2011 Jaguar XJ
Even before their divorce from Ford, Jaguar was transforming its cars from a classic grand touring image of the 20th century to a British showcase of sophisticated motoring for the 21st century. Now, the mid-size XF sedan set the stage, but everyone knew the make-or-break star would be the top-tier XJ saloon. Now, our first impressions were very positive. So let’s have a complete critique.
The all-new 2011 Jaguar XJ follows the XF into a bold new world of styling for this classic brand. Aside from grille texture and badging, Design Director Ian Callum has left nary a hint of the previous XJ, choosing to go back further for inspiration. Instead of the familiar four-orb headlights, two swept-back cats-eye lamps are set in low, sculpted fenders. But XJ heritage is still sensed in the rounded-off grille and long hood that date back to the original 1968 Series I.
With so much sloping glass, there is very little trunklid. Blacked-out C-pillars are definitely an eclectic touch. LED taillights pour down the XJ’s elegantly simple, tapered tail, adorned only with a chrome Leaper.
The mid-size XF’s potent trio of 5.0-liter direct-injected V8s provides plenty of go for the larger XJ as well. Base unit is naturally aspirated with 385 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. The Supercharged XJ’s belt-driven breathing is good for a stout 470 horses and 424 pound-feet.
The special-order Supersport adds the 510-horsepower eight from the XFR. The only transmission, a six-speed automatic, presses the hockey puck-JaguarDrive Selector into your palm at startup. There are also wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and driver selectable Dynamic mode that holds gears longer while also firming up the suspension and seat belts!
With a mean growl, our 385-horse XJ leaped from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds, and raced through the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds at 103 miles per hour. It does bog down momentarily at launch. Without that, times would be even faster. Still, results closely match the XF, thanks to the aluminum chassis that allows the XJ to enter the ring some 300 lbs lighter than its rivals.
That chassis is supported by standard air suspension with continuously variable damping. Driving aids include the expected stability and traction control, plus an active rear differential. The combo makes for a supple ride and sublime handling-once you get used to the quick but dead steering, that is. The lack of feedback reminded us of a video game. But, get the hang of it, and this big Jag easily mastered every corner we threw at it. Yes, it rolls a bit, but overall it is well balanced and unflappable.
But you always know what the brakes are doing. An initial soft pedal is followed by good bite. A 131 foot average coming down from 60 could be shorter, but stability is excellent and the experience is far smoother than most rivals.
And, no rival can match the way Jaguar dresses its interiors. Wood veneer rings a spacious, amazingly well equipped cabin, whose low-slung leather dash is shrink-wrapped around nautical-style vents.
Classic round gauges reside in a virtual world, as a driver-focused 12.3-inch display fades up at startup, highlights critical data, and tints red in ‘Dynamic’ mode.
A center eight-inch Dual View touch screen allows the driver and front passenger to view two different visuals at the same time. It fits right below a classic analog timepiece.
Very modern is the standard panoramic glass roof. There’s ample storage, including Jaguar’s one-touch opening glovebox, and very usable cupholders in the center console. In the rear, leather covers the seats, door panels, and even the headliner is suede cloth. While there is plenty of room, long wheelbase models expand it to limousine proportions. The Jaguar’s 18.4 cubic feet of trunk volume is decent, though less than Mercedes’ S-Class.
Government Fuel Economy for our XJ are 16 city/23 highway on premium fuel. We hit a respectable 20.0 miles per gallon in real world driving. The new XJ has a base price of $72,500, which makes Jag’s flagship a segment bargain. The supercharger adds $15,000 more, with the SuperSport in six figures. On all, the long wheelbase tacks on a few grand additional.
The 2011 Jaguar XJ bridges the gap between two eras beautifully. Never once do classic inspirations and eclectic touches mar the totally modern outcome in the slightest. With extroverted style and performance aplenty, Jaguar’s big cat roars into the 21st century with its claws out.
- Engine: 5.0-Liter Direct-injected V8
- Horsepower: 385
- Torque: 380 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 5.8 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 14.3 Seconds @ 103 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 131 Feet
- EPA: 16 MPG City/ 23 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 20.0 MPG
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined