2013 Jaguar XJ Review

2013 Jaguar XJ - The 2013 Jaguar XJ is a plush, sexy alternative to rival upscale sedans.


Prices: $73,200-$119,100

The Jaguar XJ sedan long has been among Jaguar’s most venerable and popular models. It has never caught up with such heady rivals as BMW or Mercedes, but is a good alternative to sporty, elegant upscale sedans—foreign or domestic.

I drove a 2013 XJ sedan in December, 2013.  The 2014 model year officially began in October, 2013, but never mind because the 2014 XJ is virtually identical to the 2013 model. You thus might be able to get a pretty good deal on a 2013 XJ. 

The 2013 XJ got an available all-wheel drive (AWD) system for the first time, which is offered if you order its new supercharged 3-liter 340-horsepower V-6, which has a neck-snapping 332 pound-feet of torque.

For my money the strong, smooth V-6 in the XJ is virtually as good as the costlier 5-liter 385-horsepower V-8. And the V-6 gets better fuel economy to boot. The 0-60 m.p.h. time with the V-6 and rear drive are conservatively estimated by Jaguar at 5.7 seconds and at 6.1 seconds with AWD.

The sophisticated V-6 has lots of punch in the city and on highways because its equipment includes direct fuel injection and twin vortex superchargers with dual intercoolers.

Whatever the engine, power is transmitted though a thoroughly modern eight-speed automatic transmission with a decent manual-shift feature.

The XJ V-6’s estimated economy figures are a decent 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on highways with the standard rear-drive XJ V-6, despite the fact that all XJs top 4,000 pounds. The figures are 16 and 24 with AWD.

Prices for the XJ V-6 range from $73,200 to $83,700. With a V-8, XJs go from $81,200 to $119,100. Jaguar supplied no price/option sticker with my test car, but I found that I drove the $83,700 XJL upscale “Portfolio” all-wheel-drive version with the V-6.

The “L” in my test car’s designation stands for long wheelbase, which translates to  almost limo-style rear-seat room. The regular XJ V-6’s wheelbase and overall length are, respectively, 119.4 inch and 201.9 inches. The long-wheelbase version has a 124.3-inch wheelbase and is 206.8 inches long. The long-wheelbase version adds $3,500 to the price of the $73,200 regular-wheelbase V-6 model.

That’s quite a difference, although you really can’t tell the “L” version is longer by just casually glancing at it. Both XJs have the same sleek, sexy styling. Such styling helped sell lots of Jaguars—even in the automaker’s dark old days when they weren’t the most reliable things around.

Jaguar gave the XJ wide front and rear door openings for easy entry and exit. The comfortable front seats provide good lateral support in curves and during sharp turns. And the large rear seats are nicely shaped for long-distance comfort, although the stiff center area is best left for the fold-down armrest, which contains dual cupholders.

The ultramodern backlit gauges can be quickly read, and the small console rotary shifter is easy to use. But the complex dashboard touch screen leaves something to be desired for quick selection of the climate, audio and navigation systems. At least there’s a conventional on-off knob for the audio system.

Maintaining Jaguar’s XJ tradition, the whisper-quiet interior is plush, with genuine wood trim, lots of leather and many chrome details. Cabin storage areas include pockets in all doors and a covered front console bin. Small, but nifty, touches include a cover for each of the two front console cupholders.

The XJ acts much like a big sports car. Its steering is quick and nicely weighted, the handling is admirable (the V-6 offers better handling than the heavier V-8) and the ride is smooth. The brake pedal has a nice progressive action, and the car stops surely and quickly.

The lid for the deep-but-shallow luggage compartment is opened with twin enclosed manual hinges, not the hydraulic struts I expected.

However, the hood opens via twin struts, revealing a very crowded engine compartment. A large plastic cover conceals the V-6, which is set back for better handling.

Jaguars still are built in England despite foreign ownership, and the automaker has been adding alluring new models. Jaguar has loads of exciting history behind it, and the XJ, as always, is more exciting than most competitors.

You’ll always feel wealthy driving an XJ.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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