Jaguar XF - A Smooth Operator
Jaguar XF - A Smooth Operator
October 28, 2013
At the time of writing, here in this household, we are feeling sad. We are feeling sad because it is today that the XF goes back to Jaguar - storm permitting. Mrs DriveWrite, normally a scrupulously honest woman, asked if we could accidentally misplace the car - possibly in a secret lock-up somewhere in beautiful downtown Swindon because she loved it so much. I immediately put her straight that such a thing was out of the question - we don’t have a secret lock-up; but we have had an excellent week with this car. After our first drive we were impressed (you can recap on the facts and figures here) and our high opinion then has only deepened over the past few days.
The Jaguar XF is a very handsome vehicle. It has a sleek and graceful design which, in our opinion, is preferable to the German competition in this sector. It simply doesn’t have a bad angle. This model is a Luxury edition with a 2.2L 163PS diesel engine. Not massively powerful but it does have sufficient punch needed to overtake. The XF also has useful features like Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control, which makes driving on twisty routes that bit more enjoyable thanks to a sublime chassis, making for fast B Road progress with a poise and confidence that belies the size of the car. Couple this with the smooth, light and precise steering, and the easily modulated brakes all working together to make the XF such a pleasure to drive in every situation. You could drive all day and still want more.
There are paddles if you fancy taking control but frankly I preferred to leave it to the super-smooth ZF eight-speed gearbox. For overtaking, kick down seemed to block-shift to the right gear on almost every occasion.
The Luxury trim adds leather and some tech options but is by no means top of the range. Nevertheless, getting into the stylish and comfortable interior feels special as if the designer wanted the passengers to appreciate it as an experience. This model, though, is built with economy in mind. Performance is perfectly adequate and, for fuel savers, an eco-mode is available. The car is fitted as standard with stop/start. This is a good idea that becomes, it has to be said, slightly irritating. In general it’s fine; it works unobtrusively but there is a nano-second’s delay in the car becoming ready to roll. Under most circumstances that doesn’t matter but, for example, when at busy junctions or roundabouts when a smart take-off is needed, the hesitation is an issue. Never mind - it can be turned off.
We didn’t bother with measuring fuel consumption but the gauge dropped with commendable slowness which signifies that we were getting something near the claimed 50+ mpg across mixed driving.
The list of standard kit is long and it comprises all the things expected at this price point. Others reviewers have said that they did not find the touch screen navigation and infotainment centre to be particularly intuitive. I don’t understand this. DriveWrite is not a great fan of technology for technology’s sake but I found it straightforward and accessible, so there you go.
Keyless entry obviously. The fob stays in your pocket and the door is ready to open when you come alongside. On leaving the vehicle and pressing the lock button on the fob the temptation is always to check if the door is truly locked despite hearing the bleep. It won’t be because you are still there. Walk away and the car is secure.
It is the little refinements like this that make this car a bit of a treat. As already mentioned it has all the tech - Bluetooth, DAB, climate etc, but, if I’m honest, I wasn’t really bothered. This is a Jaguar. It is a magic name that has something of a troubled past but which is now totally back on its game. It is more about those intangible things that make driving a pleasure. This is why both of us, as driver and passenger, enjoyed this car so much over the week and would choose a British built XF over anything else at this price point of around £34,000.
Written by Geoff Maxted / DriveWrite ( and Mrs Drivewrite, of course, without whom etc ).