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Jaguar XF 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the second-generation Jaguar XF with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

When told I'd be test driving the new XF, I wasn't expecting this.

I thought it might have been a special tribute edition of the Ford Falcon in its final year of production, a nod to the XF model made from 1984 to 1988, in much the same way Holden recently did a ‘Sandman' tribute edition of the Commodore.

After all, it was a time when Ford was riding high and could seemingly do no wrong. The XF Falcon had helped topple the Holden Commodore and the victory was sweet.

But this car, of course, has nothing to do with the Ford Falcon's heritage in Australia.

The only things in common: both are four-door sedans and roughly the same size.

But Jaguar has similarly high hopes for its latest executive sedan.

As with other luxury marques such as Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar is anticipating the demise of the big Aussie sedan and local manufacturing will give customers "permission to buy” a luxury badge without ridicule or dissention from their peers.

So, what's it like to drive? Surprisingly good

If you buy a car with a fancy badge, you're no longer taking away local jobs, so the theory goes.

The XF is Jaguar's second luxury sedan arrival in 12 months.

It looks remarkably like its smaller sibling, the recently released XE (also coincidentally named after another classic Falcon). So much so I had to park one next to the other to figure it out for myself.

So here are the hot tips for the anoraks: the headlights have a slightly different shape and internal design, the tail-lights have two semi circles each side instead of one and, from the side view, the XF has an extra window behind the rear doors. The baby XE does not.

Last but not least, the XF gets twin exhaust tips (one on each side of the car). But that's cheating any way, because there is an XF badge on the back.

Common parts? The door handles and mirrors are shared with the XE and a lot of the switchgear inside is used on other Jaguars. But the rest is bespoke, even if it looks like the part has been sourced from another model.

So, what's it like to drive? Surprisingly good.

The all-new aluminium body is about 100kg lighter than its steel-bodied predecessor, and the structure is stiffer, which means the suspension can do its job better.

I could have easily been bluffed into thinking it was a bigger motor

Imagine a car that had gone to Pilates. If the core is strong, the limbs can work at their best.

Meanwhile, the 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol tested has more urge than we were expecting. In fact, had no-one told me it was such a small engine I could have easily been bluffed into thinking it was a bigger motor. It got my heart racing at least.

As is the case with car electronics these days, there are any number of driving modes from "coma” to "manic” (my words, not Jaguar's). I settled for "comfort”. If you want manic, simply push the pedal on the right.

The engine hooks up well to the eight-speed auto. It's never far away from being in the right gear to capitalise on the engine's epic amount of turbocharged torque.

The suspension comfort over bumps was also excellent, despite riding on low-profile tyres.

However, the Jaguar wears conventional rubber whereas some of its rivals have "run flat tyres”, with thicker sidewalls that are less absorbent over bumps.

The driver's seat and front passenger's seat have ample adjustment, and the XF's back seat offers much more leg room than the cramped XE. It will be an easy upsell if any buyer cares about backseat space.

The cabin looks modern and all the controls are well laid out. However, no-one has yet come close to matching the classiness of the latest Mercedes interiors.

What's not to like? The centre console and door pockets are too small and the heads-up display (which reflects the vehicle speed into the windscreen in the driver's line of sight) looks as fuzzy as the calculator display I had when I was at school.

Will this be enough to deter buyers? Probably not. But Jaguar has picked some pretty tough competition to go up against.

More used-car buyers want a secondhand BMW or Benz than want a Jaguar

BMW and Mercedes-Benz have mastered the art of mid-size luxury sedans over more than three decades, and Jaguar won't be able to snatch sales from them easily.

Buyers of these types of cars tend to be careful with money. That's how they can afford a car like this.

And, talking to those in the car business who make a living out of gambling on what buyers are prepared to pay for a trade-in, the resale value of the previous Jaguar XF sedan was nowhere near as strong as its German peers.

All of these vehicles drop dramatically in value in a couple of years, but the Jaguar was among the hardest hit because more used-car buyers want a secondhand BMW or Benz than want a Jaguar.

At least the new model is a big step in the right direction. The second-generation Jaguar XF is much more of a rival to the German establishment than its predecessor ever was.

But to truly measure the success of this car, we need to ponder how many used-car buyers will want to buy this model Jaguar XF a few years from now.

I'm not sure how Jaguar will make Jaguar "cool” again. Maybe they need to hand the keys to a bunch of hipsters in their classic 1960s Ford Falcons and make them brand ambassadors. If they could ever get them off their fixies, and out of their 1960s Ford Falcons.

Verdict

The Jaguar XF may look just like a stretched version of the smaller XE, but it drives superbly and is the closest challenger yet to the German brands.

 

Could an XF tempt you away from one of its German rivals? Let us know in the comments below.

Click here for more 2016 Jaguar XF price and spec info

Pricing Guides

$61,490
Based on 40 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$39,990
Highest Price
$85,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
20D Prestige 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $39,990 – 67,900 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 20D Prestige Pricing and Specs
20D R-Sport 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $49,990 – 57,990 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 20D R-Sport Pricing and Specs
25T Portfolio 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $49,990 – 69,900 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 25T Portfolio Pricing and Specs
25T R-Sport 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $49,990 – 77,990 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 25T R-Sport Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$39,990

Lowest price, based on 40 car listings in the last 6 months

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