2009 Jaguar XF Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 8, 2008

The 2009 Jaguar XF is an easy car to love. It performs as well as anything in the class--and has unexpected glamorous touches that will win over converts.

TheCarConnection.com read all the competitive reviews on the new Jaguar XF to produce this conclusive review, and to give our enthusiastic approval of the new Jaguar XF. TheCarConnection.com also drove the car to be able to give you an expert opinion on the vehicle, and to help you figure out the truth where other car reviews might differ.

Jaguar has been in turmoil, with steep sales declines and its recent sale by Ford to India’s Tata. But you’d never tell from the 2009 Jaguar XF, the brand’s new mid-size luxury sedan. It replaces the stuffy X-Type with a svelte new shape that’s as modern and cutting-edge as any sedan in its class--and it sports an interior worthy of a Virgin Airlines cabin, with aluminum and wood trim and a techno-groovy shifter knob.

Performance is stealthy with the base V-8 and stunning with the optional supercharged V-8. Both switch gears via a six-speed automatic with shifter paddles. The XF turns in surprisingly good fuel-economy numbers, but sacrifices rear-seat room to its coupelike styling.

Review continues below

Crash test data isn’t available yet, but the 2009 Jaguar XF sits at the top of its class for safety equipment and high-end audio and entertainment features.


2009 Jaguar XF


The 2009 Jaguar XF’s a modern icon for an old brand--with high-tech styling inside and out.

Reviewers were universal in their love of the new 2009 Jaguar XF’s exterior and interior styling.

Edmunds.com credits its “crouching stance” and “coupelike roof,” that taper into a fastback-style tail, but thought the nose was “somewhat quirky.” Though both Edmunds.com and Automobile comment on the XF’s passing resemblance to the Lexus GS series, Automobile thought that gave the new Jaguar a little less “drama than you’d expect...nice but not stunning.” Without the Jaguar hood ornament, they think, you wouldn’t know which company built the new XF. Kelley Blue Book felt the “unorthodox” look has a “sleek, flowing profile.”

From the rear, the high-mounted LED taillamps looked familiar to an Aston Martin, Cars.com said. Motor Trend sums up the exterior critiques by saying, “Make no styling judgments until you've seen the XF in person...in the metal the XF radiates a modernity and sexiness that simply don't translate to the printed page.”

Inside, Automobile thinks “the XF's interior really scores,” and that “the cabin overflows with neat details, such as the gear shifter, covered HVAC vents that rotate to open, a start button that pulses red when you enter the car, and blue lighting around the instruments and dials.” The tech mavens at C/Net were “most impressed by the dashboard components,” like that clever shifter dial that reminds TheCarConnection.com’s editors of a high-end audio system. It’s the combination of “traditional cues with contemporary touches,” in Cars.com’s words, that gives this new Jaguar an ambience completely different from the larger XJ sedan--and from any Jaguar before it.

TheCarConnection.com’s car experts think the 2009 Jaguar XF is without question the most attractive car Jaguar has accomplished in decades. There's nothing heavy-handed or retro about the look. Quite the contrary--it is an extraordinarily modern interpretation that traditional luxury benchmarks like Audi should note well.


2009 Jaguar XF


With the 2009 Jaguar XF, they’ve come as close as anybody to delivering the sport sedan feel of a BMW 5-Series.

Reviewers across the Web were unanimous when it comes to the 2009 Jaguar XF’s performance: it’s surprisingly strong, they agree.

Enthusiast magazine Automobile points out that the XF is actually available in two editions. The same 4.2-liter V-8 comes “in either normally aspirated or supercharged guise, developing 300 and 420 hp, respectively.” An XFR version comes next year, with 500-plus horsepower, they predict. The lack of a V-6 engine is a conscious choice, Edmunds.com says: “as part of Jaguar's upscale push, you'll only find a V8 under the hood.”

Even with the less powerful engine, Edmunds.com notes the XF will rush to 60 mph “in just 6.2 seconds,” while they estimate the supercharged version will “trim the 0-60 sprint down to 5.1 seconds.” That higher-output engine got Kelley Blue Book’s motor running: “the supercharged 4.2-liter V8 delivers horsepower in a smooth, linear fashion, providing off-the-line acceleration and passing power in a heartbeat,” KBB said.

The automatic transmission on the 2009 Jaguar XF--there is no manual option--is a slick, futuristic piece of styling and operation. Coupled to steering-wheel-mounted paddles, the shift knob is unlike anything in any new vehicle tested by reviewers. At startup, Car and Driver describes, a knob rises on the console, and gears are selected on the rotary dial. “It’s a great act, like the deployment of some James Bond just-in-time gizmo.” But it’s the shift paddles that do most of the work, and with them, Popular Mechanics writes, “the shift-by-wire 6-speed automatic is smoother-shifting than many sequential gearboxes, but it offers a standard automatic, sport automatic or sequential manual modes.” It’s “a significant improvement over the old Jaguar J-gate shifter,” they say. Motor Trend agrees, and calls the new shifter “brilliantly quick.”

Even with V-8 power and an automatic gearbox, the 2009 Jaguar XF gets strong fuel economy for its class at 18/26 mpg (and 17/23 mpg for the supercharged V-8). For comparison, the Lexus GS 460 gets 17/24 mpg, while the BMW 550i gets 15/23 mpg and the Mercedes-Benz E550 checks in at 15/22 mpg.

When it comes to ride and handling, Edmunds.com felt that the XF’s “smooth and hushed demeanor” didn’t cut out its responsiveness; “there's a stronger connection with the mechanical soul of the car than expected,” they said. “This is no pompous land yacht,” Kelley Blue Book agreed. “The 2009 Jaguar XF drives like a sports car.”


2009 Jaguar XF

Comfort & Quality

The 2009 Jaguar XF is built with great attention to detail, even if its backseat is a cramped place for adults.

The 2009 Jaguar XF has a stunningly high level of craftsmanship, but sensible drivers will want to look for a vehicle with more rear-seat room, road testers from enthusiast and consumer car Web sites report.

Car and Driver says the XF is 2.2 inches longer than the old Jaguar S-Type, the car it replaces. But the slinky new shape cuts into its usefulness, particularly in back. The effect is more sportscar than sedan, but it’s comfortable for front passengers: “You’re belted into a big easy chair, your elbows and trousers cosseted by fine leather,” they report. Road & Track thinks the shape is too tall to give the XF “a completely sporting aesthetic,” but their focus is on sportscars and Jaguar’s heritage.

Motor Trend complains that “its rear compartment is not its strong suit,” and refers to the XF’s “all-but-unuseable rear buckets,” and thinks it feels more “like a roomy four-door coupe than a true five-passenger sedan.” Edmunds.com notes that “the rear doors are wide for ample access and there are nearly 38 inches of rear headroom and 36.6 inches of rear legroom.” And both Road & Track and Car and Driver say the XF’s trunk is large for its class; “with folding rear seats, the XF is indeed practical for a luxury sedan,” Road & Track says.

The 2009 Jaguar XF’s craftsmanship leaves little to be desired, according to the reviews researched by TheCarConnection.com and our own time spent behind the wheel. Automobile calls the XF’s quality “as good as anything in the class,” while Motor Trend takes note of its seats’ “flawless twin-needle stitching” and says the cockpit has “more hand-rubbed tree than in any Jag in decades.” Popular Mechanics picks out details like “aluminum finishes and Motorola Razr-inspired phosphor blue ambient lighting” as its favorites, while Road & Track says that lighting “transforms the car from fancy restaurant to a swanky blue-neon nightclub.”


2009 Jaguar XF


It doesn’t offer all-wheel drive and crash data isn’t available yet, but the 2009 Jaguar XF doesn’t want for standard safety equipment.

The 2009 Jaguar XF has a long list of standard safety equipment, which most reviews around the Web noted. Edmunds reports that the gear includes anti-lock brakes, stability control, active front headrests, and side and curtain airbags. “The Supercharged adds a blind spot monitor to the list,” they added.

At this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet performed crash tests on the 2009 Jaguar XF. Neither has the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an insurance industry-funded research group.

TheCarConnection.com will revisit the XF’s safety rating when crash data becomes available.

The sole omission from the 2009 Jaguar XF’s safety gear seems to be all-wheel drive.
In its class, Edmunds.com says, the XF faces competitors like the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Infiniti M45, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, most of which offer all-wheel drive, potentially “an advantage for those who have to deal with slippery weather conditions.”


2009 Jaguar XF


Lots of high-end equipment makes the 2009 Jaguar XF feel like a home theater--and its in-car touchscreen is far superior to BMW’s iDrive controller.

The 2009 Jaguar XF has all the features you’d expect to find in a high-end luxury sedan--and some that you don’t find even in the most exclusive ultra-luxury vehicles.

Edmunds.com details the three different trim levels available, starting with the Luxury edition, which comes with 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, leather interior, 10-way power front seats, and a premium sound system with an auxiliary audio jack. The Premium Luxury package “adds 19-inch wheels, heated 16-way power front seats, upgraded leather, a navigation system with voice activation, and keyless ignition/entry,” while the Supercharged edition gets the 420-hp V-8, 20-inch wheels, “an active suspension (dubbed ‘CATS’),” and satellite radio.

Optional equipment includes a heated steering wheel and active cruise control.

Automobile says the “long list of electronic driver aids” includes “voice control for audio and telephone, a blind-spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, a tire-pressure monitor, and an electronic parking brake.”

Order the upmarket audio system and you get a 440-watt “favorite among audiophiles,” Kelley Blue Book adds. “The Bowers & Wilkins sound system has precise and crisp sound output at any volume level.”

The 2009 Jaguar XF’s navigation system also incorporates iPod/iPhone control for music, Motor Trend says. A tap on the touchscreen and you’re controlling the flow of tunes through a target on the screen that Motor Trend says “was inspired by The Who's Quadrophenia album cover.” Popular Mechanics likes the navigation touchscreen, but points out that “it does require more pressure than other manufacturers’ systems, and that can be annoying at times.”

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November 4, 2015
2009 Jaguar XF 4-Door Sedan Premium Luxury

Jaguar XF 3 litre Diesel S

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I bought this car last year from a franchised dealer, its a beautiful car, powerful quiet and comfortable, although some may find the roof level low due to the aerodynamic design. The car has every luxury... + More »
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April 17, 2015
For 2009 Jaguar XF

I so look forward to driving this car every day.

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I purchased this car in May of 2008 after having a 2000 S Type previously. I thought the S type was great but the XF was awesome in more comfort, handling and performance. The only fault I find with the design... + More »
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Styling 9.0
Performance 9.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 9.0
Features 10.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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