2019 Jaguar XF Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
October 20, 2018

The 2019 Jaguar XF mid-size luxury sedan is even better as a wagon; a well-earned break from the crossover craze.

The 2019 Jaguar XF mid-size luxury sedan isn’t the jewel of the automaker’s lineup it once was. It’s not the popular crossover nor the groundbreaking electric car that both occupy space on the same lot. By the look of the XF, it doesn’t seem to mind.

Available as a sedan or as a head-turning wagon, the XF soldiers on into its fourth model year with the same mix of powertrains and space. New tech features such as a 10-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay compatibility are perks for buyers keeping with tradition.

We rate the range a 6.2 with high scores for style and features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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This year, the 2019 XF sedan is available in 25t, 20d, 30t, and S specs with a handful of trims among them and all-wheel drive as an option on most of them. The XF Sportbrake is all-wheel drive only, with a newfound turbo-4 this year or a supercharged V-6.

Both sedan and wagon are handsome and sharp, albeit a departure from what some may think of when Jaguar comes to mind.

The XF has the right proportions: long hood, racy roofline, and imposing face but the wagon looks even better. Inside, the dark cabin is somewhat of a letdown—lighter shades help.

The XF sedan offers a turbo-4 with two outputs underhood: 247 or 296 horsepower. It’s the same engine found in other Jaguar products, but we haven’t yet driven either. A 2.0-liter turbodiesel is the efficiency champ with 180 hp and up to 35 mpg combined, or a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 with 380 hp is the performance pick. The wagon offers the higher-spec 2.0-liter turbo-4 or V-6 with all-wheel drive only.

The sedan’s sharp handling makes up for most of the power deficit to the bigger guys, and the available all-wheel-drive system on all powertrains is intelligent and quick.

Four adults will fit just fine in the XF with a spacious trunk behind them. Opt for the wagon and that space grows considerably, and both versions have a calm and composed ride without much drama.

Starting just north of $50,000, the XF is well-equipped but lacks standard automatic emergency braking on all models—it’s optional on lower trims.

Every XF comes with a 10-inch touchscreen, 18-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, synthetic leather upholstery, a USB port, keyless ignition, a sunroof, and power-adjustable front seats.

All-in, an XF Sportbrake approaches $80,000 with everything thrown at it including 20-inch wheels, a head-up display, soft leathers, advanced safety features, and premium stereo.

It may not be a jewel in the Jag lineup anymore, but the pretty wagon is still a gem.

7

2019 Jaguar XF

Styling

The 2019 XF’s exterior is a sight for sore eyes, its interior is just a little sore.

Few cars on the road are as attractive as the 2019 Jaguar XF. Fewer are sedans, and even less are wagons.

The exterior is so nice we’ll say it twice—and give it two points above average. A dark interior is somewhat of a comedown from the outside, so we land at a 7 out of 10 for style. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The XF sedan looks similar to the smaller XE so much that many people might confuse the two. It’s no coincidence: Jaguar has ground to make up on competitors, so any recognition helps the brand.

The XF’s exterior has German influence: in profile the rear windows have a third pane that look positively BMW or Audi in their inspirations. Among contemporary competitors, it’s great. For Jag fans from yesteryear, the XF isn’t as graceful as last-generation models.

Forget all that for the XF Sportbrake. Its longer roof is the perfect antidote to bland crossovers, but we admit many buyers aren’t swayed by the wagon’s argument. Look closer. The achingly long roof, and low-slung profile. We’re sold.

We’re less convinced by the interior, which is functional and versatile, but not expressive. The horizontal dash misses the target next to Mercedes-Benz’s waterfall and BMW’s smarter interior, but Jaguar’s color combinations help save what could otherwise be a lost interior. We suggest lipstick red.

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2019 Jaguar XF

Performance

The 2019 XF offsets its powertrain deficit with supple suspensions and sharp handling.

Every 2019 Jaguar XF is gifted with athletic handling and a smooth ride. Not every Jaguar XF gets a thrilling powerplant, however.

This year’s powertrain menu includes a turbo-4 for the XF Sportbrake, but are otherwise all carryovers from last year. We give the range a 6 for a good ride and sharp handling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The most popular engine in the XF sedan is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 lifted from other Jaguar models that makes 247 hp or 296 hp, depending on trim level. The lower-output version motivates the sedan up to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds with rear-wheel drive, the higher-output version does the deed one second faster. We haven’t yet driven either version of the XF with a turbo-4, we’ll report back once we do.

Most of our turns have come behind the wheel of turbodiesel models and high-powered V-6 versions that occupy different ends of the XF spectrum.

The turbodiesel gets a scant 180 hp, but gets 318 lb-ft of twist that’s more compelling off the line. The standard 8-speed automatic is eager to keep the turbodiesel in its efficiency sweet spot, low in the rev range. It’s brilliant, briefly, and we’re not sure the efficiency focus fits the Jag XF’s athletic profile.

The supercharged V-6 is a better fit and makes 380 hp for a thrilling 5.0-second run up to 60 mph with standard all-wheel drive. In the XF Sportbrake, the V-6 takes a few ticks longer, just 5.3 seconds, but it’s the XF’s #bestlife.

Jaguar tamps out some of the harsher noises and whine from the V-6 with more sound-deadening, but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff for its otherwise refined performance.

All XF models get a willing 8-speed automatic and paddle-shifters that whip it into shape when dialed into Sport mode.

All-wheel drive is an option on all XF trim levels for $3,000 except on V-6 and Sportbrake models, where it’s standard. Jaguar’s system is sourced from Magna, and it’s a good one. In addition to shuttling power front to back for better grip, the brake system cameos for better side-to-side traction on slippery surfaces.

The XF gets soft suspension settings and a forgiving ride that some competitors have left behind to chase imaginary lap times. The XF skips a hardcore version for a more compliant ride in all its models, made better with adaptive dampers that are optional on most trims.

A perfect 50/50 weight balance goes a long way to keep the bigger sedan compliant around corners, neatly tucking the XF from side to side. The tradeoff is more body lean than its rivals, which is partially offset with light, but accurate steering.

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2019 Jaguar XF

Comfort & Quality

The Jaguar XF sedan and Sportbrake are useful mid-sizers, we’d just wish the interior would cheer up.

It’s easy to confuse the 2019 Jaguar XF with the automaker’s smaller sedan, the XE, but our legs know the difference.

Jag’s mid-sizer has good room in the rear for adults—even tall ones. We’d warm up the cabin if we could, so for now we give the XF a point above average for its capacious trunk that only grows bigger in XF Sportbrake versions. It gets a 6 for comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Four model years into the current XF and we’re still comfortable with the relationship. Jaguar’s switch to aluminum for the XF frame let it grow a few inches in critical dimensions, namely rear-seat room. The front seats can be thinly padded and plain, with driver and passenger jockeying for armrest space like they’d do on a crowded flight.

In back, two adults will easily fit in the rear seat with three aboard in a rush. The trunk’s 19.1 cubic feet is a star among rivals, but the XF Sportbrake’s 31.7 cubic feet behind the second row is the standout, though there’s not as much vertical space as there would be in a crossover. Both sedan and wagon can tumble down the second row for more space, up to nearly 70 cubes in the wagon.

There’s plenty of room for small items in the XF, but the fit and finish is a half-step behind rivals. We’d be more complimentary if the cabin weren’t as dark, but the Jaguar XF seems to have given up on old-world British luxury for a moody feel that’s just too sullen for us.

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2019 Jaguar XF

Safety

The 2019 Jaguar XF hasn’t been crash-tested by federal or independent officials.

The 2019 Jaguar XF is too pretty to ruin. Four model years in, we don’t expect that’ll change anytime soon either—luxury sedans that sell in small numbers usually aren’t crashed in the name of science.

Until that changes, we’ll withhold our safety score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Aside from the standard complement of airbags, traction control systems, and a rearview camera, the 2019 Jaguar XF offers a suite of advanced safety equipment on all trims. Parking sensors, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive headlights cost roughly $2,400 more on base XF models, top S trims get it as standard equipment.

A head-up display, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition are spend-up extras, but Jaguar lacks the driver-assist features that help reduce fatigue now found on other luxury makes.

On the XF Sportbrake, we’d throw all of our money into blind-spot monitors and surround-view camera systems. With such a long body, those systems aren’t only a good idea—they’re practically mandatory.

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2019 Jaguar XF

Features

The 2019 Jaguar XF excels at available options, a superlative warranty, and a big touchscreen. It excels at taking our money too.

The new 2019 Jaguar XF is royalty with personality.

Its exterior shape is nearly matched by its big infotainment screen, available opulent features, and a warranty that’s tough to beat. The pimples we just can’t unsee? Automatic emergency braking is a spend-up extra on base trims and Jaguar asks for even more money for smartphone capability. We’d give the world (or more than $80,000) for a fully loaded XF Sportbrake but we won’t give it an 8. It’s a 7 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Equipment in the XF and XF Sportbrake largely improves as the horsepower goes up. Jaguar offers most XF sedans in Premium or Prestige trim levels with each engine option, V-6 versions come in sporty S trim.

Every XF comes with a 10-inch touchscreen, 18-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, synthetic leather upholstery, a USB port, keyless ignition, a sunroof, and power-adjustable front seats. Base XF sedans cost $50,960, including destination.

The Prestige trim adds about $5,000 to the bottom line and includes leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, parking sensors, and makes available adaptive dampers as a spend-up option.

We’ll throw caution to the wind and opt for a XF Sportbrake with a supercharged V-6. For more than $72,000 to start, those models include 20-inch wheels, a standard rear-leveling air suspension, all-wheel drive, a power liftgate, and panoramic moonroof. A tech package can swap in a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a driver assistance package adds more cameras and parking sensors, and a comfort package adds cooled seats and soft-close doors. A head-up display here, upgraded wheels there, wood veneer everywhere and suddenly our imagine wagon costs about $80,000. Who said pretty was cheap?

If we come back down to reality—and more importantly down to the turbo-4—the Jaguar 30t Prestige trim includes all the niceties we’d ask from a luxury sedan: leather, navigation, parking sensors, and available options for less than $60,000 to start. The XF sedan is more sensible than the wagon, and thankfully all XF models include a long 5-year/60,000-mile warranty that other automakers don’t match.

Jaguar significantly updated its infotainment system this year with a redesigned home screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. We haven’t yet had a chance to try the revised software, but the last iteration was clear and direct with big home icons and a customizable home screen. Sadly, Jaguar charges $280 extra for smartphone capability, which follows what other luxury automakers have already done. Other mainstream makers such as Chevy, Toyota, and Nissan don’t ask for more money for the smartphone systems.

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2019 Jaguar XF

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Jaguar XF lacks a hybrid option, but nearly every powertrain returns respectable fuel economy.

The inevitable result of shoppers snapping up crossovers would be dwindling options for sedans. Don’t tell Jaguar that. The 2019 XF adds yet another powertrain option to its impressive menu that spans turbo-4s all the way to turbodiesels.

More buyers will opt for the turbo-4 and it’s a good all-rounder. The EPA rates it 25 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined. All-wheel drive shaves it down to 23/33/27 mpg. Both numbers are good enough for a 5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The EPA hasn’t yet rated the turbo-4 XF Sportbrake, but we’ll report back once they do. It’s sure to improve on the V-6-powered XF Sportbrake that rates 18/25/21 mpg.

With the V-6, the XF sedan rates 20/29/23 mpg with rear-wheel drive; adding all-wheel drive knocks 1 mpg from the highway rating.

The turbodiesel XF is predictably the most fuel efficient at 31/42/35 mpg with rear-wheel drive, 30/40/34 with all-wheel drive.

Gas engines are rated for premium fuel.

Chief rivals rate slightly lower, except for a few. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is rated up to 25 mpg combined with a turbo-4, the BMW 5-Series rates up to 27 mpg combined but offers a plug-in hybrid that’s much more efficient.

Jaguar doesn’t ask big premiums for its turbodiesel models, just $1,500 more than base. At the time of this writing, a shopper could offset the initial cost of a diesel engine in three years if driven 15,000 miles a year, mostly around town, at current fuel prices. There are multiple mileage calculators available to see if opting for a diesel sedan makes sense for your budget.

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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
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