Shopping for a new Jaguar XJ?
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STYLING | 6 out of 10
In front of each front door is a chrome gill that Jaguar calls a 'power vent
If you're a Jaguar purist, you may not appreciate the XJ's tall profile
Kelley Blue Book
Stately, elegant and maybe a little stuffy
The 2008 Jaguar XJ series sports a new look that’s put a controversial face on a vehicle that seemed underdesigned when it bowed in 2004.
"The 2008 Jaguar XJ receives a major makeover with new front and rear fascia treatments and front fender-mounted 'power vents,'" while the back features "a chrome strip [that] spans the width of the trunk," reports Kelley Blue Book.
The front-end treatment seems to be the most controversial bit of the restyling, with some comments suggesting that the bodywork below the front bumper appears to have been tacked onto the car after being swiped from a BMW M5. Automobile says the Jaguar XJ’s “interior and exterior designs are stuck in the past.” AutoWeek thinks “the facelift creates more road presence,” but “Jag appears to be compromising the car’s elegance in a bid to boost weak sales.” Cars.com more kindly says "a narrower front air dam draws visual continuity with the rounded grille." TheCarConnection.com’s team of experts thinks the XJ looks dowdy from some angles, and the new nose on the front of 2008 models doesn't improve matters at all. The single detail that improves the XJ's looks is the fender vent in metallic trim.
Other styling details of the Jaguar XJ include a "new grille, new mirrors (with signal indicators), new wheel designs and new bumpers, along with a subtle rear spoiler," as noted by Edmunds. The various wheel options are handsome, if a bit bling in some cases.
Elsewhere, the 2008 Jaguar XJ retains its "signature styling cues as the curvaceous hood, four round headlamps, and tapered rear end," says Kelley Blue Book. The familiar chrome cat pouncing from the front of the hood of the Jaguar XJ goes away for 2008, replaced by a grille-mounted emblem. However, the “leaper,” as it’s called, is still available as an option.
"Burl walnut wood trim, chrome and supple leather are liberally strewn about" inside the Jaguar XJ, Edmunds says, but adds, "It would be nice if the XJ's cabin joined the 21st century." Kelley Blue Book notes, "The handsome dash incorporates three circular gauges," which are surrounded by a generous amount of the aforementioned burl wood in the 2008 Jaguar. And Cars.com points to the "newly sculpted front seatbacks," which also increase legroom for rear seat passengers.
A restyling for the 2008 Jaguar XJ has marred its conservative elegance, without going the whole way to a fuller, more radical redesign.