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Jaguar XJ Review: Long-term Jaguar XJ departs

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Our long term Jaguar XJ goes home

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

It seems only five minutes since we wrote that our long-term Jaguar XJ would be here until ‘… the leaves are coming back on the trees in the Spring’. And here we are – officially in Spring – and the trees are in bud and our XJ has gone. A five month Jaguar XJ Review done and dusted.

Five months with the new Jaguar XJ has been an education. An education in how to build a big, luxury car that is real fun to drive. Real fun to drive even with a diesel engine. It almost beggars belief how good the XJ has been.

It has a delicacy about it that belies its size. The steering makes every other luxury car seem vague and indirect. Its ability to turn from boulevardier to B-road blaster with nothing more than a nonchalant flick of your right foot is truly addictive.

The delicious purr of the silky smooth V6 diesel (that should be an oxymoronic statement, if ever there was), a diesel engine that bests the best, eggs you on to give the big Jag its head. And it is a proper head of performance too, with 60mph coming up in just six seconds.

We used the performance, and the enticing grip and handling, to the full at every opportunity. No journey was complete without seeking out a B-road to blat along, no matter how long we’d been behind the wheel.

Despite the inability to resist the temptation of the XJ’s performance we averaged over 34mpg in the five months the XJ was with us. Any normal motorway journey of any length saw 42mpg and a sensible, law abiding journey by dual carriageway saw us average nearly 49mpg. Ridiculous figures for a big, powerful, luxury saloon car.

But it’s not just the way the XJ performs that’s impressed; its 21st century Jaguar interior has too. Properly supportive, hugely adjustable seats that warm and cool and massage; light and airy thanks to the big glass roof and filled with every toy to please the gadget lover. And stunning sound from the Bowers and Wilkins.

Still, there were a few niggles. Visibility out back is awful – the price you pay for the swoopy-coupe design that’s brought the XJ in from the designer cold.

The boot’s not as big as we would like and back seat leg room is properly poor for such a big car (cured by opting for the LWB, of course). Oh, and the blind-spot monitor is better at telling you you’ve just passed a hedge than anything else and the chrome on the centre console scratches too easily

What would we change? Well, we can live with the poor visibility out back, but we’d like to see the rear view camera pop up on the dash at the press of a button so you can clock tailgaters. The touchscreen works a treat once you have the knack, but first-time users find the latency irritatingly prolonged.

We’d also like the bum warmers (and the hand warmers on the steering wheel) to be quicker to heat up. Or that could just be a reaction to the freezing December. And that’s it. Really, we can’t think of anything else.

By the time the XJ went back it had covered more than 15,000 miles and hadn’t missed a beat. Wet and dry; cold and colder; snow, frost, ice, fog, torrential rain, blizzards. Four drivers. Every county from the Home Counties to the Borders (almost). Not so much as a blown bulb. No glitches. No tantrums. It has been faultless.

Which is very rare indeed.

By Cars UK