2013 Jaguar XJ Comfort & Quality

8.0
Comfort & Quality

With its glamorous new shape, the Jaguar XJ looks like its own "after" picture. It takes a while to register that, along with its body shaping, it's lost a significant amount of interior space, mostly in the back seat.

The XJ may be the most snug fit of all the premium luxury sedans, less spacious than the short-wheelbase Lexus LS, even. It's roughly the same size as the last-generation XJ, at least in overall length and wheelbase, but the body's so radically different and so tapered, there's lots of cubic feet of interior space left under the glass, where passengers don't sit. Even so, those in the front seats won't feel too cramped, save for a little constricted feel at the knees due to the wide center console.

Rear-seat head room is slim in the Jaguar XJ, and some cabin fittings seem more glitzy than glamorous.

Also noticeable is how Jaguar's stiffened up its seats. The XJ's new buckets are less cozy, flatter and firmer. They do offer up 20-way power adjustments in front, though, and in both front and back, can be fitted with massage and heating functions.

Sexy and low makes for a more appealing XJ sedan, but it clips rear-seat room in the process. Headroom is tight in all seating positions, but especially in back, where the roofline dips right at the scalps of taller passengers. Leg room is no problem, though, particularly on long-wheelbase models, which get 5 extra inches of rear seat space.

The XJ's tail powers open to reveal an 18.4-cubic-foot trunk, which Jaguar says is the biggest in its class. Today's Ford Taurus has 20 cubic feet, and more interior room, and it's shorter overall--but would you really want one instead?

The XJ's relined cabin suffers a bit from some shiny trim pieces. Smothered in chrome, wood and leather, it can read achingly gorgeous and slapdash all at once. We're not sure the piano-black trim and rings of metallic trim speak volumes to true high-end luxury shoppers, and some of those pieces give and flex to the touch, something that doesn't happen in a similarly priced S-Class or 7-Series. At the same time, when it's trimmed in striped wood, nothing else in the class comes near its Hollywood Regency-like theming--as architectural as it is automotive.

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