Car buyers are often wary of picking up secondhand luxury vehicles, due to the perception that with so many electronic features and doodads installed, the chances of something breaking down while the vehicle is out of warranty are much greater than that of a standard automobile. This worry especially applies to cars designed in the past few years, which have incorporated ever-increasing amounts of technology in order to better coddle and transport their comfort-seeking drivers.
However, expectations surrounding newer luxury cars are often quite different. Not only do lofty purchase prices create an aura of build quality engineering superiority, but the dealer experience offered by a high-end brand often reinforces a sense of invulnerability to the standard faults that sometimes accompany other types of vehicles. Unfortunately, it seems that from time to time manufacturers introduce so many new features that a few issues slip between the cracks to be discovered by disappointed owners a few months after buying.
A case in point would seem to be the 2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged. The most modern design in the Jaguar lineup and one of its most powerful, the XF Supercharged is positioned as the new face of the company. It has also been stuffed with many gee-whiz style features that seem to exist only to impress the driver and passengers. For example, the vehicle's gear selector is a knob which actually rises out of the center console when the vehicle is switched on, and the glove box opens via a touch sensor that responds to the presence of a finger. Vehicle lights also respond to similar types of controls.
At first glance, it would seem as though these would be amongst the first items in the vehicle to experience failure, but reports coming in from Jaguar XF buyers indicate that the luxury sedan is exhibiting far more serious problems. Faulty window switches, issues with the rear differential and power steering failure have been experienced not only by buyers coming in for servicing at the dealership, but also by automotive magazines performing long term tests on the Jaguar. According to the TrueDelta Car Reliability Survey, even the 2009 Jaguar XF rates at the top of the charts when it comes to the number of warranty repair visits per 100 vehicles per year - more than five times that of the 2008 BMW 5 Series and half again as many as the Cadillac CTS, two of its main competitors.
While many of the failures could be categorized as minor annoyances, they could also very well be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to other issues that might reveal themselves over the course of the next few years. Luxury car buyers would do well to be wary of the XF until the next year's model has been released in order to avoid having to deal with the small issues plaguing current owners. After a decade of positive reliability ratings, Jaguar must work hard on resolving the XF's problems in order to avoid falling into the same spiraling negative reputation for reliability that the brand suffered from in the 1980s and 1990s.