Jaguar XF Review logo

Jaguar XF Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2015
      Body type
      Premium
      Fuel type
      Diesel, Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Stylish and sharp-handling saloon”

Best bits

  • Brilliant handling balance
  • Generously equipped
  • Lots of safety features

Not so great

  •  No plug-in hybrid option
  • Iffy interior quality
  • Coarse 2.0-litre diesels

Read by

Jaguar XF frontright exterior

Overall verdict

Jaguar XF front interior

On the inside

Jaguar XF backright exterior

Driving

Jaguar XF gear switch

How much does it cost to run

Jaguar XF backleft exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Now Jaguar sells so many SUVs that it’s easy to forget what made the brand famous - big, beautiful saloon cars that were great to look at and thrilling to drive. The XF fits that traditional mould perfectly. It can’t quite compete with newer rivals for outright pace, efficiency or technology, but is still a great all-round package."

Jaguar XF frontright exterior

The XF is a big executive saloon aimed at company car drivers who drive many miles in a year. These business folk want to spend that time in comfort, luxury, and style and the Jaguar delivers that in spades.



This is a very competitive class, however, and rivals from Mercedes, Audi and BMW all feel more advanced and modern inside than the XF does. Their interiors feature more exotic, expensive-feeling materials, and in some areas are simply finished to a higher standard, but its the simple layout that makes the Jaguar easy to use.



Still, what this car lacks in cutting-edge gadgets, it more than makes up for with genuine driving excitement. It’s built from aluminium, which is lighter than steel, so even though this is a large car, it can take on corners and twisty roads with poise and finesse, tackling bends with agility while gliding over any lumps and bumps.



The previous XF was originally only available with big, thirsty V6 and V8 petrol engines, but as fuel economy became increasingly important to fleet managers, the most popular versions are now the 2.0-litre diesels.


Most buyers will be happy with the 180PS model, paired with the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox. In its lowered-powered form this engine is gutless, while the 240PS version is too pricey to recommend. Refinement is not the best though, and these units sound coarse when you try to accelerate in lower gears.


However, once again it feels like Jaguar is one step behind the times. Rivals have offered plug-in hybrids for years in some cases, and the plummeting demand for diesel means having a PHEV is now a must. Sadly, its petrol-powered units are lacklustre, feeling fairly sedate to drive, yet with the running costs of a sports car.


Most rivals make a high-performance variant to get the pulse racing, and with such a superb chassis, we wish Jaguar built a version of the XF that could take on the best from Munich and Stuttgart, as it did before.


It's a very handsome car, but the interior is surprisingly roomy. Passenger space in the front and the back is up there with the class best, with room to seat four large adults or two parents and three kids with ease. The boot is a decent size, but the narrow tailgate and odd shape mean the XF Sportbrake is a lot more practical.


Both models come loaded with equipment, making the 'entry' level Prestige trim good value, as long as you avoid the juicier options, and cheaper insurance costs than most will help keep your annual bills low. Some newer equipment that's becoming popular, such as LED headlights, are optional extras on all versions.


While the XF still stands head-and-shoulders above its rivals when the right piece of road presents itself, it's lagging behind in a number of key areas that will make more of a difference to your ownership experience. 


If you like the looks, and are a private buyer uninterested in low CO2, it's a charming alternative to the norm. For most company drivers, and people who value refinement over handling agility, there are better choices.

Is the Jaguar XF right for you?

A large saloon needs to be comfortable on the commute, yet spacious enough to prove useful for family duty on the weekends. The XF does all of those things, but its speciality is the brilliant way that it drives. 


If you enjoy taking the long route home, then this Jaguar is one of the most rewarding saloons you can buy. Its sharp responses and agile-yet-supple ride mean you can have your cake and eat it. If you don't want to get suckered into paying a lot for extras, the generous standard equipment list will be a real boon.


Some buyers will find this car's simple, traditional cabin a soothing antidote to the tech-laden and ever more complex interiors in premium German saloons, but the fact is that it looks quite dated now, and not as solid.


Company car drivers will also prefer the lower CO2 emissions and cheaper BIK tax rates on this car's rivals, so until the engine range is updated we'd steer clear of the XF unless you really want to pay for the privilege.

What’s the best Jaguar XF model/engine to choose?

The one-two punch of a smooth automatic gearbox and gutsy diesel motor is still a powerful combination in large saloons, and for that reason, we think most buyers are best off with the rear-drive 2.0d with 180PS. It's got enough grunt to feel relaxed on the motorway, striking the best balance between cost and speed.


Yes, it's not likely to be the most popular fuel, but the shockingly high running costs and weaker in-gear stats of the petrols mean they're best avoided. Until Jaguar offers an efficient hybrid, the diesels are the best bet.


Prestige models come with all the kit you'll need, but if you are planning to upgrade, you'll get a lot more for your money by plumping for the luxurious Portfolio trim, instead of the sporty, but sparser R-Sport model.


For those buying used, bear in mind that Jaguar likes to update its cars every year, so the newest car you can afford will usually come with a better standard specification, infotainment system, or a smarter cabin.


What other cars are similar to the Jaguar XF?

The original Jaguar XF was a seminal car for the British brand. It was the first time it had built a credible rival to the big German executives that dominated the reserved spots in business car parks across the UK.


Those same cars, namely the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6, remain the XF's natural rivals. All of them feel more upmarket and modern than the Jaguar does inside, with impressive built-in technology.


Most are also quieter travelling companions on the motorway, with stronger diesel engines that have the Jag licked both in their refinement and fuel economy, but none handles as sweetly (or looks as good) as the XF.


If you're not fussed about driving thrills and merely want to take it easy, the Lexus ES is a fine choice. Its petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain makes it a cheaper company car, and it's less expensive to buy when new.


To match the Jaguar for style, you might be better off with the elegant Volvo S90. This car is safe, modern to sit in, and very comfortable, but the Swedish brand has now axed the diesel engines, so it's now PHEV only.

Learn more

Jaguar XF front interior

On the inside

Jaguar XF backright exterior

Driving

Jaguar XF gear switch

How much does it cost to run

Jaguar XF backleft exterior

Prices, versions and specification