2014 Jaguar XF
XF is Jaguar’s entry-level sedan but its model lineup, exterior and interior styling, and driving dynamics are anything but entry-level. The storied British automaker is enhancing the XF roster for 2014 with addition of the ultra-high-performance XFR-S. Boasting a 550-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine, this cat can do 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds. Jaguar plans to build just 100 XFR-Ss. The balance of the XF line is unchanged for 2014. It includes turbocharged four-cylinder, supercharged six-cylinder, and supercharged eight-cylinder models. XF downsides include a fussy and confusing audio/climate/navigation setup. And availability of all-wheel drive is confined to the four- and six-cylinder models. Fuel-economy ratings span 18-23 mpg combined. Base-price range is $47,870-$99,895.
2014 Jaguar XJ
With available V-6 and V-8 engines, standard and extended wheelbases, rear- and all-wheel drive, and a high-performance model, the Jaguar XJ goes head-to-head with the likes of the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series. Model-year 2014 updates include a slightly revised rear suspension, “airline style” reclining rear seats, and upgraded audio. Fast and fun to drive, the XJ is also a good value for the money versus its German rivals. Its fiddly infotainment system is an issue, though, and the car’s avant-garde styling might put off more conservative shoppers. Fuel-economy ratings span 18-21 mpg combined. Base-price range is $75,095-$119,895.
2014 Lexus ES 350
Toyota’s luxury brand redesigned its best-selling car for 2013, so the 2014 Lexus ES 350 is largely unchanged. This midsize sedan borrows elements of its basic design from the Toyota Avalon and shares that car’s 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission. An impressive gas/electric hybrid called the ES 300h is also available; learn about it in the CarPreview.com 2014 Electric and Plus-in Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide. The ES is no excitement machine, but that’s not its primary mission. It’s designed to give buyers a comfortable, quiet, well-crafted cabin and a buttery smooth ride, and it delivers in spades. Fuel-economy is rated 24 mpg combined. Base prices start at $37,380.