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2009 Jaguar XJ Review

This review was written when the 2009 Jaguar XJ was new.

The Jaguar XJ's retro look is on the way out -- a 2011 model headed for dealerships in the spring (there will be no 2010) has none of the old-world luxury character of the 2009 car, so those interested in the classic sheetmetal should act soon.  

The 2009 XJ is the last Jag to wear the 1940's-inspired look that the brand has relied on in recent years. The 2011 XJ, headed to delaerships soon, is a radical redesign that looks nothing like the Jags of old. 

That is not to say that ithe 2009 model is a dinosaur. It offers less power than some competitors, but it's the lightest of the super-luxury sedans thanks to its aluminum chassis. The XJ can outcorner heavier rivals like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lexus LS.

The automotive press delivers a mixed-verdict on the XJ's cabin. It weds soft leather upholstery and real burled walnut trim pieces with the same cheap plastic switches you'd find in a Ford Taurus. Yet, you could buy two Tauruses for the price of the cheapest XJ, and four Fords for the price of the most expensive version.

Still, if you've always dreamed of owning a luxurious, top-of-the-line Jaguar, the XJ is the best of the breed.

There are six models of XJ, ranging from the basic V8-powered XJ8 to the Super V8 Portfolio edition with a supercharged V8, plush Vanden Plas upholstery, and a stretched wheelbase for luxurious rear-seat space. Many automotive publications feel that the lower-end XJ models are some of the best values in the super-luxury class because of their comparatively low prices, but higher-end versions don't receive the same praise.

Potential buyers should also be aware that the Jaguar brand was sold just last year. Ford Motor Company parted with its British luxury marquee in mid-2008, selling the brand to India's Tata Motors. The move hasn't yet had a measurable impact, positive or negative, in Jaguar quality.

  • "Stately, elegant and maybe a little stuffy, the 2009 Jaguar XJ is everything a proper British motorcar should be. With its combination of modern construction and traditional styling, the XJ covers ground with appropriate dignity and real sporting spirit." -- Edmunds
  • "There are cars that announce who their driver is before she even steps out the doorway. ... Jaguar XJ Super V8 is one of those cars." -- Mother Proof
  • "Having just driven a $91,330 Jaguar XJ [long wheelbase edition] with a Super V-8 under the bonnet and enough legroom for an NBA forward in the backseat, it's clear that Jaguar knows how to define luxury with a capital L." -- Forbes
  • "Feature for feature, the Jaguar XJ sedan represents one of the best values among full-size luxury cars. Jaguar's flagship offers features and comfort comparable to the top-line luxury sedans from Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz for thousands less" -- New Car Test Drive
  • "This is a solid enough luxury sedan. The basic XJ8 versions are the best value within this lineup. Though most XJ models tend to undercut many competitors on price, they don't match the resale values of key rivals"  -- Consumer Guide
  • "Aside from some comparatively minor issues, it's quite good -- but you need to like Jaguars, what they are and what the storied brand stands for, before you can justify writing a check for nearly $100,000 to this company, as opposed to import competitors such as Mercedes-Benz or BMW." -- Orlando Sentinel
Review Last Updated: 1/11/10

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