What you need to know:
While the Jaguar XJ does not offer as much cutting edge technology as its German competitors, it offers performance, style and luxury. The car’s exterior styling is also another one of its strong suits, with a sexy coupe-like profile.
While test driving the 2015 Jaguar XJ, some of the features that caught my attention was its interior. Apart from the uncomfortable seats, most of the interior features are quite engaging for all occupants.
Test driving the eight-year old car started at Mighty Rides Showroom on Lugogo Bypass in Kampala. Since its ground clearance is low, the route map was set to go through Kiira Road to Ntinda and then connect to the Northern Bypass at the Kisaasi Junction, then to Kaleerwe, Busega, then to Naalya via Kiwatule, Ntinda and eventually back to Lugogo bypass.
During the ride, I noticed the beautiful dashboard, a beautiful blend of strong brown leather, beige and a small wooden trim that runs from one edge of the dashboard to the other. Like most cars, the smart touch screen is positioned in the middle of the dashboard. It also connects to the driver and co-driver’s middle consul, which has cup holders, storage and both the wireless and universal serial bus (USB) charging ports.
Unlike your manually hand-pulled or pushed gearlever, the Jaguar XJ’s is like a radio tuning knob that you shift to activate all modes. Also, the beautifully leather-coated steering wheel blends well with the brown leather coat on the dashboard, as well as brown leather and silver strips that stretch from the steering wheel and go around the middle consul, giving the entire front a uniform look.
The dashboard colours are also similar to those on the doors. The only slight difference is that the doors have a polished wooden trim that holds the well amplified meridian speakers. The middle consul, which houses the charging ports also has provisions for AC vents and volume knobs where passengers in the rear seats can control temperatures and volumes different from that of the driver and co-driver.
And unlike your hand-pulled or foot-engaged handbrake, the one in the Jaguar XJ requires one to gently lift and push a button to engage and disengage. When you enter the car and one of the doors is not locked properly, it will display, for example, right front door open before you set off. If all the doors are locked and the message is still being displayed, there will be a prompt on the dashboard requiring you to press okay to clear the message.
How does it feel?
The Jaguar XJ is a purely luxurious urban drive car that is not meant for off-roading. Because of its 5000cc supercharged V8 powered engine, as I accelerated to the 100km/hr mark from Busega Roundabout to the Masanafu Junction, the car produced an engine sound similar to that of the V8 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon without feeling as if the engine is dragging.
The V8 aspect enhances car performance but also consumption. It consumes more during urban drives compared to highways. It combines speed, comfort and stability at relatively high speeds.
One of the downsides its low ground clearance. It is also a long car and one has to be careful and patient while manoeuvring tight spaces or corners.
A five- seater, for maximum comfort, the rear passenger seats are fitted with a middle consul that can be folded into the leaning area to accommodate four passengers.
Benon Rukandema, who has driven the Jaguar XJ for approximately one year, says it shares parts with the Range Rover, especially since the two companies were merged to form Jaguar Land Rover.
“If you buy a Jaguar XJ with low mileage, service is minimal. All you will have to do is basic routines of changing engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, spark plugs and a few serviceable parts. The car consumes Castrol oil and one litre costs between Shs50,000 to Shs60,000 depending on where you buy it from,” Rukandema explains, adding that service is done at every 5,000km intervals or depending on how often you drive the car.
Like any other high performance car, the owner must use high octane fuel to keep the engine in the best condition. If you use adulterated fuel, it does not only affect its engine performance but the dashboard will also constantly display check engine signs. Adulterated fuel also reduces the lifespan of the engine. Some of the parts that are prone to wear and tear include the shocks, suspension bushes and Z-links because of the bad condition of Kampala’s roads.
Apart from the 5000cc, the Jaguar XJ Series also comes in 3000cc petrol and 3000cc diesel. The 5000cc Jaguar XJ 2015 model is the highest specification that costs Shs120m, including taxes. It comes in beige, black, blue, maroon, silver and white colours. Apart from the saloon, the Jaguar XJ also comes in F-Pace, a Sport Utility Vehicle format of the brand.