While luxury saloons have traditionally been the preserve of premium German brands, the Jaguar XJ has always been a slightly left-field alternative. Although it’s now gone out of production, the XJ is still a worthy contender in its class, thanks to its effortless blend of luxury, performance and distinctly British charm. Could this be the used car for you?
While its predecessors revelled in their retro looks, the latest XJ boasts a svelte, contemporary appearance with a character all of its own.
It’s still very much a Jaguar - with a low, wide stance and a long, imposing bonnet with that iconic big cat badge ensconced in a sporty mesh front grille. Yet, the LED headlamps and tail-lights that top off the XJ’s modish credentials, bring the big Jaguar saloon firmly into the present-day.
What's it like to drive?
The XJ’s low driving position and luxurious interior lends this large car a surprising amount of driver appeal behind the wheel. The XJ boasts plentiful grip from the tyres, beautifully weighted, communicative steering and minimal amounts of body roll in the corners.
Its ride may be on the firm side, but this ensures a confidence-inspiring, planted feel. This is a supremely comfortable, refined car that makes light work of long-distance motorway cruising, yet is still up for fast B-road blasts.
When it comes to driving dynamics, it’s pretty safe to say that the XJ beats its German rivals hands down.
The XJ’s 300hp 3.0-litre diesel engine, combined with the car’s lightweight aluminium construction, means there’s heaps of power for any driving conditions. From high-speed overtaking manoeuvres to mile-munching continental road trips, it won’t let you down.
This is a supremely comfortable, refined car that makes light work of long-distance motorway cruising.
The interior of the Jaguar XJ is an exceedingly pleasant place to be. The low seating position and cockpit-like driving environment give you an idea of the XJ’s sporting intent from the moment you slip behind the wheel. Thanks to a wide range of adjustment for both the seat and the steering wheel, getting comfortable once you’re there is a simple task.
All-round visibility is excellent, considering the size of the car. There’s a generous roster of standard equipment as well. From 2016 on, all XJs feature Jaguar’s InControl Pro infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and a secondary digital display on the dashboard, as well as climate control, electrically adjustable seats, onboard sat-nav and a panoramic sunroof.
Higher spec Portfolio versions include an upgraded Meridian stereo, a DAB radio and a larger touchscreen, while R-Sport models get sports seats, a special R-Sport steering wheel and slick piano black trim. The range-topping, long-wheelbase Autobiography version, meanwhile, includes quilted leather seats with contrasting stitching, a leather headliner and lavish oak inlay veneers. It’s probably nicer in here than your living room.
There’s no arguing with the quality of the XJ’s cabin. Interior materials are all tactile and beautifully made, with leather covering the dashboard and centre console, as well as the supremely comfortable seats. Buttons and switchgear feel engineered to last, while even the air vents are made of solid metal – a pleasing premium touch.
Given the XJ’s size, it should come as no surprise that front and rear seat occupants are spoiled for interior space. There’s plenty of front and rear leg and headroom in the short-wheelbase version, while the long-wheelbase car offers the full limousine experience to back-seat passengers. Rear headroom is slightly impeded by the XJ’s sloping roofline. This should only be a minor inconvenience for adults over 6-feet tall – make your rugby teammates walk home.
While the XJ’s boot capacity isn’t class-leading, there’s plenty of room for several mid-sized suitcases back there. The rear three-seat bench can also be folded down to take more luggage if necessary, although cars with the optional electrically adjustable individual rear armchairs lack this practical function.
Interior storage is, as you would expect, also impressive, with a large glovebox, centre console cubbies and large door bins standard across the range.
Reliability and running costs
The Jaguar XJ’s 3.0-litre diesel engine returns 37.9mpg, which is fairly impressive when you consider the size of the car it has to move around. While some of its key competitors are able to deliver slightly better fuel economy figures, we reckon the odd mile per gallon here or there isn’t going to overly concern the majority of luxury executive saloon owners.
Jaguar has had its fair share of reliability issues in the past, but the brand has worked hard to rectify its reputation over the years, so we don’t foresee any major problems with XJ ownership. The big Jaguar is now discontinued, but in recent driver satisfaction surveys, it finished ahead of its major rivals when it came to build quality and dependability. For extra peace of mind, consider cinchCare.
What we love
We love pretty much everything about the Jaguar XJ, especially its opulent interior. You get a luxurious limousine-style cruiser with serious performance saloon credentials. We’re equally enamoured with its range of safety equipment, which includes eight airbags, electronic stability control and a bonnet that pops up to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision.
Many cars were also specified from new with optional high-tech safety features including all-surface progress control, traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and reverse traffic detection.
Still looking for the one?
Use our comparison tool to find the car for you
Although the Jaguar XJ is no longer in production, its unique character, stylish looks, class-leading performance and luxuriously appointed interior still make it a more than compelling proposition in the premium executive saloon market.
This review was