Review: Jaguar XJ (2010 – 2019)
A characterful alternative to the go-to German luxury saloons and far more engaging to drive. Diesel offers low emissions and tax but is very strong. Excellent overall refinement.
Not as much rear space as you might expect. Some inconsistency in cabin quality. Doesn’t always feel head and shoulders above the Jaguar XF.
Jaguar XJ (2010 – 2019): At A Glance
- New prices start from £62,360
- Contract hire deals from £579.34 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 48–50
- On average it achieves 94% of the official MPG figure
The Jaguar XJ is a classy British luxury saloon that encapsulates the best that modern Jaguar has to offer. It’s the company’s flagship large limo, which in theory should bring together everything that’s great about Jaguar today.
And it does, almost. What’s not in doubt is that the XJ model has moved onwards and upwards, ditching the evolutionary design approach repeated generation after generation since the 1960s. The bold design will alienate some traditionalists, but it’s unique and modern.
The result is that today’s XJ is made more in the mould of a big sports saloon than an out-and-out limousine. That puts it on ground somewhere between the cosseting Mercedes S-Class or Audi A8 on one side, and more dynamic saloons like the Maserati Quattroporte or Porsche Panamera on the other.
It's ground that naturally means some compromise, but Jaguar has generally got the balance spot on. The XJ drives like a sports saloon, with a compact-feeling cockpit and genuine sharpness, yet most of the time it goes about its business with the unfussy calmness and quiet you’d expect of a limo.
It’s not quite perfection however. This being a British car, many of the flaws may be written off as ‘character’, but the fact remains that when it comes to outright space, quality and technology, the XJ falls a little short of the aforementioned German limos.
The air vents, for example, are cheap-looking shiny plastic domes set incongruously into a beautiful soft leather dashboard, while the touchscreen multimedia interface has a relatively small, low-resolution screen – although it does boast amazing ‘twin view’ technology that allows the front passenger and driver to view different things at the same time.
Taller drivers and rear seat passengers will be left wanting for both head- and legroom, which in this class is troubling. Especially as the long wheelbase (LWB) version seems to share the standard version’s space deficiency, despite offering 125mm more rear legroom. That said, Jaguar did increase rear headroom for 2014 model year LWB models and introduce twin ‘airline’ style seats.
In late 2013 Jaguar updated the XJ with more engines for the 2014 model year, so the range comprises three petrol units and a 3.0-litre V6 diesel offering 44.8mpg and 159g/km CO2. At the top end of the spectrum, the 550PS 5.0-litre supercharged V8 XJR returns 24.4mpg, but hits 62mph in just 4.6 seconds.
Additionally, 2014 saw Jaguar introduce all-wheel drive to the XJ range, available only with the 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, as well as fuel-saving start/stop technology and a more efficient eight-speed automatic gearbox across the board.
What does a Jaguar XJ (2010 – 2019) cost?
Jaguar XJ (2010 – 2019): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 478–520 litres
The XJ drives in much sharper fashion than could be expected for a limo, but the downside for some is that the driver can feel a little hemmed in – Jaguar has made the driving position low and snug. It’s very comfortable though – the seats are built for comfort rather than speed – but taller drivers may find that the windscreen pillar feels a little too close.
That said, the fact that the centre console and elbow rest on the driver’s door are both at exactly the same height – making for an armchair-like experience – is just one example of the ergonomic detail that makes the XJ very comforting to drive
Most of the cabin is a haptic joy and a pleasure to look at – the soft leather that covers the steering wheel and cockpit, the rotary metal drive selector, the soft blue-green backlighting and the styling that drops the dashboard down against a semi-circular band of wood or gloss black trim. It’s all lovely.
Those long wheelbase XL models purchased for chauffeuring purposes can benefit from twin rear airline chairs with a massage function, new with the 2014 update. In addition, a new feature picks up the occupants’ voices with discreet overhead microphones and feeds them through the audio – designed to make voices clearer. In practice however, clever as it is, he ‘Conversation Assistant’ tends to randomly pick up portions of in-car chat, resulting in spooky volume spikes.
In keeping with the very modern flavor of the cabin, the XJ ditches traditional analogue driver instrumentation In favour of a high definition ‘virtual instrument’ screen behind the steering wheel. Despite displaying a fairly traditional looking speedometer, its dynamic setup adapts to display whatever information the driver wants. When the car’s adaptable chassis is set to Dynamic Mode, for example, the virtual dials glow red.
The display of the central infotainment screen is less impressive, which despite being upgraded with higher definition in 2014 is still a little on the small side, even compared to those of some newer family hatchbacks. It’s intuitive to operate, though, and the twin-view feature is both novel and actually useful.
On the infotainment front, Jaguar’s deal with top-end audio system manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins means that, for a premium, the XJ can be fitted with one of the richest sounding stereos in the business.
Passengers also get the benefit of options like four-zone climate control and a handful of features that show Jaguar was really thinking about comfort when developing this car - an electric rear sunblind, a rear seat massage function in LWB versions, fold-out tables, rear entertainment screens with wireless headphones, and even soft-close doors designed to make minimum noise when shutting.
Equipment (from September 2013):
Luxury 3.0 V6 Diesel is the entry-level XJ but is very well equipped, including an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual paddle shifters, Jaguar Drive Control with three modes, DSC (Dynamic Stability Control with three setting levels), an electric parking brake, cruise control, rain sensing windscreen wipers, automatic xenon headlamps, LED tail lamps, acoustic laminated glass, metallic paint, 19-inch Aleutian alloy wheels (with 18-inch wheels a no cost option), keyless start, a power boot lid with customisable height adjustment, soft-close doors, rear parking sensors, electric windows, a panoramic glass roof, electric adjustment on the steering column, white and phosphor blue halo illumination and interior mood lighting, dual-zone climate control, three-spoke soft grain leather steering wheel with sequential shift paddles and remote controls for audio system, cruise control, Bluetooth, leather heated front seats with electric driver's/passenger's adjustment (10 x 8 way), 12.3-inch full colour LCD instrument cluster with virtual information display, 400W sound system with radio, single slot CD/DVD player, MP3 disc compatibility, hard disk drive (HDD) for audio files and a navigation system with HDD mapping.
Premium Luxury 3.0 V6 Diesel adds 19-inch Toba alloy wheels, front parking sensors, keyless entry, soft grain leather stitched and tailored upper fascia, door top roll and armrest, heated rear seats and a 600W premium sound system with 14 speakers including two subwoofers and two front door woofers.
Portfolio 3.0 V6 Diesel and 5.0 V8 get adaptive front lighting with cornering lights, 20-inch Kasuga alloy wheels, a rear parking camera, a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), four-zone climate control, suedecloth premium headlining, a premium carpet mat set, heated and cooled front seats with 20 x 20 way electrical adjustment plus a front massage function and adjustable bolster, heated and cooled rear seats, a gloss figured ebony veneer, a Bowers & Wilkins 1200W premium sound system with a remote power amplifier and 20 speakers including two subwoofers and two front door woofers, plus a multimedia system with front Dual View functionality and one set of headphones.
Supersport 5.0 V8 S/C gets 20-inch Mataiva alloy wheels, an active differential, illuminated air vents front and rear, leather headlining, Supersport Semi Aniline leather seats that are heated and cooled, a multimedia system with front digital/analogue television tuner and rear seat entertainment which includes dual 8-inch LCD screens (mounted in rear of front headrests), touchscreen remote control and wireless digital headphones.
XJR became the top-of-the-range XJ for the 2014 model year, and adds a sports body kit, road- and driver-monitoring adaptive dynamics, 20-inch Farallon grey alloy wheels, R-branded sports seats, contrasting coloured dashboard stitching, suede headlining and piano black dashboard veneer.
Long Wheelbase (LWB) models add illuminated rear vanity mirrors, auto four zone climate control, rear privacy glass, rear electric blinds and side window blinds.
Child seats that fit a Jaguar XJ (2010 – 2019)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Jaguar XJ (2010 – 2019) like to drive?
The XJ belies its size by driving a lot like a compact sports saloon. It’s well balanced and sharp, with confidence-inspiring steering feel that’s simultaneously light around town but accurate at higher speeds. Given its comfort-oriented setup, the distinct lack of body roll during cornering is impressive too.
The 275PS 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that goes into the majority of XJs is as quiet as can be, but has mountains of power and a lovely muted thrum when pushed – it doesn’t feel like an entry-level product, especially when pulling from low revs, thanks to 600Nm of torque from just 2,000rpm. It hits 62mph from rest in just six seconds and goes onto 155mph.
The 3.0-litre petrol is smoother still than the diesel and has more power, but loses out on torque with a 150Nm deficiency that peaks 1500rpm higher. That makes it slightly harder work to get the best from, giving it a less flexible feel around town, while being less suited to mid-speed overtaking moves.
But making hard work of accelerating isn’t an accusation that can be leveled at the 5.0-litre V8 petrol versions. Both the 510PS Supersport and 550PS XJR models boast more torque than the diesel, combined with huge top-end power. This means they are effortlessly rapid thanks to the fact they're supercharged, though they’re beautifully refined with it. The power never overwhelms the XJ’s relatively lightweight, aluminium-dense chassis.
The 2014 update saw Jaguar ditch the XJ's six-speed automatic gearbox in favour of an eight-speed unit, which not only improves economy but also comes governed by clever software that monitors your driving style and reacts accordingly. If it senses a more aggressive driving style, for example, it holds onto gears for longer. It’s an extremely smooth shifting gearbox and paddle shifters are standard for manual changes when drivers want more involvement.
A particular surprise is that the long wheelbase versions, called XJL, feel just as sharp and compact from the driver’s seat as the standard car, with the same smooth low speed ride quality. In 2014 Jaguar revised the rear suspension of the XJL models to improve their already Prime Ministerial ride quality further, in fact.
However, with higher spec versions of the XJ – called Portfolio – coming on 20-inch wheels as standard (275/35 ZR20), they do suffer from a little more judder around town than those cars on smaller 18- or 19-inch wheels.
|3.0||31 mpg||5.9 s||211 g/km|
|3.0 Supercharged||29–31 mpg||5.9 s||211–224 g/km|
|3.0 Supercharged LWB||29–31 mpg||5.9 s||211–224 g/km|
|3.0d||40–46 mpg||6.2–6.4 s||149–185 g/km|
|3.0d LWB||40 mpg||6.2 s||149–185 g/km|
|5.0 V8||25 mpg||5.7 s||264 g/km|
|5.0 V8 LWB||25 mpg||5.7 s||264 g/km|
|5.0 V8 Supercharged||23–26 mpg||4.6–5.7 s||264–289 g/km|
|5.0 V8 Supercharged LWB||23–26 mpg||4.9–5.7 s||264–289 g/km|
|5.0 V8 Supercharged XJR||24–26 mpg||4.4–4.9 s||264–270 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Jaguar XJ (2010 – 2019)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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