Review

Jaguar XF saloon

Price  £29,945 - £79,995

Jaguar XF saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Great range of engines
  • Stylish looks
  • Fantastic mix of performance and comfort
Cons
  • Poor rear legroom
  • Petrol engines are expensive to run
  • Interior build quality better on some rivals

At a glance

The greenest
2.2 Diesel Luxury 163PS 4dr £32,945
The cheapest
2.2 Diesel SE 163PS 4dr £29,945
The fastest
5.0 V8 Petrol SC XFR-S 550PS 4dr £79,995
Top of the range
5.0 V8 Petrol SC XFR-S 550PS 4dr £79,995

"The Jaguar XF combines luxury, comfort and handling in an appealing executive car package."

The Jaguar XF is an executive saloon that takes on cars like the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series, and Audi A6. It can be had as a practical estate – called the Sportbrake – and arguably has more stylish looks than its rivals, although rear seat headroom suffers as a result of its swooping lines.

Jaguar offers an excellent range of engines with the XF, so buyers can choose from three diesel and two petrol engines. The basic diesel offers excellent economy, and decent performance, while the top-of-the range 5.0-litre petrol is nearly as fast as a supercar, but has similar running costs to one too.

The XF has a good range of trim levels, with even the cheapest model coming fitted as standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, leather seats, wood trim, as well as automatic headlights and wipers. All models gets nice interior touches such as a gear selector that rises from the centre console and air vents that revolve when you start the car.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.8 / 5

Efficient diesel engine is economical, but petrols are very expensive

If you want a Jaguar XF that is cheap to run then the 2.2-litre diesel is the engine to have. It returns 57.7mpg – with Jaguar saying a range of 800 miles is possible – and CO2 emissions of 129g/km for road tax of £100. BMW and Audi do offer slightly more economical rivals, however.

The 3.0-litre diesel offers better performance, with a corresponding drop in economy. The 3.0-litre petrol can only manage 29.4mpg, but even that doesn’t sound too bad when you look at the 5.0-litre petrol's economy – the official figure stands at 24.4mpg.

Servicing costs will be high too, but shouldn’t be any worse than other premium brands.

Interior & comfort

4.4 / 5

The XF boasts superb levels of comfort and an interior that feels special

Touches such as a gear selector that appears from the central console, as well as the air vents that swivel into position, give the Jaguar a sense of occasion that its rivals struggle to match, though parts of the interior feel cheaper than they would in a BMW, Mercedes, or Audi.

The XF's interior gets a mixture of leather and wood that avoids the garishness that can be found in German models, and for good measure Jaguar also throws in classy blue interior lighting.

Comfortable suspension is a Jaguar speciality and the XF glides over road surfaces, while also resisting body lean in the corners. Buyers can also choose to spec Jaguar's Adaptive Dynamics system, which monitors the road surface and adjusts the car's suspension to be as cosseting as possible. It's worth noting that the larger 19 and 20-inch wheels do nothing to help the car's ride comfort – we'd stick with the smaller wheels if you want a smooth ride.

The Jaguar comes with a standard-fit touchscreen, although some might find it less intuitive to use compared to the systems found in rival cars.

Practicality & boot space

3.4 / 5

Boot and interior space are about average except for lack of rear headroom

The XF's 540-litre boot is on a par with the Mercedes E-Class’ and 20 litres bigger than the BMW 5 Series’, while folding down the rear seats reveals a maximum load capacity of 963 litres. Split-folding rear seats are a cost option, although this is also the case on the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.

While space up front is excellent, headroom in the back can be tight, thanks to the Jaguar's sloping roofline. Space in the middle of the back seats can also be a little snug, and the XF can’t match either the Mercedes E-Class or the BMW 5 Series in this respect.

Reliability & safety

3.4 / 5

Top class reliability but only a four-star safety rating

Jaguar has worked hard to bring quality levels up in recent years and the XF finished a commendable 15th out of 150 cars in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, meaning it came ahead of key rivals such as the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6, and just slightly behind the BMW 5 Series. The problem is that despite its overall place in the chart, it received its worst score in the reliability category, coming 80th out of 150, so there is obviously some work for Jaguar to do in this regard.

The XF only got a four-star ranking for safety from Euro NCAP (its main rivals all get five stars) despite it coming fitted as standard with a front and rear seat belt reminder buzzer, six airbags and electronic stability control.

Engines, drive & performance

4.1 / 5

Equally good at tackling a winding country road and cruising on a motorway

One of the strongest traits of the Jaguar XF is its ability to offer fun-driving characteristics along with a comfortable suspension setup.

Engine options include the 2.2-litre diesel, which can be had with 161bhp or 198bhp, the 3.0-litre diesel that gets either 238bhp or 272bhp, and the 3.0-litre petrol that has 337bhp. Even the slowest model can get from 0-60mph in less than 10 seconds, while the fastest 5.0-litre petrol can do it in just 4.4 seconds. The 272bhp diesel offers the best compromise, though. It can return 45mpg, while also getting from 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds.

Price, value for money & options

3.6 / 5

Competitive price and comes with a generous level of equipment

Even the basic Jaguar XF comes fitted as standard with climate control, cruise control, powerful automatic xenon headlights, auto wipers, and a touchscreen infotainment system, which controls the a powerful stereo. SE Business trim adds to that with a sat-nav system, while the XF Luxury gets a higher-grade leather interior, attractive mood lighting, and six-way electric adjustable seats versus the four-way adjustable seats in the more basic cars.

Halfway up the range sits the new Jaguar XF R-Sport, which is designed to look like the range-topping Jaguar XFR, but for a fraction of the cost. It is available with the 2.2-litre diesel and 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines, and adds sporty bumpers and a small bootlid spoiler, while inside there's lots of R-Sport badges and a set of R-Sport door sills.

Further up the range, there are the Premium Luxury and Portfolio models, which add even more standard equipment and more luxurious touches – but you'll pay handsomely for the privilege.

Jaguar usually has some decent finance offers available, so it's worth checking the manufacturer's website, especially because Jaguars are likely to lose their value quicker than the German alternatives.

What the others say

4.8 / 5
based on 4 reviews
  • 5.0 / 5
    "A brilliant combination of sporting saloon and luxury limo. Refined, classy and well equipped, it's among the best executive cars you can buy."
  • 5.0 / 5
    "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. "
  • 4.0 / 5
    "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..."
  • 5.0 / 5
    "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."

Last updated 
8 May 2014

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