By MATT DEGEN
The Orange County Register
We all keep hearing that the recession is over, but let’s face it: With rising gas prices, increasing food costs and stagnant employment figures, we’re still feeling plenty of pain in our pocketbook.
To cope, most of us are cutting costs in our own relative ways: Goodbye, Las Brisas, hello Chipotle; So long Nordstrom, welcome Tar-jay.
Perhaps you were in the market for a quarter-million-dollar Bentley Mulsanne, but are having second thoughts. May I direct your attention to the Jaguar XJL, a car that will coddle you in plushness and power, all for a mere $80,000, a fraction of the price of that aforementioned U.K stablemate.
When compared to a Citation private jet, the Jag feels like even more of a deal.
Of course, you could also buy three Ford Taurus sedans with this kind of money, but let’s be realistic: If you’re worth seven figures, you’ll likely be a little more particular about what you drive. In that case, Jaguar’s newly revamped XJ sedan is one cushy cat, boasting finely crafted wood and leather interior and every creature comfort imaginable to coddle driver and passengers alike, from heated and cooled seats to a trunk that can close at the push of a button.
If you want to go even longer on the luxury factor, literally, there is the XJL, whose third character stands for “long,” as in long wheelbase. During my weeklong test-drive of an XJL, I covered hundreds of miles, received numerous thumbs-ups on the car’s looks, and only a few times felt like I was a chauffer hustling around some long-legged VIP sitting in back.
The XJL is indeed long. At 206.6 inches, this Jag is stretched an extra five inches over the regular model, and all five of those inches come in the form of rear legroom. One look at the back seat of this elegant car, and you may mistake it for an executive’s jet. During my time with the vehicle, I was tempted to rent out that space to a family of four. While finding where to sleep may have posed logistical problems, a seat at the table would not: This car is equipped with finely polished wooden trays that fold down from the back of the front seats, akin to an airplane. Nice.
Heating and cooling back there also wouldn’t be an issue, as rear passengers can enjoy dual-zone climate control, complete with a digital readout.