We thought long and hard before making the XJ a winner. Not because it’s not worthy, but because it’s expensive and not an obvious tow car. In the end, it was just so much more capable than its rivals that it had to win.
Stability and ride comfort don’t always go together. Cars with rear suspension that’s firm almost to a fault in normal driving are often the most composed when towing. But the XJ combines unflappable stability with limousine comfort.
The suspension’s alchemy was worth its weight in gold through the lane-change test. The XJ changed direction quickly, gripping hard and holding the intended line. However much the caravan slid behind it, the Jag wouldn’t budge. Data from the ATC shows how much G-force was generated in the van, but the smooth curve of the graph speaks volumes as to how undramatic the Jaguar made this manoeuvre.
The XJ eats up the straights just as well as it tackles corners. The 2.7-litre diesel musters 204bhp and 321lb ft of torque, enough to punch car and caravan from 30-60mph in 12 seconds. The engine is so smooth and quiet that it’s easy to miss how quickly you’re travelling. Average fuel economy of 35.0mpg on the combined cycle is surprisingly good, and while CO2 emissions of 214g/km won’t win any green awards, it’s a lot lower than many large 4x4s.
A little tight on head- and legroom in the back, in other respects the Jag is surprisingly practical, swallowing every item of test luggage bar the Aquaroll and one small bag.