I you could have one of these new cars -- a Mercedes E320 or a Jaguar XJ8 -- which would you choose?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 2002

Dear Tom and Ray:

If you had a choice between a new Mercedes E320 or a new Jaguar XJ8, and you planned to keep the car for at least 10 years, which would you guys choose, and why? Money is burning a hole in my pocket, and I can't decide without your opinion. -- Cynthia

TOM: Cynthia, you poor thing!

RAY: When you're spending more than $50 grand on a car, you're not going to go too far wrong. There's not much in that price range that's complete junk.

TOM: Jaguar used to be pretty bad in terms of reliability. And ergonomics. But it has improved tremendously in the past 10 years. So it sort of comes down to a question of which attributes do you want the most?

RAY: If you want a real precision-made automobile that's got a firm but comfortable ride, a practical interior and trunk, and mainstream sedan styling, then get the Mercedes.

TOM: If you want more cushy comfort and more elegant, distinctive styling, then get the Jaguar.

RAY: But since the only criterion you mention in your letter is "at least 10 years," I'm going to recommend the Mercedes. While parent company Ford has improved Jaguar quite a bit, it's still not as durable as a Mercedes, in my opinion.

TOM: Mine, too. You might be cursing the Jaguar in years seven, eight, nine and 10.

RAY: So the E320 would be my choice for you, Cynthia. And I'd be inclined to wait until September, when the brand-new E320 is due out. That way, it'll be years before it even starts to look outdated.

TOM: Of course, I have to tell you, Cynthia -- if it were my money, I wouldn't buy either of these cars. I'd buy a Hyundai Elantra GT with leather seats for $14 grand and use the rest to spend a year on the beach in Hawaii.

RAY: He's lying. If it were his money, his wife would buy the Mercedes and he'd spend the year taking the bus.

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