2017 Jaguar XF Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 19, 2017

The aluminum-bodied 2017 Jaguar XF is no lightweight when it comes to nimble handling or rear-seat space.

Some of the world's best sporty sedans come with letter-and-number names. Ever tried to sort them out? 5-Series, E-Class, A6, and CTS, it's as if Webster's ran out of words.

With the XF, Jaguar joins the ranks of the alphanumerics—and it's also joined this elite cadre, with a four-door marked by relaxed handling, a wealth of technology, and intriguing high-efficiency power.

What it doesn't have: the dodgy back seat of the first XF, or a manual transmission, at all.

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Sold in 20d, 35t, and S form, the Jaguar XF options up from base trim in Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport packages.

For the lineup, we give it a 7.6 out of 10, with its highest scores coming in performance, comfort, and features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Jaguar XF styling and performance

The XF has a straightforward style that's elegant and spare. It shares much of its shape with the smaller XE sedan, but the XF has a longer roofline and forward-canted roof pillars that tent over its more substantial rear-seat space. The cockpit is toned down from Jaguar's glamorously trimmed past; touchscreens are the new meme in town, and some versions drop analog gauges entirely for a digital display. The cockpit's clean rectilinear shapes and rotary control placement make it a fraternal twin of the XE.

XF power comes from 4- and 6-cylinders. The 4-cylinder is a turbodiesel with great fuel economy and perfectly serviceable acceleration and limited appeal in a bad PR era for diesel. Most XFs sport supercharged V-6 engines with either 340 or 380 hp. In either case, an 8-speed automatic paddle-shifts quickly through its range. The combination makes for strong acceleration, though the quick 0-60 mph times of 5.0 seconds for rear-drive, 380-hp sedans are joined by the usual V-6 thrumble.

All-wheel drive is an option, and Jaguar fits the XF with driving modes that give its steering more weight, its throttle and transmission quicker responses. The XF also gets a novel traction control system that governs the brakes and throttle in low-friction launch scenarios.

Balance is the XF's hallmark; it's quick and nimble, and somewhat more softly tuned than its rivals. The suspension has twin wishbones at the front wheels and an integral-link setup at the rear. A set of adaptive dampers are available, and the XF's driving modes can soften or firm them up on command. The result? A supple-riding car with direct but light steering and forgiving handling—a rival for a Cadillac CTS VSport or an Audi S6/S7, with less of the overwhelming firmness.

XF comfort, safety, and features

The XF's interior is neatly finished and spacious; the rear seat is finally friendly to adults, and the trunk's huge. Built from aluminum, the XF trades some of its curb weight for better packaging. Some versions are up to 265 pounds lighter than the previous XF—but have better rear-seat room, by far, though the new car is a touch shorter. Four adults can sit very comfortably, and there's no worrying for claustrophobics in the back seat, as was the case before.

No crash-test scores are available, but the XF's bonded body structure and safety technology give it a leg up. We're curious to see how its aluminum structure will fare in federal and insurance-industry tests. The safety technology offered on the XF is state of the art, including surround-view cameras, full LED headlights, a laser-projected head-up display, adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitors, parking assist, and an autonomous braking system that uses stereo cameras to detect obstacles and to trigger the car to stop on its own. However, many of those features are walled off in the most expensive trims.

From in-car wireless Internet to InControl Touch Pro, the XF vastly upgrades its infotainment and tech offerings as well. On the infotainment front, the XF will offer a choice between the new InControl Touch smartphone-connectivity interface and an 8.0-inch touchscreen, or a new version with a 10.2-inch touchscreen, faster processing speeds, and a coordinating 12.3-inch instrument panel like the one found in the Range Rover. It's a colorful, feature-rich system that has foibles like almost every other infotainment system.

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2017 Jaguar XF

Styling

The XF's handsomely shaped, but the drama of Jaguar's past has been polished off.

Attractively proportioned and handsomely detailed, the Jaguar XF is a well-conceived replacement for a sedan that was often called the most beautiful in its class. It's quite close in style to the smaller 2017 Jaguar XE—which is to be expected, since they share an aluminum architecture.

We give it a rating of 7 out of 10 here. It's worth an extra couple of points for its excellent exterior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Inside, the XF has a sober feel that leaves us vexed. It's clearly organized and supremely functional. It's almost spartan, completely rubbed clean of the glitzy touches that we're accustomed to from Jaguar. The spare design seems like it's aimed at the ideal of sport-sedan luxury from a decade ago—unfortunately timed to compete with the dramatic interiors of the latest E-Class. But there's room for individuality. With a big variety in trim and color choices, the XF can go from Germanic and sober inside, to semi-Scandinavian, to bawdy and British—depending on whether you choose black on black, or a wan whitewashed-wood treatment, or one trimmed in lipstick red.

The XF's dash is defined by a touchscreen that governs most of its user interfaces. Base models have an 8.0-inch screen featuring Jaguar's new InTouch interface, and beneath that, strips of small switches for climate and audio functions, marked well in clear, big letters and icons. On more advanced models, the screen grows to 10.3 inches and is paired with another 12.3-inch screen that replaces the gauges, governed by InTouch Pro. Those buttons get subsumed into the touchscreen on Pro.

Outside, the XF is a near-twin to the smaller XE, from the fender vents to the tilt of the front glass. The XF wears a rectangular framed grille similar to the one on the XE, flanked by big air intakes below and slim headlamps that arc upward as they wrap around the front end.

From the side, the XF begins to distance itself from the XE with a third light—an extra window that elongates the roofline at the rear. It tucks it under a roofline with a more gradual slope and pillars canted forward. To slim out the shape, the XF masks the height of its rear end with a more steeply cut rear fascia. There's one simple way to tell the two sedans apart in the dark: the XF's taillights have twin circular insets—where the XE, like the F-Type sports car, has just one per side.

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2017 Jaguar XF

Performance

Supple handling and strong V-6 power give the XF all the sport-sedan credentials it needs.

We've driven the XF now on two continents, in a few different configurations. The headline: it's a welcome alternative to the big-reputation German sedans, and a more relaxed counterpoint to the taut Cadillac CTS. It's a fluid performer that should come into its own with the inevitable V-8-powered R edition. 

We give it a rating of 8 out of 10 here, with extra points for its well-composed ride, its lovely steering, and its responsive transmission. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Among its powertrain choices, the XF already has one intriguing version. It's a turbodiesel that also can be fitted to the smaller XE sedan. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4 has the quintessentially narrow diesel powerband, and though it's quick (0-60 mph takes about 7.7 seconds), that eagerness it shows off the line is short-lived, the opposite of the rev-happy sport sedans with Ms and Ss in their name. There's no crackling exhaust, no sporty-sounding overrun—it's efficient, but is it efficient enough to overcome diesel's current PR problem and the expectations of Jaguar buyers?

We think most of you will turn instead to the supercharged V-6 engines that give the XF brisk, rorty acceleration. The supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 delivers either 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, in lower-output tune, or 380 hp and identical torque in the uprated XF S. Its thrust is considerable. Jaguar pegs 0-60 mph times for the 380-hp, all-wheel-drive XF S at five seconds, and its top speed at a limited 155 mph. Rear-drive cars take a tick longer to launch to 60 mph. It's quick to launch but the V-6 has a distinctive sound, a mix of V-6 rumble and supercharger whine. Most of it's blotted up with lots of sound deadening.

All XF sedans shift power around through an 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic. The XF's ZF box has smooth shift engagement, almost faultless gear selection, and rapid gear changes when Sport mode comes in to play.

All-wheel drive is an option with each of the XF's current engine offerings. The XF also gets a novel traction control system that governs the brakes and throttle in low-friction launch scenarios, as the similar system does in the F-Type. The XF's stability control system also incorporates a torque-vectoring function which brakes an inside wheel in corners for better responsiveness.

XF ride and handling

No matter which model you choose, the XF has supple, forgiving handling that's a bit more sublime than, say, a Cadillac CTS VSport or an Audi S6/S7.

Whether on Spanish roads and tracks, or domestic highways, the XF's clear-headed handling is a standout. It feels reassuring at full hustle, immediately familiar. Premium adaptive suspensions and grippy summer tires help its case, but the Jaguar XF obviously has some hardcore talent baked into all versions.

The basics include a double-wishbone front suspension and an integral-link rear; top versions can be equipped with a set of adaptive air dampers. Jaguar's flavor of driving modes lets the XF adopt different programming for its steering, throttle, transmission, and dampers, depending on which mode is selected. The usual economy, normal, and sport modes are joined by a track mode and a low-speed low-speed launch mode that pre-loads light throttle for crisp launches in slippery conditions.

It's a well-balanced car—Jaguar says there's a classic 50/50 weight distribution at work in giving the XF a lovely, neutral feel. The all-wheel-drive models feel at home on the track, even though there's more compliance in its suspension tuning, more body lean and lighter steering than in some rivals. On public roads, it feels ideally set up for kicking up the dust on a set of favorite corners, then settling into a 100-mile lope. The steering dials into corners accurately, and the automatic snaps off immediate shifts at the click of a paddle switch.

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2017 Jaguar XF

Comfort & Quality

The latest XF cures its old back-seat blues, but the cabin's lost its glamour.

Today's Jaguar XF is built from aluminum panels, and that switch let engineers build a bigger passenger space than the one provided to first-gen XF drivers.

We give it a rating of 8 out of 10, for good front and back-seat accommodations and good storage space. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The latest XF has shed up to 265 pounds, depending on the model, but interior space no longer leaves us wanting thanks to an inch more head and knee room. It's not as noticeable in the front, where plainly shaped seats could use more padding; their side bolsters are low, and the cushions are a bit flat. The XF also weights its shoulder room to the outboard position: the driver's knee will rest on the console, but there's more spread-out room to the door side.

Small-item storage abounds inside the XF. USB ports are tucked into the console if you want to stream and charge in privacy. Small pockets are molded into the doors; they have squared-off slots for water bottles, but aren't quite big enough for a Fiji.

In back, the XF is cured of its fastback-roofline blues: the gains in interior volume give the XF a real rear seat. Six-foot adults can fit, finally, in the back and they won't be complaining about head or leg room. Their baggage is welcome, too: the squared-off trunk is immense, at a Taurus-like 19.1 cubic feet.

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2017 Jaguar XF

Safety

No crash-test data exists for the Jaguar XF.

To date, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has put any of Jaguar's new aluminum-bodied cars through the latest crash test regimens.

As a result, we're abstaining on giving it a safety score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

There's no data, but the XF offers a slew of technology to beef up its safety claims. Bluetooth is standard, but a rearview camera is not standard on the base XF. Options include full LED headlights; a laser-projected head-up display; a set of surround-view cameras; adaptive cruise control; blind-spot monitors; automatic parking assist; and forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking.

Many of those features are only offered on the most expensive R-Sport package, though.

We remain curious about how the XF's glued-and-riveted aluminum body will hold up in crash tests; we'll update this page if we get that answer.

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2017 Jaguar XF

Features

Jaguar's excellent warranty is one of the best features of the XF.

With the XF, Jaguar has an attractively priced sedan with a longer warranty and service plan than its chief rivals, which include everything from the 5-Series to the E-Class, the S90 to the CTS.

Sold in base, Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport trims, the Jaguar XF is priced from $49,245 for a base diesel-powered sedan, to $52,285 for a rear-drive XF 35t, to $64,195 for the XF S.

We give it a rating of 9 out of 10, giving it extra points for optional equipment, custom-build choices, that excellent warranty, and its wide-screen infotainment system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All models get standard equipment that includes power features; cruise control; climate control; fixed rear seat; a 380-watt AM/FM/HD audio system; Bluetooth with audio streaming; USB port; Jaguar's infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen; keyless ignition; and 18-inch wheels.

Premium package cars add a rearview camera; a split-fold rear seat; and a power-adjustable steering column. Options include LED headlights; front and rear parking sensors; blind-spot monitors; satellite radio; navigation; and smartphone app connectivity.

The Prestige edition gets leather seats; heated and power front seats; a heated steering wheel; front and rear parking sensors; keyless entry; navigation; and 19-inch wheels. Options include heated front and rear seats, and an 825-watt audio system.

The R-Sport gets its own exterior design with distinct front and rear-end appearances; sport seats; active lane control; LED adaptive headlights; automatic high beams; blind-spot monitors; and satellite radio. Options include heated and ventilated front seats, soft-close doors, and a power trunklid. Other options include automatic park assist; a surround-view camera system; adaptive cruise control; adaptive suspension, and a head-up display.

Jaguar's home-grown infotainment system has its foibles, just like every other system on the market. The standard setup is dubbed InControl Touch. Centered around an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with backup steering-wheel controls and voice commands, it runs the car's phone, audio, navigation, and some climate-control functions.

Upgrade to the InControl Touch Pro system, and the XF adopts a more advanced set of capabilities, with a 10.2-inch touchscreen, faster processing speeds, and an accompanying 12.3-inch instrument panel like the one found in the Range Rover. InControl Touch Pro offers pinch and zoom control for the touchscreen as well as a customizable home screen, gesture controls, and four skins—visual themes from "graphic" to "journey."

We can appreciate some of the unique features of InControl—its star-based favorites system, for example. We've driven sedans with the system that unexpectedly quit, or staggered through menus scrolls, too.

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2017 Jaguar XF

Fuel Economy

The XF's fuel economy is helped by a diesel engine—if that's your thing.

In its second year on the road, the Jaguar XF now totes a turbodiesel option, and it helps fuel economy ratings rise strongly. We're not sure how many of you will opt for the powerplant, so we're weighting the sedan's green score of 6 toward its more common V-6 engines. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

That V-6 comes in two power levels, but the EPA gives both versions the same ratings. Rear-drive V-6 XF sedans post figures of 20 mpg city, 29 highway, 23 combined, while all-wheel-drive models manage 20/28/23 mpg.

The turbodiesel 4-cylinder turns out 178 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. It's rated at 31/42/35 mpg with rear-wheel drive, and 30/40/34 mpg with all-wheel drive.

When it launched the XF, Jaguar promised a gasoline-fed turbocharged inline-4 for the lineup, but it hasn't yet arrived.

We'll update this page as more engine options are added.

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7.6
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 7
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety N/A
Features 9
Fuel Economy 6
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