Jaguar XJ's affordable luxury

With the new Jaguar XJ saloon being launched, Iain Dooley says there's lots of life in the old big cat yet if you want affordable luxury.Engines - For most of its life the XJ was a petrol-only model.

With the new Jaguar XJ saloon being launched, Iain Dooley says there's lots of life in the old big cat yet if you want affordable luxury.

Engines - For most of its life the XJ was a petrol-only model. The six and eight-cylinder motors were, as you'd expect, exceptional. However, the diesel unit offers plenty of refinement to match its impressive economy.


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Exterior - Instantly recognisable as an XJ, this model follows on from previous cars and presents a statesman-like stance.

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Interior - Unlike previous XJs, this one boasts a bit more cabin room. A welcome improvement, it perfectly complements the car's luxurious ambience. The driving position and visibility are first rate, while the leather seats are very comfortable.

Driving - Pitched as a little more sporting than most rivals, this all-alloy XJ feels light and agile. All the engines perform well, with the 2.7-litre diesel and entry-level 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol units the most impressive. The car's trademark plush ride is the icing on the cake.

Ownership - By premium car standards the XJ is surprisingly affordable. Good fuel economy and a modest asking price make it one of the most accessible in its class. It's not a small car though, which means you have to take care around town, but for long distances its unbeatable.

What to look for - An XJ should be immaculate inside and out and come with a full history. Anything less should have you looking elsewhere. Electrical gremlins can be annoying and costly to fix, so ensure everything works. If the test-drive shows up any strange behaviour look elsewhere.

Model history - 2003, Jaguar launches all-alloy XJ with more space and improved driving dynamics. Petrol-only range initially with six and eight-cylinder engines but 2005 sees arrival of well-received six-cylinder diesel variant.

Reasons to buy - Good value, well equipped, plush cabin, enjoyable to drive, diesel performance.

Reasons to beware - Popular diesel not always a bargain, looks too similar to previous-generation XJ, cabin space not class leading.

What to pay - XJ6 3.0 V6 SE: 2003 03 �10,200; 2003 53 �10,700; 2004 04 �12,150; 2004 54 �12,750; 2005 05 14,300.

XJ 2.7 TDVi Executive: 2005 05 �16,125; 2006 06 �18,600; 2007 07 �21,425; 2008 08 �26,725; 2009 09 �30,200. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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