Jaguar XF saloon
Price: £29,945 - £79,995
- Great range of engines
- Stylish looks
- Fantastic mix of performance and comfort
- Poor rear legroom
- Petrol engines are expensive to run
- Interior build quality better on some rivals
"The Jaguar XF combines luxury, comfort and great handling in an executive car that gets almost nothing wrong."
The Jaguar XF is one of the finest executive cars on the market. It's luxurious and comfortable but also offers pin-sharp handling and excellent performance. There's an efficient diesel engine that offers low running costs, a more practical XF Sportbrake estate model, and sporty XFR and XFR-S performance versions.
The XF is also one of the best looking cars in class; rivals like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series are handsome machines, but are quite conservatively styled and are a relatively common sight on the road. Jaguar has gone for a bolder design with the XF, and it definitely helps it to stand out from the crowd.
The interior feels special, too, with a mixture of leather and wood trim plus ambient lighting and a brilliant rotating gear selector that emerges from the centre console when you turn on the ignition.
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides. Headroom in the rear seats is relatively poor. The BMW 5 Series offers lower running costs and its interior feels as though it's slightly higher quality – even if it's a little dull. But even with these drawbacks, there's something about the XF that makes it feel a bit special. So even though it doesn’t quite match some rivals on paper, you soon forget about that when you see it in the metal. And owners certainly have no complaints – the Jaguar XF came third in the 2013 Driver Power satisfaction survey, easily beating every other executive saloon model.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Efficient diesel engine is economical, but petrols are very expensive
The star engine of the range is a 2.2-litre diesel that will do 57.7mpg and return 129g/km CO2. That puts it on a par with the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class. It's not quite as efficient as the 518d SE BMW 5 Series, which boasts economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km, but it's not far off – and Jaguar say it's capable of covering 800 miles on a single tank of diesel. The XF is also available with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel and a 3.0-litre V6 petrol, which both offer stunning performance but rather less value for money when it comes to running costs. The larger diesel engine will do 47.1mpg and emit 159g/km CO2 and the petrol cuts that to 29.4mpg with emissions of 224g/km CO2. If you’re considering the supercharged Jaguar XFR or XFR-S, then you’ll need a monthly petrol budget equivalent to the GDP of a small sized country – both models return just 24.4mpg.
Insurance and servicing costs will be quite high, too, although that's standard for this class of car, and you can at least depend on good service – Jaguar came third out of 32 in the manufacturer rankings in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.
Interior & comfort
The XF boasts superb levels of comfort and an interior that feels special
Jaguar has done a fantastic job crafting the interior of the XF and it features plenty of neat little touches that mark it out from other cars. Turn on the ignition and a barrel-shaped gear selector glides up from the centre console (you then twist it to operate the smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox), and the previously hidden air-vents swivel into position. It's a touch theatrical but it's also very cool – and always gets an admiring comment from passengers who haven’t previously experienced it.
There's also a touchscreen display, blue ambient lighting and a mixture of wood and leather trim. It all adds up to a cabin that feels special, rather than just a place to sit in while you go from A to B. The seats are very comfortable, too. And the Jaguar XF's ride has been carefully tuned to balance performance and comfort. There's an Adaptive Dynamics system available as an optional extra, which makes constant small adjustments to the suspension to smooth out bumps and improve stability, which improves comfort levels even further. The only black spot on the XF's name when it comes to comfort is the limited headroom in the rear seats – passengers that are six foot or taller are going to feel a little cramped.
Practicality & boot space
Boot and interior space are about average except for lack of rear headroom
The XF has a decent-sized boot with a capacity of 540 litres. That's on a par with the Mercedes E-Class and 20 litres bigger than the boot of the BMW 5 Series. Fold the rear seats flat and space expands to 963 litres, so there's no shortage of room. Split-folding rear seats don’t come as standard – you’ll have to pay extra if you want the added versatility, which is a shame - but it's an optional extra on the E-Class and 5 Series, too.
There are plenty of storage bins and cubbyholes in the cabin as well. As previously mentioned, headroom above the rear seats is a bit scarce – that's down to the XF's sloping roof line, which gives it a fantastic sporty profile with this compromise to practicality. If you’re buying an executive saloon to be driven in, rather than to drive, then you’re probably better off with one of the XF's rivals. The middle seat isn’t that usable, either, because there's a large bump in the floor, so for longer journeys, the XF is really only going to seat two passengers in the rear in any kind of comfort. One other, admittedly minor, complaint is the touchscreen – it's a bit fiddly to use, which can get a little frustrating.
Reliability & safety
Top class reliability but only a four-star safety rating
Jaguar owners are among the most satisfied car owners in the country. The brand came third out of 32 in the manufacturer chart of the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, which is a seriously impressive feat. By comparison, Mercedes managed fifth, Audi came 10th, and BMW could only manage 15th. To add to that impressive result, the XF was ranked the third best car to own, making it easily the most highly-rated executive car. There have only been two minor recalls – both issued way back in 2008 – and the car feels very well put together.
The Jaguar was only given a four-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, though, while all its rivals managed to score the maximum five stars. It was mainly let down by a poor score for pedestrian protection, but it comes with a full complement of airbags, plus electronic stability control as standard and automatic cruise control.
Engines, drive & performance
Equally good at tackling a winding country road and cruising on a motorway
One of the best things about the XF is how well it manages to combine sporty performance and comfort. The steering is fantastic and offers plenty of feedback, there's plenty of grip and it corners like a dream. The standard XF comes with five engine choices. You can have the 2.2-litre diesel with 161bhp or 198bhp, the 3.0-litre V6 diesel comes with either 238bhp or 272bhp, and the 3.0-litre petrol engine has 337bhp. Even the lowest powered engine offers plenty of performance, though, and will do 0-60mph in less than 10 seconds, which is plenty of power for overtaking on the motorway or pulling away briskly at a busy junction. And the 3.0-litre V6 diesel is genuinely fast, with the higher-powered version able to go from 0-60mph in under six seconds. Fortunately, the pace and handling doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, as the suspension is cushioned enough to soak up bumps. And it's even better when fitted with the Adaptive Dynamics suspension system.
Price, value for money & options
Competitive price and comes with a generous level of equipment
The XF is well priced compared to rivals and comes with lots of kit as standard. Even entry level models come with xenon headlights, cruise control, climate control, electrically-adjustable seats, leather interiors and touchscreen sat-nav. Resale values should hold up well, too, as Jaguar has pretty much reinvented itself over the last decade, and its cars have never been more desirable. All models come with a comprehensive three-year warranty.
What the others say
"For its part, the XF is still a class act, and it now comes with an engine to match its looks. It's still the most elegant executive car choice, but it's no longer the best..."
"Handling is improved by the Dynamics pack, but there is a small reduction in driver comfort. With the system the XF is more positive on the way into a corner, particularly with the nose, but you will feel ridges and bumps a little more."
"A brilliant combination of sporting saloon and luxury limo. Refined, classy and well equipped, it's among the best executive cars you can buy."
"Jaguar's ethos is focussed towards premium quality and performance as much as comfort, so there are no low powered engines in the range. Instead there are V6 and V8s delivering the kind of pace you'd expect from a Jaguar. "
Last updated: 29 Jan 2014