Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 Jaguar XJ AWDA modern drivetrain that doesn't take away from the soulful luxury of a Jaguar.
A big Jag XJ back in the day that used to mean a very quaint thing full of wood and leather that might not start tomorrow morning. Nowadays it's a whole different story. They got a new high-tech V6, this thing is all-aluminum skin, and they have more screens inside the cabin than almost anything on the road. Let's drive this 2013 Jag XJ all-wheel drive and Check the Tech. Now the current generation XJ is not so much a pretty or elegant car to me like it used to be as much as it is a handsome and very present vehicle. It differently makes a statement as you roll up in one, but your key styling cues here are 3 things. The narrow blade tail lights in the back, very distinctive, the blackout C pillars that make the back of the roof appear to float except on a black car where the effect is canceled out, and the Jaguar face which is now the new family grill. Now before we even get in this guy, I wanna know who's paying off Jaguar. Is it the chiropractors union or the orthopedic surgeons union, one of them is gonna make a ton of money on this guy because of this big wide sill. You see it sticks out so far that every damn time I get out of this guy I bang my Achilles tendon on it. Give me about 150 reps of that and I'm in the hospital getting it sewn up again. Now I don't know why Jaguar keeps sending us cars that has such ugly color schemes. I was encouraged by the black on the outside but not by this color of a cheap synthetic baseball mitt on the inside. Let's get to the tech. Now you got 2 big screens. The one here on the left is still pretty revolutionary, a 12-inch wide profile LCD for the instrument panel. There are no dials or gauges in this car with the exception of the clock if you wanna count that. Fuel, temperature, speed, tachometer and those can change and morph into a different type of screen. Sometimes the tech gives way to warnings and the whole thing turns red when you're in dynamic mode or blue when you're in winter driving mode. So it's very evocative and as you can see the map quality is pretty good. I've always been pretty pleased with Jaguar's map quality and it's very well-rendered but pretty basic. You've got a 3D mode, you've got a 2D mode, and you've got north up. There isn't a lot of nonsense like fly through buildings, there's no Google Earth. There's nothing of the really advanced type of map display, but they get the job done. Getting around there, they've got a new interface for the different destination menus addresses the one you'll use the most often, but they've also got some oddballs like getting to a highway by route number, when would I do that, or coordinates. What is this thing, a Land Rover? San Francisco, California. I give up. If they can't recognize that, that ain't much good to me. So I'll be tapping things in over here on the screen. As you can see, this car is kind of pokey when you're entering things on the onscreen interface. So it's an improvement but it's still kind of an underperformance system with either it's dopey voice command or the fact that it takes a very long time to tap things in on the screen. Now in terms of media, you've got AM, FM, satellite radio free for 3 months and HD radio on this guy as well. Under my music you find all the other interesting choices and yes, they break up radio for my music which always makes me nuts. Here's what an iPod interface looks like. They do a pretty good job of calling out the navigation. I find the buttons and all are very clear, but I wished they would use more screen real estate for things like titles. Bluetooth streaming worked yesterday, won't work at all today, but it has a pretty good support for meta tags and was pretty good at navigating my actual music collection, but that was yesterday. You've also got 30 gigabytes of hard drive space in this car, something else that I don't think is terribly exciting. What you do have are a whole lot of surround modes from standard stereo to Meridian to Dolby PL II to DTS, and that's because we have the top Meridian sound system here. This guy is 825 watts and 20 speakers. Now of course the Jaguar is full of nice amenities inside the cabin especially an XJ. You'll notice of course their trademark pop-up shift rotating deal here for park, reverse, neutral, drive and sport mode. When you're in reverse you do have a standard backup camera and front and rear sensors, no extra costs on those. Next to it here is the winter driving mode I mentioned earlier. Right below that is dynamic driving mode, your most aggressive re-curving on the entire drive train. Related to the drive train controls though are this eco button over here which I push a lot because this car has automatic start/stop and as you'll see when we get on the road I'm not a huge fan of it in this case. Now Jaguar has lots of little ergonomic quirks throughout this car. First of all, this is apparently a cellphone bin but it's too weird for a modern phone. It's nice and tall and it's not wide enough for it to go sideways. So it's basically useless. They went to the effort of making a touch-sensitive glove box release. I never had a problem releasing a glove box with an actual button or lever, but I guess that's an identifying principle for the Jaguar brand and the same thing goes for the overhead lights. Nothing moves, you just touch them. It's cool. I don't know that it gets us anywhere. And the switch over here for the steering wheel heater is so big and so touchy you'll be turning on the wheel heater all the time, believe me. And when you wanna go verify if it's on or off you can't because the little indicator light isn't bright enough to be seen in the daylight. So you just kind of gotta hold it and say is it a hot day or is the wheel on? Not available here would be lane departure warning and whether it's active or passive, not here, or front collision prevention even though you can get the car with optional adaptive cruise control. And the overhead dual panoramic sunroof which is not really panoramic, that's got a big old bar in the middle that is standard as well on an XJ, but that one over the second row is really shallow. I'm not sure it's that well done compared to having a big glass top here. Now hearing the snoot we've got a 3-liter supercharged direct injected V6. This is a big story because this car used to come with a V8 only, a big old 5-liter. You can still get that but this is the new smart motor in the XJ, the numbers 340 horsepower, 332 foot pounds of torque. This thing weighs a little over 4100 pounds; by the way, 250 of that is all-wheel drive gear, but it gets up to 60 in 6.1 seconds while delivering 16-24 MPG which by the way is considered pretty good for its class. Thank you to the aluminum body and the now supercharged V6. Okay. So what it's like driving the XJ with all-wheel drive and a supercharged V6? Well, the first thing I do is I turn off that auto start/stop because I hate it. It's kind of crude. When it starts and stops you're very aware of it. The whole car jitters and shutters and it sounds like a car starting which is fine except it's a Jaguar. It's not supposed to have moments like that. The next thing you notice is this engine is a doll. It just keeps coming great torque, very linear. The all-wheel drive in this car starts off being rear-bias. It's a rear-wheel drive car that can activate the front paws. Think of it that way. This is definitely not a BMW. There's more roll and there's less road feedback than you'll get in a similar competing bimmer. So it's not a car I wanna take in the street fight. It's a car I wanna take on a weekend trip that has some great roads. And one last note, there's something about a Jaguar cabin and ride that really has a different kind of distinctive soulful luxury to it. There's something sort of quaint, sort of traditional and sort of elegant about the cabins that these guys do, and it's a nice place to do your business. Okay. Let's price this big black beast. We've got $70,066 as a base. That's for all wheel-drive rolled in there. Really 2 options to go CNET style. One is the Meridian audio upgrade from base Meridian to 825 watts and 20 speakers and that's gonna run you 2300 bucks. Then there's adaptive cruise control. That alone is another $2300. I might leave that one out, but if I rolled it all in worth $81,300 CNET style for a car that's offly cost sitting and has some great tech as well as a few standout buttons.