven regularly. Accordingly, numerous F-Type owners have reported various frustrations caused by weak or dead batteries – including strange electronics problems, failure of the door locks or windows, failure of the doors to open or latch, failure of the convertible top, random panic alarm activation, and no-start situations. Here’s some more reading.

Here’s how to fend off battery-related issues:

First, plan to hook your F-Type up to a trickle charger when you won’t be driving it for more than a few days. This will help prevent the battery from draining while the vehicle is parked.

Second, have the battery tested before you buy, and if it doesn’t pass the test with flying colours, replace it.

Third, ensure, in no uncertain terms, that all software updates applicable to the specific F-Type you’re considering have been applied by the dealer. Some of these updates can correct issues with ghost battery drain while the vehicle is parked.

Finally, store the remote keyfob far from the vehicle while it’s parked.

Two other notes: remember that a trickle charger will not typically resurrect a weak battery, though it can keep it from dying. Consider having a booster pack charged up and in your F-Type’s trunk at all times, just in case.

Do not underestimate the wide-reaching array of random issues a dead or dying battery can cause with this machine. If in doubt, just replace the battery. If you’re still having problems, a trip to the dealer is in order.

Convertible Motor

Issues with the convertible top in the F-Type, if present, are most likely battery-related – but some owners have reported the need to have the convertible top motor and other provisions replaced to remedy certain problems. Here’s some more reading, and some more, and some more. The gist? If the roof seems to be acting up on the F-Type Convertible you’re considering, be sure to have a dealer investigate. If the battery is healthy and convertible top problems remain, new parts may be needed.

Transmission Problems

If the automatic transmission exhibits any unwanted behaviour (hard shifting, difficulty engaging a certain gear, non-response to paddle-shift requests, failure to shift out of Park), or if you see a warning message indicating “Transmission Fault”, you’ll need a Jaguar dealer to investigate. Many owners have reported issues like these, which most often wind up being corrected by a simple reset or reprogramming of the transmission’s computer brain. This is a common issue with a multitude of transmissions on modern vehicles, and it’s typically electronic, not mechanical, in nature.

A weak or dying battery may also cause problems like those above.

If you experience transmission trouble, schedule an appointment with your local dealer. Do not attempt to solve transmission problems by unplugging and reconnecting the vehicle’s battery. You may wish to have the dealer look up Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) JTB00324NAS1, which provides instructions to technicians to help solve some issues more quickly – in this case, the issue of not being able to take the vehicle out of Park.

Here’s some more reading, and some more.

Connectivity

If you’ll pair a Bluetooth phone with the F-Type you’re considering, be sure to try it on your test drive, make a call, stream some Clapton on the stereo, and have a friend call you, answer said call, and have a little chat. You want to make sure the Bluetooth connection works flawlessly before you buy. If it doesn’t, software updates or a central command system reset may help – though some owners have reported ongoing connectivity issues between the F-Type and certain smartphone operating systems.

Body

Have a walk around the F-Type’s body, inspecting for misaligned panels, damaged paint, mismatched colour, and other trouble signs. Examine the paint just behind each wheel, down low, for signs of wear, and inspect all creases in the bodywork for signs of flaking or peeling paint in these specific areas.

Further, inspect the headlights and taillamps for condensation – a small amount is considered normal and will clear on its own. If condensation is heavy, fails to disappear, or if pooling water is noted in F-Type’s light assemblies, corrective action is required. Also, be sure that the fuel filler cap locks and unlocks with the vehicle door locks.

Under the Hood

Though cooling system problems – reported on earlier versions of the same engines used in the F-Type – didn’t pop up in my research, owners are advised to have the V6 and V8 engines inspected for coolant level and condition, any possible fluid leaks, and the condition of all cooling system plumbing, accessible gaskets, and the water pump, just to be safe.

Other Useful Information

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)

Many F-Type owners strongly recommend that potential shoppers go the CPO route for the purchase of a used F-Type. Though this may involve a bump in price, a used F-Type available through a used CPO program may be the smartest choice. Jaguar CPO models have to meet a higher quality standard than similar units sold privately (or through non-Jaguar dealers), have typically undergone some reconditioning and a rigorous inspection, and may be backed by extended roadside assistance or warranty coverage. Further, with a CPO Jaguar, maintenance, software updates and recalls are more likely already up to date, eliminating some worry and legwork for shoppers.

The Convertible

If you’re set on an F-Type Convertible, be sure to familiarize yourself with any maintenance requirements, adjustments, inspections, care tips, and lubrication procedures outlined in the owner’s manual. Following these on a more-frequently-than-advised basis will help ensure a long and trouble-free/leak-free life from the convertible top.

Supplemental Purchases

Want to spend a few bucks on some accessories and products to help you enjoy your F-Type even more? Consider purchasing a trickle-charger to help keep the F-Type’s battery healthy and prevent possible electronics-related headaches, as well as a protective paint coating and/or transparent protection film to help keep its finish (and resale value) in great shape for years to come. A professional steam-cleaning and treatment of the leather seating surfaces can also help maintain the F-Type’s interior in tip-top shape.

Recalls

Here’s a list of recalls. With the VIN, a dealer can check if there’s any outstanding repair work applicable to the vehicle you’re considering.

Verdict

A used F-Type with a healthy battery seems like a fairly reliable bet in a used sports car loved for beautiful looks and a thrilling but comfortable driving experience.

Crash Test Ratings

N/A

Thankfully, F-Type’s biggest issue might be just its battery. 10/11/2018 6:28:00 AM