Jaguar XF Saloon (2007 - ) review
Read the Jaguar XF saloon (2007 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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The Jaguar XF is undoubtedly the most stylish car in its class, and some could argue it's one of the best looking cars of any type on the road. The bold and wide grille – which sits low down – harks back to the XJ6 of 1968, and the rear is Aston Martin-esque. Other notable features include LED daytime running lights in the streamlined headlight units and large taillights. The XFR sports saloon has a more aggressive bodykit, featuring a front bumper with large vents, a rear diffuser between four exhaust pipes and a pair of vents in the bonnet.
Jaguar has pulled out all the stops to make the cabin that extra bit special from the moment you press the starter button. The round, gear selector rises, the air vents rotate to the open position and at night the interior glows a calming pale blue. All of the materials used in the cabin are first-rate, from the polished wood inlays to the metallic appliques that finish the interior off nicely. The interior oozes appeal and is one of the best examples on the market, at any price. It mixes traditional style with up-to-the-minute technology brilliantly. The seats are like armchairs and remain comfortable whether you are nipping round to the shops or driving hundreds of miles.
Jaguar cars have never been the roomiest, and the Jaguar XF is no different in that area. Thanks to the sloping coupe-like roofline, headroom in the rear is at a premium. Only the tallest of passengers will be affected, though, and rear legroom is adequate rather than generous. Thanks to the hefty transmission tunnel that runs through the cabin, the XF is best as a four-seater. Boot space is pretty good though, with 500 litres of luggage room, and 923 litres with the seats folded. There’s a smidgeon more boot space in a BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. It’s easy to get a perfect driving position thanks to the electric steering column, and electrically adjustable seats. Due to the narrow windows and high tail, rearward vision isn’t the best. Thankfully rear parking sensors are fitted as standard. Though it will be rare for a Jaguar XF to pull a caravan, it can actually tow a highly reasonable 1,850kg.
Ride and handling
The driving experience is one of the best aspects of XF ownership, with a magic-carpet-like ride and handling that makes you want to attack bends faster and faster. There’s lots of grip, decent turn-in and plenty of feel through the communicative steering. The refinement from all of the engines is top notch and backed up with a silky smooth purr while both wind and road noise are kept in check. The XF is a real motorway-mile muncher too, soaking up the distance with excellent refinement and a serene driving experience, although the lighter 2.2 has a far firmer ride than the larger engined models. The XFR is a four-door supercar, with super sharp handling to match. It comes with Active Dynamics, which alters the balance between ride and handling, and Active Differential, which prevents wheelspin during cornering in order to improve stability
Starting with the least powerful diesel, a 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit, the XF range has no shortage of engines. The 2.2 will be the biggest seller, thanks to its low running costs, but is the least refined of the engine line-up due to noise and rattles at low speeds. Jaguar’s claim that at speed it is as refined as the larger 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit is correct, with the 2.2 feeling more at home on a motorway cruise.The 3.0-litre unit has colossal pulling power, which makes it supremely refined, while the only petrol options are both 5.0-litre V8s. Whether it's in the standard XFR or the white-hot XFR-S, it gives the kind of performance you'd more usually associate with a supercar.
The best-selling 2.2-litre diesel models can average well over 55mpg, and emit 129g/km of CO2, but the Audi A6 offers a cleaner diesel. The 3.0-litre diesels both return 47.1mpg and emit 159g/km, while the petrols emit a wallet-bashing 270g/km and will struggle to stay above 20mpg in everyday use. Used values and insurance groupings are on par with the A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.
Jaguar always seems to do well in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys, with class-leading build quality and a below average number of faults. Jaguar dealers treat their customers well, and owners are generally happy with the XF. Auto Trader’s XF owners currently rate it very highly in their appraisals.
The Jaguar XF scored four out of five in the Euro NCAP crash tests. There’s driver, passenger, side and head airbags, together with a rare feature – a pedestrian deployable bonnet, which pops up in the event of a collision, and is designed to put more space between the person’s head and the solid engine block. In addition, there’s dynamic stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and traction control. Finally, there are ISOFIX child safety seat fasteners for the rear seats. Disappointingly, there isn’t the option of rear side airbags, nor ISOFIX fittings for the front seats.
One of the biggest assets of the XF Sportbrake is that most of the important kit comes as standard. Even the entry-level Luxury model features leather seats and sat-nav, while the R-Sport adds part-suede upholstery, as well as a more powerful stereo and a unique look inside and out. Meanwhile, at the top of the range, Portfolio models come with heated and cooled front seats, extra leather trim and a DVD player.
The Jaguar XF will appeal to buyers who value the driving experience and strive to stand out from those that buy the German premium brands in droves. It’s great to look at, fantastic to drive and cosseting to travel in and the 2.2-litre diesel offers a cost-conscious introduction to the brand.