Jaguar's newest cat is one sleek coupe
The luxury sports coupe segment may be small, but it is populated by some of the sleekest cars around. Jaguars redesigned XK has always been among the sleekest and most elegant sports cars on the market. The all-new 2007 has an arresting shape, but the look is more modern and less emotional.
Woman on Wheels: 2006 Jeep Commander Limited
By Laura Heilig-Trexler
New to the Jeep line this year, the Commander appears to be the companys response to the Hummer, which has grown in popularity despite rising gas costs. Our first impression of this vehicle is that it looks like a cross between the Cherokee and a Hummer that has been tricked out with some nice chrome. While the chrome looks nice, on closer inspection, the fender extensions and chrome bolt heads are plastic. However, the Commander is still an impressive-looking vehicle inside and out that will impress most Jeep aficionados.
We were given the Commander Limited with a light khaki metallic exterior, khaki/graystone interior, and leather trimmed bucket seats. The interior is gorgeous and has doors, a dash and a center console that are accented with chrome and wood. One of our favorite features is the round chrome door handles which resemble bottle openers. The driver and passenger seats are very comfortable with ample leg and head room. One of our passengers, who is rather short, did comment that it was impossible for her to position the headrest on the passengers side so that it was at a comfortable angle for her. Visibility was great all around with the exception of the rearview mirror. The third row seats greatly limit what you can see out the rear window, but with these seats folded down that problem is eliminated.
Comfort level in this vehicle fades the further you are away from the drivers seat. While the Commander claims seating for seven, it is actually only comfortable for five adults. We are assuming the other two they used in their calculations were infants, because no one else could sit comfortably in the third row of seats that has no leg room at all. They are also extremely difficult to get into. The second row of seats, however, does have adequate leg room. Their 40/20/40 arrangement gives them the ability to fold down and tumble forward to give you more cargo room. Both rows of rear seats easily fold down, but this doesnt help much with practical cargo space because the third row of seats cannot be removed at all.
The standard package for the Commander includes: front advanced multistage airbags, side airbags, ABS, 4-wheel traction control, ParkSense rear park assist system, power sunroof, one touch up and down power front windows, tire pressure monitor, AC with rear AC controls, heated power front seats, and power adjustable pedals. The one touch up windows took a little getting used to, but they were very fast and convenient. The placement of the rear climate control buttons for the third row passengers makes them very accessible for children.
The best standard accessories on this vehicle are the ample air vents on the dash, while the worst is the rear window. Each standard area for a vent on the dash is equipped with two fully movable ones, giving much better air flow throughout the vehicle. The rear window opens dangerously fast, and we came close each time we opened it to getting hit in the head. Besides that one problem, the Commander has very thoughtful accessories included with it. We particularly liked that there were plenty of power outlets in the back and ample storage compartments throughout. The front passengers seat even has a large useful tray above the glove compartment.
This Limited was loaded with several option packages that added an in-dash 6 disc CD player equipped with SIRIUS satellite radio, a theft deterrent system, a trailer hitch, roof rack, mini trip computer, a DVD entertainment package, and a full map GPS display navigation CD. The audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel for ease of use, and one year of service to Sirius is included when you buy the car. While we found headphones and the navigation CD in the center console, we never tested its capabilities during our road test. The DVD system hides the remote in with the pull-out screen making it less likely to be misplaced. All of these extra gizmos made our drive more luxurious, but they do come at a price.
Our Commander came equipped with an 8 cylinder 4.7L engine which provided ample power for all of our commuting needs and emitted a nice guttural purr on acceleration. We didnt get to really test the full-time four-wheel drive, but the 5 speed automatic transmission with lockup torque converter in this model responded nicely.
With the continuous increase of gas prices, a big consideration in purchasing a vehicle has to be fuel economy. Our road test averaged 13.1 MPG on nicely paved back roads, but the sticker claims 15 city/19 highway. Frequently filling a 20.5 gallon tank will definitely put a major dent in anyones wallet.
The base model Commander lists for $38,205. The one we tested has a sticker price of $43,525, which includes $1200 for the rear seat entertainment video system, $1200 for the 6CD, full map GPS display navigation radio, $820 for aluminum chrome clad wheels, and over $1300 for other odds-and-ends like the tow hitch, off-road package and the UConnect hands-free communication system. The bottom line is that this is a nice-looking, nicely-equipped vehicle which hands-down is a better choice than the Hummer if you are looking for a status car instead of practicality.
2006 The Auto Page Syndicate
Its hard to mention any Jaguar without dwelling on its looks. The new XK is sleek and lithe, but the aerodynamically efficient nose is considerably less pleasing aesthetically. The oval air intake looks a bit pedestrian for a car whose bloodline is defined by elegance.
Styling is extremely subjective, and I may warm up to the new cars nose in a few months.
The rest of the body is quite stunning. Front and rear glass is steeply raked and large wheels fill the tire openings. Sheet metal swoops and curves give the body its sensuality. Handsome detail work is evident in the taillights and front fender vents. The design is the work of Jaguar design director Ian Callum, who also worked on the Aston Martin DB9. Ford Motor Co. owns both Jaguar and Aston Martin.
The XK is available as a 2+2 coupe and a convertible. A 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission power the car to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. Drivers can change gears manually with paddles on the steering wheel or by nudging the gear lever.
This next-generation XK has an all-aluminum monocoque body structure like that used for the XJ sedan. The body shell is 31 percent lighter and 90 percent stiffer than the previous XK and its steel chassis.
The body and chassis are constructed with aerospace technology. Aluminum panels, castings and extrusions are joined with rivets or bonded with epoxy. The resulting chassis has high strength and low weight.
The interior combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary luxury materials. Finely stitched leather is accented by high-tech trim surfaces including metallic finishes. The test cars woodgrain trim was just this side of gaudy. Good ergonomics, contoured seats and a low waistline make the XK easy to drive.
The instrument clusters round dials flank a high-resolution color display that is split into several zones showing vital information such as gear selection, cruise control information, low-tire-pressure warnings and satellite navigation instructions. You can also display a round-faced clock dial.
The center stack houses a 7-inch touch screen to control climate, audio, navigation, telephone and vehicle personalization settings. I found this system to be much less intuitive and convenient than conventional knobs and buttons, especially for the audio functions.
Bluetooth wireless technology will be offered, as will an Alpine 525-watt surround sound system and Sirius satellite radio.
The all-new anti-lock brake system governs brake pressure of each wheel individually, allowing for more precise control. The ventilated discs are larger than those on the current model.
Other safety aids include bi-xenon headlights that turn slightly as the car is steered, a tire pressure monitoring system, run-flat tires, headrests that protect against whiplash, adaptive cruise control, traction control and vehicle stability control.
Price: The test cars base price was $74,835. Options included the luxury package with 19-inch wheels; heated wood and leather steering wheel; leather door trim and wood gearshift knob; and the advanced technology package, which includes adaptive cruise control and headlights that move with the steering wheel. The sticker price of our tester was $81,300.