Entering the Plastic Age

Jaguar used to be renowned for their warm and inviting cabins. No longer. 

Not bad – for a Nissan. Photo (c)gtautoperformance.com

Jaguar’s current stream of new models is testament to the enormous sums being spent on reinvigorating the brand – unfortunately, the new car’s interiors make every effort to appear as though they were lowest on the list of priorities. A new family of combustion engines doesn’t come cheap. Neither does an all-new aluminium platform. But is that enough to explain quite why the cabins of Jaguar’s new-from-scratch XE, XF and F-pace models are so blatantly disappointing?
Matters regarding style are, of course, highly subjective, which is why this text doesn’t touch the subject of these cars’ lacklustre exterior appearances. Because far more pertinent, and actually alarming, is the way in which JLR management, engineers and stylists have botched the new models’ interiors in such grand style.

Not bad – for a Chevrolet. Photo (c) wheelsage.org

Sharing components, by the way, isn’t the issue, which is why the fact that F-pace and XE have to make do with the very same dashboard isn’t lamentable in itself. It’s that this dashboard isn’t just uninspiring as far as its design is concerned, but that its materials are so disappointing that it’s bordering on the suicidal.

The overall style is actually very much in keeping with the cars’ exteriors, which means Jaguar has chosen a very conservative – demure, actually – approach for the cabin ambience. The previous generation of Jaguars certainly appears positively flamboyant in comparison, as does, astoundingly, the German competition.

Zis is how to do an interior, jawoll! Photo (c) auto guide.com

So what is the problem with all of this? What if people simply prefer a more sombre, matter-of-factly flair than Jaguar had previously striven for? When approached as a case of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, the Jags’ unamusing interiors may at first appear sensible, if it wasn’t for that big, fat, farting elephant in the room: perceived quality.

Just as the German premium brands have taught Clive Repman that what he wants is a car whose interior exudes a flair of clinical, technical excellence, they also pointed out to him that the way plastics feel does matter. A lot.

How JLR could fail on such an astonishing scale to include this part of the German Formula is hard to grasp, and it should cost them dearly, given the vitriolic reception by not so much the motoring press, but an alarming number of prospective buyers who actually had a look at the cars.

All this comes as quite a surprise, given Jaguar’s track record in this area in recent years. Admittedly, perceived quality has never reached Audi levels of credibility of materials, but the X250-generation of XF’s dashboard was an enjoyable deviation from the norm, just as the X351 XJ’s cabin remains among of the nicest in any car currently on sale.

Perplexingly, this is cosy even in black. Photo (c) jaguarforums.com

Tracking down the concrete reasons for Jaguar’s failure in this area is quite difficult, apart from the obvious, ill-advised basic impetus to copy the German brands that’s at its very core.

Issues regarding the funding would be the next best guess, what with the engine and body engineering having taken up enormous chunks of the budget, before the styling department had any chance of asking for an allocation. Yet the brother brand, Land Rover, is doing quite a bit better, employing similar components.

So outright competence appears to be a factor (yet again, sadly). It’s simply unfathomable that the same people who came up with X351’s glamorous, charming cabin could have been in charge of designing these barren surroundings. In hindsight, the F-type’s disappointing cabin should have acted as a warning, but that wasn’t even nearly unappealing enough to prepare anyone for the current crop of uninviting interiors.

The appealing orange plastic paddles should have been interpreted as a shot across the bow. Photo (c) motortrend.com

Jaguar having given up to try and offer a genuine alternative to the Germans’ style is sad enough in itself, but the appalling execution of this imitation programme may actually turn out to be at least as dangerous as having tried to keep on ploughing one’s own furrow would have been.

Facelift time cannot come soon enough for this batch of cars. Und vergesst diesmal wenigstens nicht die Haptik!

Author: Christopher Butt

car design critic // runs www.auto-didakt.com // contributes to The Road Rat magazine // writes a column for Octane France //

63 thoughts on “Entering the Plastic Age”

  1. This is really disappointing. I haven’t been keeping up with things Jaguar it seems. I sort of understood the reasoning behind the XE and, for the entry level Jaguar, I thought that the interior did the job – faint praise I know. But somehow, the completely uninspiring exterior of the new XF seems to have meant that I didn’t even bother looking inside it – I assumed that it would reflect its predecessor inside as well as out, so would have improved on it removing some of the coarser details. That dashboard is a very bleak prospect – Sitting in a showroom looking at it, would I be seduced? No, I’d walk, I’m afraid – for me the interior is the bit of the car I see most, so I want a good part of my money to go into it.

    History seems to teach people in the car industry nothing. Under Ford (despite groans from some at DTW) the X300 cleverly extended XJ40s life. But, because of its success, Jag/Ford decided to create its X350 successor in its image, but its time had passed. Similarly the first XF was an expedient reworking of the S-Type. It did its job, but it was neither that effective to justify using it as a template for its successor, nor did it need to have its most praised aspect, the interior, to be downgraded.

    I’ve looked at that image several times, and even checked on Google to see if it is unfairly unflattering. It isn’t.

  2. The forms are untidy. The centre console and IP don’t form a distinct whole. I don’t care for BMW or Mercedes either. Volvo are getting it right and at a lower price so are Opel and Hyundai.

  3. And I know that moaning on about the good old days when steering wheels were round both shows my age and ignores the fact that I drive a car with an oval one, but I do find the lack of concentricity between boss and rim very unsightly.

  4. I don’t really care about perceived quality. Or, perhaps, my expectations are too lofty… to me, the plastics in an Audi or Mercedes are pragmatic, not pretty, so I don’t see Jaguar as much worse. Give me a good driving position, comfortable seats, good visibility, good ergonomics, clear instruments and tactile touch points and I’ll be fine. I lament the trend towards bulky dashboards but I suppose that infotainment screen has to fit in somewhere.

    What really troubles me are touch screens – a terrible solution on a car – and digital instruments. Why, when the luxury watch market is all about analogue dials (indeed, Apple watch sales are reported to be disappointing), do car makers think digital dials are the ‘premium’ solution?

    And those moving central F-type air vents – so ugly, and so prominent. The orange plastic paddles would definitely trouble me too.

    1. Touch screens on car dashboards are something I dislike as well. Nothing can be actuated without diverting your eyes from the road, not only to see where to touch, but frequently to check that you actually activated the desired function. An ergonomic disaster, and they date so quickly.

    2. Jacomo, I’m not part of the ‘soft touch plastics or bust’ camp myself, as my appreciation of the X351’s cabin, which has been criticised by some for featuring plastics that don’t feel as substantial as the German opposition’s, shows. It’s just that the choice of materials for the XF/F-pace/XE is so evidently poor, coupled with the very, very dull design, that I consider this failing to be a significant one.

      I wasn’t fond of the different variations of the T-shape dashboard during the Ford years either and preferred a modern interpretation of classic Jaguar cabin values. But abandoning those very values en gros is a dangerous move.

  5. Whereas the Ford-era ethos was to encase Jaguar in aspic, the JLR approach increasingly appears to be centred on remaking them into something entirely different. Jaguars in name only: not-Jaguars perhaps. Styling is one thing – (and other views are available here) – but the degree to which Jaguar’s engineering ethos is being degraded, I suspect that before long many of us will end up looking at the Ford era with entirely different eyes.

    Frankly I’m a little bored of the argument oft-posited that Jaguar needed to move with the times and recalibrate for a changed era. Fine. But if you’re going to fling both baby and bathwater you might as well go the whole hog and ditch the brand name while you’re at it.
    A commenter here described the current cars as ‘Rovers’. To be honest I think on balance I’d prefer it if they were badged accordingly. As such they are entirely acceptable. As Jaguars, (for me and I’m far from alone in this), they fall short of adequacy or acceptability.

    1. Why do you say their engineering ethos is being degraded?

      Whatever else you might say about Jaguar, they have invested huge sums since their split from Ford. Further, they seem to have an approach which prioritises good road manners over supposed ‘sportiness’ and a needlessly hard ride. XE/XF and F Pace use a bespokde, strong platform with expensive, independent suspension. This is to be commended.

      I have said elsewhere that their devotion to aluminium appears to be rather myopic, and the mixed-material approach used by others makes more sense. The Ingenium diesel appears, thus far, to be hugely disappointing in terms of real-world efficiency, and the F-type was clearly a compromise (a cut’n’shut XK, rather than an all new approach). So I am certainly not blind to their failings, but I do appreciate what they are trying to do.

    2. Jaguar’s USP since the 1950’s combined agility in roadholding and handling coupled to very high standards of ride comfort and even more importantly, NVH suppression. This was akin to holy orders within Jaguar engineering for decades and one which survived everything BL could throw at them.

      The XF I drive is unrefined, generates far too much road noise and is possessed of a needlessly harsh ride in order to imbue the car with ‘sporty’ responses – characteristics which sound good on paper or in a road test carried out by some track day obsessive. It’s completely inappropriate in a luxury saloon and utterly ruins what would otherwise be a very nice car. I have it on good authority that the new cars are worse still in this respect, especially in the area of NVH.

      I’d call that a degradation of Jaguar’s engineering ethos. Remove that, and they simply aren’t Jaguars any more.

    3. I think you might be onto something here Eoin. Obviously we are just stubbing our toes putting the boot in to Jaguar’s desire to be ‘German’. So the only real problem is the name. I’m in mind of the lager revolution in the UK many decades back, and the attempts by British breweries to package their piss poor product to appeal to new found pro-continental snobbery. Hence ‘Greenall’ brewery produced ‘Grünhalle’ lager.

      So DTW’s new Summer Competition (1st prize a year’s free access to the website) is to suggest a suitable new name to complete Jaguar’s transformation to being the 4th German Premium Brand. Obvious choice is Jäger, but there actually was a Jaeger brand in 30s USA. I don’t believe CopyCat translates literally into German, so Nachahmer misses the joke. I’ll suggest Dinkelberger, just because I like the sound of it, but I’m sure others with fuller linguistic virtuosity, could do better.

  6. I think this assessment is both broadly correct and yet unfair. Yes, some of the plastics on show in the XE are disappointingly poor; the tops of the doors for example would be sub-par in an Astra. But the broad architecture is good and the tactile elements are well worked.

    It is also unfair to compare the XE interior to a specced up Audi interior, such as the one shown. To do so is to fall into a trap set for all journalists, who only ever see cars with all the right options boxes checked. Poke around in a boggo A4 2 litre diesel and you will wonder where Audi’s reputation for quality came from, such is the hectare of nondescript black plastic and silver painted plastic.

    The real yardstick for the XE is of course the 3 Series and again, in rep special 20d guise, the interior materials are abysmal. That may be addressed with the forthcoming new 3 Series and Jaguar might suddenly find themselves being left way behind; but then again, I thought BMW would do the same when they introduced the current model, and they didn’t.

    The real problem here is not the XE per se, but the chasm between those with preconceived expectations of what a Jaguar should be, and those who don’t. Thanks to all those wasted years of nowhere products, the latter outnumber the former by an almost exponential factor. In the eyes of the lay person, history is moot; Jaguar are effectively a new brand. The XE is thus a new product competing in a market defined almost solely by the 3 Series. By that yardstick the XE is not to be found particularly wanting, especially if the user takes some interest in the driving experience, which a 3 Series driver may well do.

    That BMW seem to be doing their damnedest to mill away at the facets (driving quality, conservative design values) that made their cars so popular in the first place presents Jaguar with the opportunity to recast themselves as the enthusiast’s favourite. To that end I for one am happy that Jaguar are allocating their limited resources as they have done. And the number of XEs I see on the road suggests that their gamble may be paying off.

    1. I really don’t find the XE too bad, and generally I do think it deserves to do well. But the XF interior is pretty poor surely?

    2. Chris, I consider the A6 to be a fair comparison to the XF. And in all cases (also the Jags’), I haven’t chosen low-spec examples.

      And please don’t for a moment think I’m wanting to do Jaguar in. I wish them well, and I understand that any company needs to go with the times (which is something I was vocally demanding myself during the Ford years), but the German brands have one relatively recently started diluting their ‘brand DNA’ – before that, they kept on nurturing the qualities they stood for, from which they are continuing to benefit to this day.

      Now, given Jaguar’s more troubled history, it’s clear that such an evolutionary approach doesn’t work. But to ignore one of the brand’s core values (‘they’re really a lot more pleasant to sit inside than the Germans’) is plain ignorant. I don’t need burr walnut everywhere, but a Jag’s interior has got to feel more elegant than a BMW’s in order to sustain its very right to exist in the marketplace.

  7. The real turd in the bedsheets for the XE is the new C Class, which demonstrates a number of traditional Jaguar brand values (romantic shapes*, cosseting interior**, smooth*** ride). Who would have predicted that, 20 years ago?

    *or melted, you choose
    **in the right spec

    1. The C-Class is the new S-Type in a more acceptable form. The market loves it.

    2. Chris I am much more in agreement with your assessment here.

      I have read unfavourable reports of the much-vaunted C class cabin being not all it seems, with infuriating squeaks and pieces of trim feeling insubstantial or poorly fitted. Perceived quality is often a form of deception, it seems.

  8. Paul H: ergonomic research has got to a high level in its theory and practise; the methodology is rigorously designed. At the same time car makers are selectively walking away from key insight on buttons and controls and, in
    my view, seating. I’d be interested to know if there are data on accidents related to touch-screens. Even if they are used for non-essential you can’t be sure a distracted driver won’t go into some deep menu when bored.

  9. In terms of developmental priorities, the XE is diametrically opposed to the X-Type. The older car had Ford carry over architecture and engines, with a bigger spend (relative to total budget) on the interior. The XE boasts a bespoke architecture and engines, with a smaller spend (relative to total budget) on the interior. We all know how the X-Type turned out, and personally I would rather Jaguar spent their limited pot on engineering.

    1. I see you’re aiming for a substance vs. surface kind of argument, and I do get your point. But with a Jaguar, interior ambience has been a main selling point since the days when Sir Billy was still walking the halls at Browns Lane.

      So while I’m delighted that the XE isn’t based on some tarted-up leftover Ford platform, I don’t think Jaguar should be so neglectful when it comes to the interiors. After all, Audi, who were in a similar position as Jaguar some 15 years ago, more or less built up their prestige on the shoulders of their interiors.

      Given modern ‘premium’ cars actually don’t differ all that much from one another in engineering terms, soft factors, such as styling, infotainment et al actually matter an awful lot. Particularly when a manufacturer’s all-new engine seems to be found wanting (like the Ingenium diesel), a nice cabin ambience could act as a welcome decoy.

    2. There is also an argument that the main reason Jaguar of old could spend so much on the interior was by short changing other parts of the development.

      I am reminded of TVR under the Peter Wheeler era. Everyone wondered how they could offer such superb styling and interiors. It was because they stress tested their cam shafts by throwing them off the office fire escape.

      This is of course a gross simplification of Jaguar’s situation. The simple truth is that the marque could not carry on as a purveyor of bosomy but flakey cars. Buyers are ruthless now and Jaguar simply cannot afford to fail.

    3. There’s a fair few comments regarding its lack of refinement and disappointing real-world consumption figures around.

    4. Regarding NVH, I gather it is a bit of a rattler. This is probably due to a lack of insulation rather than inherent coarseness, but is still a touch disappointing.

      Regarding MPG, Autocar recently assessed the real world figures of the XE versus the competition and found that yes, it achieved nowhere near the claimed figures. Then again, neither did the competition. What car does? The Jag figured slightly worse than BMW and Mercedes, but better than Audi.


    5. Chris, you’re really making it appear as though I’m a Jag basher for the sake of it…

      What I’m trying to say is that nobody will buy an XE because of the Ingenium engine. It’s neither the best engine in the world, nor the worst, which is fine. Its handling, I’m told, is very fine indeed, and its exterior styling may be bland, but its proportions are really rather nice (unlike an X-type’s). But is that quite enough to succeed in our present marketplace?

      I don’t want an XE with the X-type’s cabin, but I’d at the very least expect something on par with the X250 XF’s interior. That car’s plastics weren’t Audi-grade either, but the styling was pretty distinctive and lent it a bit of character. And that’s the least Callum and his boys should be aiming for.

      Having talked to a few people who were genuinely interested in getting themselves an XE or XF, I can say that the dull ambience and lack of perceived quality is something that registers with non-dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts, too. And that – albeit obviously not representative – is a bit worrying.

    6. I would certainly never characterise you as a Jag basher, Kris. You speak from love, and that is why you find the current position so galling.

      The lack of perceived quality is a worry, yes, but I can pretty much guarantee that Jaguar made their calculations based on cold, hard and poorly textured realities. I have had some limited dealings with Jaguar and the one thing I can say about the company is that they have become ruthless. Jaguar is pretty much the last bastion of mainstream British car making, and as such there is a committed focus on turning the company round. Decisions are now made based on commercial reality rather than the fanciful dreams of the Jaguar Owners Club. The very idea of a Jaguar diesel CUV would have been anathema 15 years ago; now Jaguar are planning their second. Things change because they have to.

    7. With all due respect to the harsh realities and your own stance, I remain convinced that my criticism isn’t just a symptom of nostalgia. As much as I’d like it to be the case, I understand that cars cannot be made the same way as they used to.

      But brand value is one of today’s most important currencies of the automotive world, and Jaguar appears to have somewhat lost sight of this. Jaguar is a style brand, has always been about style. Yes, some of the engineering was exceptional, just as some of the build quality was objectionable. But buying a Jaguar has always been a decision that’s been driven by aesthetics to a far higher degree than with other manufacturers’ products. What’s a Jag without style, I ask you?

      A Jag without style is a like a Porsche with a dreadful engine and crap handling. It’s a brand without substance. Which is why looks do matter.

    8. The X-Type was Jaguar’s Lancia Beta. Not in the manner you might think, although both cars became synonymous with failure and ignominy, but because both were densely engineered cars which were tarred by parts-bin jibes, yet shared little with their donor vehicles. Parts commonality between X-Type and Mondeo at launch was 19%. To suggest the interior was prioritised over the mechanical spec is incorrect. I don’t particularly care for the X-Type, but the parts sharing thing was never the problem for me. The styling was and I’d include the interior style in that.

      Regarding the current XE/XF twins and NVH, I suspect the issue stems from the all-alloy construction. Aluminium is notoriously difficult to attenuate from an NVH perspective. Clearly JLR either haven’t the capabilities or simply don’t see it as a priority. As you say Chris, JLR are ruthless and their prerogative is to make money.

      Nevertheless, I stand by my assertion. Not-Jaguars.

    9. Eoin: Was it you who suggested that todays Jaguars are more like modern Rovers? I thought that was quite a pertinent comment, as funnily enough, Jaguar now boasts quite a few ex-Rover staffers within their ranks. I would regard the XE as the Rover 600 replacement that never was, which is not meant as faint praise as the Rover 600 was a very good car. Certainly the interior aesthetic is closer to the Rover 200 aesthetic than any Jaguar, which is also perhaps a hang over from Land Rover side of the business. I also remember that the 600 was launched in a deep burgundy, which is the only colour I ever see XEs in.

  10. If I have little to say on this topic it might be because I don’t see Jaguars around here, the second city of one of the world’s wealthiest per capita countries. I have seen one XE and if I’ve seen the new XF I didn’t notice. It looks the same as the old one. An XJ might roll by; they do so with the same frequency as Bentleys.

    1. Actually I find the 2nd gen XF looks too much like the XE. I still struggle to tell them apart at times.

    2. Laurent: I am much the same with the 5 Series, I have to look twice to differentiate it from the 3 Series. The new C and E Classes are also doppelgängers down to the lights. I think Mercedes took the same design and pro-ed it up 110% on the Xerox. Take the panels off and the same components are probably held apart with washers.

    1. The mention of cigars has given me an idea – can somebody explore the XE/XF clones and report on the quality of the ash tray?

      I think that might settle this argument once and for all time.

    2. Jacomo: I’m afraid you’ll search in vain for an ashtray in either car. Another symptom of falling standards, some might argue. I however couldn’t possibly comment.

      Regarding similarities I struggle telling XE’s from XF’s – from the front they are virtually indistinguishable. Ditto C-Class/E-Class. In fact the only differential between Benzes is the falling body crease down the flanks of the C versus the linear one on the E and of course the badge on the boot. Sizewise, there must be millimetres between them. I don’t have that problem with BMW’s. The 5 looks quite distinct from the 3, which has always been an ugly lump of a thing.

    3. If there is no ashtray then I am swapping sides in this debate and denouncing this rubbish forthwith.

      As for BMWs, I agree that the current 5 is a bloater. As an owner of the previous gen 5 series, I find this very disappointing. I think the 3 just about retains enough tension to look interesting, and as I have said previously the slightly low rent cabin doesn’t really bother me (although the 5er’s dash looks much nicer).

    4. The E-Class is now very like the C-Class – I rode in one last night and I admit to finding it ‘special’ (in a slightly gauche way) inside and ride very nicely on air springs. The dash cowling for the IP and Infotainment screens is very brutally appended to the top of the dash though. And the interior strip of mood lighting was a bit distracting and naff – giving a choice of 64 colours …. purple on this occasion. It left a very warm and deluxe impression on me, though.

    1. Actually, to be more specific, it’s when I see a 2nd gen XF that I have to look twice as the styling isn’t as distinctive as it used to be. And yes colour probably plays a part in the confusion (most of those I’ve seen so far were dark).
      But when I see an XE I have no doubt that it is the smaller model.

      I have no problem distinguishing a 3-series from a 5 generally (from a reasonable distance that is). As for Mercedes’ C and E, I haven’t seen the latter in the metal yet (of have I?) so I feel I can’t comment.

      Finally, I should ask that references to Xerox should be added to the list of banned words (this isn’t TWBCM, FFS).

    2. For the love of God Chris, you’re playing with fire. Don’t you realise you should never antagonise an eagle? You’ll end being whisked away to his eyrie – and nobody’s come back from there…

    3. What about pro-ing something up in Photoshop? Or a different metaphor entirely… overfilled balloons? A fatter identical twin? Same shoe in a larger size?

    4. Different sized saucepans? A Big King Pot Noodle? One tit larger than the other? One of those weirdly large crisps you sometimes find in a packet?

  11. Surely the design community’s habit of referencing matryoshka dolls is worst of all?

  12. UK review site Carbuyer recently posted a comparison test between a 2016 E-Class, BMW 5, Volvo S90 and Jag XF. They described the Jag’s interior as dated and suggested it was the weakest aspect of the car, which they otherwise rated highly. This is a car that’s barely a year on the market.

    A trim enhancement programme cannot come quickly enough.

    1. I really can’t take the ‘run out of money’ excuse. It’s mad to have come as far as Jaguar have managed over the past few years, then not go that bit further. It reeks of the parsimony that did for the British industry in the first place. The ‘don’t worry about that, the punters won’t notice’ attitude, the inability to put in that extra bit of developing and refining that transforms adequate into very good.

      Also there are two points, one is quality, the other is design. I’ve said before here that good design doesn’t cost more than bad. Of course that is a flawed maxim, as are most (I’ll spend a bit more time and try to improve it), but irrespective of material quality, a bit of imagination in the interior wouldn’t have blown the budget would it Mr Callum?

    2. Do regular car-buying people ‘get’ the benefits of XE’s reportedly excellent chassis more easily than the pleasures of carefully designed and creatively styled cabin? I doubt it, but maybe the reasoning was that people would read about XE’s great handling in the favourite car magazine and then go and buy the car, regardless of what they themselves might feel.

      By the way: today, I got to see my first XE with a leaper on it. It was attached at pretty much the exact centre of the bonnet. How delightful.

  13. Is it possible that the designers sincerely thought it was good? Candidly, I really sometimes have a problem seeing “dated” unless it’s really old. The forms of car interiors shown here aren’t really nice but I can’t see how they are “dated” – examples please? That’s not rhetoric on my part. I’d like to know which bits count as dated. Can journalists who journal not design for a living really detect this kind of attribute? Or is it a word that floats up to express something else?

    1. There are things which date things. The exposed screw heads on my Citroen dash for instance. But, otherwise, with the arrogance that we find it hard to avoid, which is that even if some things aren’t perfect, we are invariable better informed than those who went before us, if we see something that doesn’t seem up to the mark, we equate ‘not that smart’ with ‘dated’. I’ll have another look at the XF and ask myself if it’s actually ahead of the curve and that today’s swoopy dashboards will look more dated than it soon. I do admit that I find modern dashboards try far too hard to entertain, when they should be discreet. Based on that, maybe the XF’s is better than I thought – for me but, fortunately or unfortunately for the motor industry, the Sean Patrick mark of commendation can be a death knell for a car – see Fiat Multipla and Nissan Cube UK sales.

    2. You ask if dated is a word used to describe something else. I would suggest it is called Disappointment. I think there is an expectation from the press that a Jaguar should be at least as impressive inside as outside. I have no doubt the dash layout works well from a functional perspective, but as Kris incisively pointed out, aesthetic concerns matter a good deal more when it comes to anything with the Coventry kitty emblem attached – no matter which direction it’s pointing.

      Regarding the term ‘dated’ – surely good design doesn’t really date?

    3. I can imagine the ‘dated’ attribute being closely related to ‘not so nice materials’ or ‘lower perceived quality’. We tend to believe that narrow gaps or nice surfaces are a sign of modernness.

  14. A 1993 car like a Mondeo has unfashionable large sweeps. That’s easy to see as dated. A 2003 BMW 5 has, perhaps, a clunky control screen and after that I can’t articulate anything else. A 2013 car? I don’t see how anyone can point to something from that that wouldn’t be acceptable now. Issues of material (plastic grades, assembly) are quality-related and not to do with date other than some methods of assembly seem to fade from use. That’s very abstract, to my view.
    I think the term “dated” is used too freely. Those interiors might be less than satisfactory. “dated” doesn’t describe it. Not until 2026, anyway.

  15. Slightly substandard NVH due to advanced technology, risking positive driving feel?

    Restrained over tastelessly gaudy design?

    Interior where ergonomics and honesty over the use synthetic materials is preferred?

    Sounds like I might have finally found a likely candidate to replace my Legend, when it finally burns out – contrary to Elton John’s reassurances. Not sure Jaguar’s AWD system is yet quite as advanced, though.

    I admit it’s a slight loss to design, since I’ve long believed that only the British ought to be allowed to put dead cows and trees into car interiors, by order of the Taste Police. And grounds of practiced tradition, too; the slab of Japanese elm in the aforementioned Legend has a different harmonic frequency from the petrochemical condensate upon which it is mounted and thus can squeak under certain meteorological conditions.

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