2014 Jaguar XJL AWD Review

A Child-Friendly British Chariot

2014 Jaguar XJL AWD Review

Because I’m cheap and didn’t want to pony up the cash for airfare for me, my wife, and our two young daughters, we were doomed to drive down to Charleston, South Carolina from Toronto, Ontario for our annual trip to visit the southern arm of the Cooney family. The idea of spending two 15-hour days trapped in my 2010 Mazda5, however, seemed like a recipe for hours of crying and screaming – and the kids wouldn’t like it either.


Engine: 3.0L supercharged V6 makes 340 hp, 332 lb-ft of torque.

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.

Fuel economy: 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.

Price: Long wheelbase AWD models start at $85,625.

As luck would have it, the Editor in Chief of AutoGuide.com sits right behind me and I asked if he might be able to find a car to save my vacation – maybe even a really nice one? This is the part of the story where you readers might like to reach through your computer screen to poke me in the eye, but a couple of phone calls later and a 2014 Jaguar XJL was waiting for me.

I’d like to tell you it’s the car I’ve always dreamed of, but I’ve never had such lofty goals when it came to car ownership. The idea a car tickling the $100,000 mark was so preposterous that I could scarcely fathom getting behind the wheel of one.

While I was excited about my chance to drive a true luxury car, I still had reservations about the trip. The only other time I’ve made the Toronto to Charleston cannonball run with children was two years ago in a fully kitted Toyota Sienna minivan. Only the sheer size of the Sienna made the trip tolerable (my youngest was just 10 months old and righteously pissed off about sitting in a rear-facing seat for an entire day). Square footage makes everything better, especially when it comes to the sounds (and smells) emanating from an ornery family of four.


Hello Gorgeous

In my near 40 years, I’ve had many thoughts and opinions that I’d later realize were dumb. The most recent example of this was the idea that even if I suddenly inherited a pile of money large enough to swim in Scrooge McDuck-style, I wouldn’t needlessly spend it on an expensive car. Surely a nice BMW 3 Series would do the trick?

When I first laid eyes on the Jaguar XJL I was still pretty confident with this preconceived notion. It’s a nice looking car from the outside (especially the optional 20-inch Kasuga wheels), but it didn’t exactly make me feel all aflutter. It was when I opened the door, sat down in the black leather seat and basked in the interior that I quickly realized why rich people buy nice cars. And it only got better from there.

Embarrassment of Riches


Beyond adjustability like I’ve never seen before, all four seats (the test car included the premium rear seat executive package) offer both heating and cooling. I’d never sat in a cooled seat before and I now wish I never had to do without it again. South Carolina is freaking hot and having cool air circulate up to keep my bits and pieces temperate and funk-free is a luxury I’d happily pay for. A massage feature was much appreciated on the long drive, though it would have been nice if it was also offered on the bottom of the seat to sooth my aching trucker butt. One caveat about the massage – if you are holding your pee between gas stops, the rolling massage might make you wet your pants. I also liked how you could squeeze the sides of the seat into you at the push of a button – a reassuring hug from the car. I’d take a pay cut if I could replace my chair at work with one of these seats.

Big bonus points go to the sizeable LCD touch-screen monitor up front, which includes a GPS. Other niceties include paddle shifters on the steering wheel (encouraging you to use the more aggressive Sport mode) and a rotating gear shift knob that disappears into the center console when the car is turned off.

My daughters were treated to matching dual 10.2-inch LCD screens, which was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because their zombie-like enchantment with an array of Disney movies and Backyardigans episodes meant they were too drunk on entertainment to complain about the long drive. If we were smart enough to pack headphones for the kids we could have put the movies on “limo mode” so we could listen to music in the front. A curse because kids will fight over who gets to pick the next show and complain (briefly, before the TV-inducing dopamine kicks in again) that they “hate that movie.” Another issue is that even on short five-minute drives they demanded the TVs be turned on. I love the back-seat entertainment for long trips, but there’s no way I’d want it in my daily driver.


Staying in the rear of the car, fold-down tables emerge from the back of the front seats, which is pretty damn cool. We didn’t tell the girls about that feature, as the youngest is still in a proper car seat and wouldn’t be able to use it. If you’ve got two kids of a similar age, any imbalance in the Force is best avoided.

While the benefit was lost on my small rear seat passengers, adults can really stretch out back there with 44.1 inches of legroom.

Trouble in Paradise?

jaguar_14my_studio_image_07_180813_LowRes (1).jpg

One minor downside for the driver is that the rear window is rather small, leaving you with some substantial blind spots. Jaguar rectified this with a back-up camera and blind-spot detectors that go off in the appropriate side view mirror.

Another check in the minus column, and this is no fault of Jaguar’s, is that people would come up to me and compliment me on the car. That has never happened to me before and I didn’t know how to deal with it. When I’d get a compliment, I’d immediately feel guilty about having such a nice car and explain that it wasn’t really mine – that I only got to drive it because of my job. That only made things worse, because now I’ve got an awesome car and I didn’t have to pay for it! I’m not good at having nice things.

Homeward Bound

We decided to drive back to Toronto through the night, so the kids could sleep and we wouldn’t have to hear Elsa sing “Let it Go” quite so often. It was wonderful cruising along the interstates with almost no traffic. The XJL is an incredibly smooth and quiet car to drive. My test car had the base 340-horsepower supercharged V6, though 470 and 550-horsepower V8 options are available. Despite its rather large size, it proved an adept handler. At one point when everybody else was asleep and I was cruising along at a good clip, I drove up on a deer standing in the middle of the highway. I swerved to the left and barely avoided contact, waking up my wife and almost having a heart attack. Good times.


I had never thought about the fact that would-be thieves and troublemakers might look at me differently now that I was driving a Jaguar. When we stopped for gas at a not-so-nice spot in West Virginia, I suddenly felt like a target for the first time. A lot of people were milling around and only one window was open for paying – nobody being allowed in the store was a red flag. Loud music was playing, alcohol was in the air, and a cast of characters you’d think I was making up was waiting in line in front of me, including one couple with a two-year old (pregnant mom chose to forgo shoes for fuzzy pink slippers) that ordered nothing but chocolate milk, Dr. Pepper and two types of cigarettes – all good reasons to keep a toddler up in the middle of the night. When I finally got to the front the young attendant asked if I was driving a Tesla…while I was paying for gas!

I didn’t get back to the car for 20 minutes, where my panicked wife legitimately worried I’d been robbed and beaten. To top it all off, the station was out of premium gas and the fuel light was on. Fortunately, we found a much nicer place to buy fuel five minutes down the highway.


The Verdict

By the time I reluctantly gave the Jaguar XJL back I’d put about 2,300 miles on it. Its generous 21.7-gallon tank had no trouble going 500 miles between fuel stops. It is a dream to drive on the highway, though not ideal in the tight confines of city parking lots.

My oldest daughter was less than pleased that I’d returned home with our old Mazda5. So was I. Maybe after my kids are finished with college I can buy one.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked