2004 Jaguar XJR
2004 Jaguar XJR. Click image to enlarge

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Test Drive: 2004 Jaguar XJR

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Jaguar Canada

By Chris Chase; photos by Grant Yoxon

The Jaguar XJ is one of the British marque’s best-known models, and is arguably one of its most recognizable cars, having maintained the same basic profile through numerous redesigns in the decades following its 1968 introduction.

The 2004 XJ carried on that visual tradition, but was a radical departure for its use of an all-aluminum structure, which reduced the car’s weight compared to the previous generation, improving performance and fuel economy.

Initially, only V8 engines were offered. Base Vanden Plas models use a 4.2-litre V8 (294 hp; 303 lb.-ft. torque), and the upscale Super V8 has a supercharged version of the same motor with 390 hp and 399 lb.-ft. of torque. The only transmission is a six-speed automatic.

The 2005 XJ line gained a long-wheelbase bodystyle that added an extra 127 mm (5 in.) between the front and rear axles, for more interior space.

In 2006, the normally-aspirated V8’s horsepower was bumped to 300, while the supercharged engine boasted an even 400; torque figures remained the same. A sharp-looking XJR model was added, too. In 2008, the XJ got refreshed styling and a few more standard features, including more comfortable front seats with heating and cooling functions. 2009 XJs added a standard 320-watt stereo and navigation.

2004 Jaguar XJR
2004 Jaguar XJR
2004 Jaguar XJR. Click image to enlarge

In early cars, fuel consumption ratings were 12.8/7.8 L/100 km for naturally-aspirated models, and supercharged cars were rated 13.6/8.9 L/100 km (all figures city/highway). Natural Resources Canada shows improved ratings of 11.6/6.8 (naturally-aspirated) and 12.6/7.7 L/100 km (supercharged), but that must have been a fluke, as the numbers for 2007 cars were actually marginally higher than those for 2005.

Consumer Reports (CR) doesn’t offer much on the XJ’s reliability, owing to the car’s low sales numbers. It does suggest a few things worthy watching for, though, including failure-prone engine thermostats and coolant hoses, two things listed here.

CR also notes troubles with the XJ’s automatic transmission (ZF’s 6HP26 gearbox, also used in the Jaguar XK and S-Type, a number of BMW and Land Rover models, the Lincoln Navigator and Hyundai Genesis V8, to name a few), with specifics being linked to fluid leaks and the shift linkage. Performance-wise, this gearbox is known for “lurching” when shifting down from second to first gear as the car is slowed to a stop, or as the driver accelerates away from a near-stop. An S-Type owner even made a Web site dedicated to “The Lurch.” Here’s a link from RoadFly.com detailing the lengthy procedure for draining and refilling the transmission fluid. You can find another, similar, thread, from JaguarForums.com, here.

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