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2019 Jaguar XJ Review

LIKES
  • Elegant looks
  • Old-money interior
  • Impressive standard features
  • Solid warranty
  • Smooth, powerful V-6
DISLIKES
  • Cramped compared to competition
  • No electrified option
  • V-8 doesn’t provide big performance bump
The 2019 Jaguar XJ echoes British luxury sedans of yore, with big supercharged engines, a somewhat gaudy interior, and loads of elegant style.

The 2019 Jaguar XJ is a full-size luxury sedan with more “old Jag” character than the automakers performance- and design-oriented new models. It’s big, opulent, and somewhat showy, complete with a supercharged engine lineup and a thick British accent.


Though now the oldest vehicle in Jag’s stable, it’s still a contender, warranting a score of 7.0 overall on our scale.

The 2019 XJ is available in short- or long-wheelbase configuration and with a supercharged V-6 or V-8 engine, the latter in multiple states of tune culminating in the aptly-named 575-horsepower XJR575.

For 2019, a special XJ50 long-wheelbase model celebrates 50 years of the big Jag sedan and is available in V-6 or V-8 flavor (or should we say flavour). All 2019 models also now offer a Smartphone Pack that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for the first time.

Despite getting on in years, the Jaguar XJ is long, sleek, and echoes British luxury sedans of yore with chrome details, a sea of leather upholstery, and big, comfortable seats in a quiet cabin.

The XJ is available with three different engines, all supercharged. The base XJ R-Sport short-wheelbase model makes 340 hp from a 3.0-liter boosted V-6, while XJ Supercharged models receive a 5.0-liter V-8 making 470 hp. The XJ50 special edition comes with either of these engines and in long-wheelbase form only.

Topping the range, the XJR575 adds a litany of performance upgrades, most importantly a version of the supercharged V-8 that makes 575 hp as its name implies but is available only in long-wheelbase with rear-wheel drive. All XJs receive rear-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard, while short-wheelbase R-Sport and long-wheelbase V-6 models can be had with all-wheel drive as an option.

At the low end, XJ R-Sport models can reach 60 mph in under 6 seconds, while the XJR575 does the same sprint in just 4.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 174 mph. Ride and handling vary by trim and model as well, but most XJs are quiet, composed, and sportier than some competitors thanks to an aluminum body. Adjustable dampers and rear air suspension are standard, but the rip-roaring XJR575 is firmer than we’d like, even from a large performance sedan.

No safety data is available for the XJ as it’s such a low-volume model, but active safety technologies such as automatic emergency braking and active lane control are available. Naturally, this large, supercharged sedan is no fuel economy star, with combined figures that range from 18 mpg for the most powerful V-8 models to 21 mpg for the base V-6.

Styling
The 2019 Jaguar XJ is more “old Jag” than new with sleek looks and a high-zoot cabin that whisper British luxury.

The 2019 Jaguar XJ is the oldest vehicle in the reinvented British brand’s stable, but its sleek looks and yacht-like interior are bordering on timeless. The XJ earns 8 out of 10 points for styling in our book. 

Though not updated visually since 2015, the XJ wears its sheet metal proudly, tapering rearward from the signature rounded Jag grille to cut a sleek, sloping sedan profile that’s even more elegant in long-wheelbase form. The rear pillars are gloss black, creating the illusion of a “floating roof,” though we wish the roof would float a bit higher out back, as rear head room is in short supply.

The vertically-oriented taillights and tight trunk bring everything to a close nicely, looking more French in design than British, but you won’t hear us complaining. Though elegant in silver or black, the XJ looks best in deep colors.

While the exterior is relatively understated, the interior looks like a duchess’ jewelry box, complete with shiny chrome, wood, and piano black plastic trim and soft leather. A long dash arcs around the front compartment to the doors, and two round yacht-like vents protrude upwards from the center of the dash.

As old-money as it looks, the 2019 XJ is fitted with some tech-savvy features, including a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that finally offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as an option.

Rear seat passengers can be treated to massaging, heated, and cooled seats and even an entertainment system with the right package, so despite this Jag’s sporty pretenses, it can be equally satisfying to be driven in.

Performance
You can have a 2019 Jaguar XJ in any flavor you like, so long as its supercharged. While the V-8 is fun, the base V-6 offers smooth, efficient performance.

The 2019 Jaguar XJ comes with almost any powertrain you like, so long as its supercharged. From a silky-smooth V-6 to a rip-roaring V-8, there are no shortage of options for Jag’s most opulent model, minus a hybrid. We give it 7 out of 10 in this category.

The 2019 XJ is available in short- or long-wheelbase with a 3.0-liter V-6 as standard that makes 340 horsepower. All XJs come with an 8-speed automatic, from the base model to the high-performance XJR575. The V-6 is the only engine available with all-wheel-drive, which can be had on either the short- or long-wheelbase models. Otherwise, rear-wheel-drive is the only option.

An optional 5.0-liter V-8 is the upgraded engine, which comes in two states of tune. XJ Supercharged models get 470 hp and a 0-60 mph time of under 5 seconds, while the XJR575 pushes power output up 105 ponies from the same powerplant, dropping that same 60 mph run time to just 4.2 seconds and pushing top speed to 174 mph.
The 8-speed automatic shifts smoothly and quickly, and when switched into Dynamic mode, holds gears longer while also adjusting the throttle response and suspension tuning. Normal and Winter modes are also available, and fully-independent suspension with adaptive dampers and adjustable air springs in the rear come standard.

The optional all-wheel-drive system has a rear bias and performs as such on curvy roads but can shift 50 percent of the power to the front wheels if more traction is needed.

Despite its massive footprint and cushy interior appointments, the XJ is sportier than the norm thanks to reduced mass from the aluminum body. Big ventilated disc brakes help bring this big cat to a stop on some models, and while ride quality is stiff on the performance-oriented XJR575, the adaptive dampers and air suspension do a good job of smoothing out road imperfections otherwise.

Comfort & Quality
The 2019 Jaguar XJ makes use of opulent materials, but a sloping roofline impacts rear headroom significantly.

Style often comes at the expense of comfort and practicality. Such is the case with the 2019 Jaguar XJ, which looks and feels top-notch but presents some ergonomic quirks upon closer inspection. This warrants a score of 7 out of 10 for its comfort, with points for luxurious materials and a spacious front seat area.

The XJ comes standard with many plush interior appointments, including power features, heated front and rear seats, ventilated and massaging front seats and sometimes rear seats on certain models. Semi-aniline leather, chrome trim, real wood veneer, and piano black plastics impart a top-notch feel, though some competitors are even more buttoned-down, specifically the Germans.

While the front seats provide plenty of passenger space, the rear is fine for legroom, especially on the long-wheelbase model, but headroom is in short supply. This is thanks to the elegant sloping roofline, making the XJ a better car for drivers than for those who prefer to be driven.

A Premium Rear Seat package drops the number of seats in the back to two, but adds heat, ventilation, massage, and dual 10.2-inch screens that fold away into the front seats when not used. Extra USB and HDMI inputs are also included in this package, making the XJ essentially a mobile boardroom.

Despite the tapering rear, trunk space is good at 18.4 cubic feet, but with a relatively small opening, it can be difficult to get larger items in. Thankfully, the trunk lid is power operated and the load floor is flat.

Safety
The 2019 Jaguar XJ has not been rated for crashworthiness but does include some active safety features.

Due to its low sales volume, the 2019 Jaguar XJ hasn’t been crash-tested and won’t be, therefore we’re unable to give it score for safety.

As with any high-end luxury car, however, there are some active safety features available on the 2019 XJ. A rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings with active lane control, and a driver drowsiness monitor are all standard, but a surround-view camera and adaptive cruise control are optional.

Features
The 2019 Jaguar XJ features opulent appointments even at the base level, making it a surprising value play.

The 2019 Jaguar XJ may come with plenty of badge prestige and pedigree, but it’s a surprising value play in a segment that can get very expensive, very fast. With a tech upgrade and a great warranty, we give it 9 out of 10 for features based on its ample standard equipment, generous options, big infotainment screen, and terrific warranty. It’d be a perfect score if Jaguar didn’t have the gall to charge for advanced smartphone compatibility. 

Though a number of wheelbase and powertrain combinations are available, the base XJ is the XJ R-Sport short-wheelbase, which comes with the supercharged V-6 as standard. R-Sport buyers get leather seats all around with heat and ventilation in the front and back, eight-way power adjustable front seats, and a heated steering wheel that’s power-adjustable as well. Dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights with automatic high beams, adaptive dampers, rear air suspension, and 19-inch wheels are also standard.

On the tech side, the XJ comes fitted with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.0-inch infotainment display that now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as part of an optional package. In-car 4G LTE connectivity is also available with a monthly subscription, and an 825-watt 20-speaker Meridian stereo with USB and Bluetooth connectivity comes with no extra charge.

Stepping up to the V-8-powered Supercharged model adds 14-way power and massaging front seats, satellite navigation, adaptive headlights, upgraded leather, quad-zone climate control, an active rear differential, and 20-inch wheels.

The top-of-the-line XJR575 adds a sport-tuned suspension, performance tires, metal pedals, a suede headliner, and sporty exterior accents like quad tailpipes and a spoiler to go along with its beastly heart.

Long-wheelbase XJs can be had with a Premium Rear Seat package with two individual seats and a center console that allows for climate and media controls, as well as two 10.2-inch infotainment screens that stow away in the front seatbacks.

Jaguar has also given the XJ an impressive warranty, including everything but gas and tires for the first five years or 50,000 miles.

New for 2019, the XJ50 Special Edition is available in long-wheelbase only but with either the V-6 or V-8 and features several unique interior and exterior styling touches to commemorate 50 years of the big Jag sedan.

Fuel Economy
Though no hybrid is available, the 2019 Jaguar XJ is surprisingly fuel-efficient given its trio of supercharged engine choices.

Unlike many of its rivals, the 2019 Jaguar XJ does not come with a hybrid variant, but it manages surprising fuel economy for a big, supercharged sedan. We give it 4 out of 10 in this category accordingly. 

In either short- or long-wheelbase form, the supercharged V-6 in the XJ manages 18 mpg city, 27 highway, and 21 combined, with those numbers dropping slightly to 17/26/20 mpg for the short-wheelbase and 17/25/20 mpg for the long-wheelbase all-wheel-drive models.

Stepping up to the V-8 comes with fuel economy figures of 15/23/18 mpg in either short- or long-wheelbase form, and all versions of the 2019 XJ require premium fuel.



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