REVIEW: 2015 Jaguar XJ 3.0 AWD – Opulent Yet Capable

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2015-07-31 11.02.31

If you have waited all your life for a Jaguar sedan and all the experiences that you expect from such a car, the 2015 Jaguar XJ is your ride.

Jaguar recently passed Lexus to take the top spot among all manufacturers in J.D. Power’s dealership service customer satisfaction survey.  Jaguar was second only to Porsche in the 2015 J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.  Were you expecting me to start of with a chat about horsepower, handling and ride-quality?  Let’s face facts.  Many premium automakers can make a large luxury sedan based on a refined rear-drive platform.  Audi, Acura, and Lincoln are really the only ones that don’t.  If Jaguar tried to stand out in the crowd by making the XJ the fastest or best driving car on the market for $83K it may have finished mid-pack.  Jaguar’s sedans are ahead of the competition before the driver even gets into the car because surveys of real owners say they love the ownership experience.

If you want to know what this particular Jaguar does as well an anyone in the world look at the second image in the story.  We used a Jaguar media image because ours didn’t do the car justice.  Look at that dash.  It is perfect.  Not nearly perfect.  Perfect.  That is real leather covering the dash.  Not shown is the microfiber suede trim on the pillars and ceiling.  See those silver buttons on the headrests?  Those allow you to move the damn things back away from hitting your head.  You would think that would be in every car, but we can tell you that unfortunately they are not.  One thing you also don’t see is any kind of ridiculous mouse, aka Man Machine Interface (MMI).  That is because the people at Jaguar have a clue and don’t use one.  The interface is the end of your index finger.  You don’t have learn how to work this car.  You get in it, and you drive off.  Try that if you are a first time Mercedes, BMW, Audi, or Lexus buyer.

XJ Jag interior photo by Jaguar


OK, enough of us gushing abut the interior.  Let’s talk about wood.  Do you like it in a car?  If so you will love the shiny burl walnut this car has.  There is enough of it here to make a dressing table for your grandma.  If you are not a fan of wood, opt for one of the other 11 choices which include piano black (sure) or carbon fiber (nah).  Jaguar wants you to feel comfortable.  The seats in the XJ help with that.  The perforated leather is as good as it gets.  They are heated and cooled, and they will give you a back rub.  The also adjust in all the right ways.  The steering wheel is also unusually good.  It is soft and has a sort of double contour that makes holding it special. Yes, it is heated.


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The infotainment is simple as we mentioned, and many of the common-sense controls are separated out for you to use by touch, rather than look away from the road and peck and hunt through menus to find.  Jaguar also has a volume knob that feels very different from the cooling button.  Such a simple thing, but many manufacturers make all the buttons the same now which invites confusion when you use them by feel.  Or worse, there are no buttons.  Jaguar did this car right.  The large rotary “PRNDS” button works well, and it drops out of sight when you park.  The cuphlders are perfect.  Don’t like cup holders?  No problem, since they are covered by a great looking accordion-style piano black slider.


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The back seats in the XJ are well done.  Look at the top of the arm-rest.  Those are ash-trays.  Real ash trays, for ash.  Like from a cigarette.  Don’t tell the EPA.  Ash trays in cars are now outlawed.  Space in back is adequate in this very long car.  I could sit behind my six-foot self with about three inches of knee-room.  That is enough, but is “enough” the standard in this car’s category?

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The rear seats also have their own HVAC controls.

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The Jaguar XJ looks good.  Maybe great, if you are a fan of the style elements.  It needs to.  This is the Tesla Model S, Cadillac CTS-V‘s price and size category.

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Ride quality was a bit of a surprise.  This car is almost too-firm.  On the highway, the tires feel rock-hard.  My expectation was the XJ would be very smooth and floaty over bumps and it isn’t.  It handles well, but even in Dynamic mode there is nothing about the XJ that says “Let’s you and me go for a ride Sunday morning for the hell of it.”  The 340 hp supercharged V6 does a great job of putting power down through the eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.  A 470 hp V8 and “Sport and Speed package” is optional, but I cannot understand why anyone would choose those in a car of this personality.  The car never felt like it lacked power and Jaguar says it will run to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds.

One thing we would change is the ease of entry and exit of the front seats.  The B-pillar is too far forward.  Getting in and out of a Jaguar should be easy.  Let’s face it, the target demographic of the XJ is not a young whipper snapper.  The lack of forward collision prevention and active cruise control was also a surprise.  Every car in this price range should have these.  They protect you from injury and also from litigation.   These are small quibbles we only mention out of duty.

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If you are looking for a handsome large luxury sedan and superb interior appointments are your top priority, the Jaguar XJ should be on your short list of vehicles to consider.  If a great ownership experience is also important, put the Jaguar XJ at the top of your list.

2015 Jaguar XJ 3.0 AWD


  • Burl Walnut Interior (NC)
  • Portfolio Package (Upgrades Seats and Interior) $4,000
  • Heated Front Windshield $375
  • 19″ Aleutian Wheels (NC)

Price: $ 83,000 Including Destination


  • Interior Wow-Factor
  • Touch Screen Infotainment System


  • No Forward Collision Prevention System

Note:  Second photo showing interior shot of dash courtesy of Jaguar.  All other images by John Goreham