Jaguar XF – Does it still have what it takes to fight the competition?

In 2016, Jaguar launched a heavily updated version of its XF luxury sedan. It came in as a lighter, bigger car that also scored better brownie points for luxury. The brand has also used more aluminium, meaning weight is down on certain variants. And the long wheelbase has given way for more space too. In terms of comfort as well, the 2016 XF brought with it better comfort and continues to be, by and large, a better rounded car than before. For 2019 though, out went the huge 2.0-litre petrols and 2.0-litre diesel and in came the newer four-cylinder engine from JLR’s modular Ingenium family. But with the current competition trending, does the fairly aged Jaguar XF have a spot in the market still? We find out.

Jag looks

When you look at the Jaguar XF, you’re not particularly taken aback – firstly, because the design is not only familiar but long in the tooth as well. You could even possibly mistake other Jaguar Cars for being an XF. But there’s no running away from the fact that it’s massive in terms of proportions; it gets a sloping, low bonnet and a high-set boot. The silhouette still impresses, but if Jaguar Cars were to be a little more in sync with the times, we’re sure they’d come up with something that looks sleeker, like the facelifted F-Type from up-ahead. The Jaguar XF gets LED headlamps, 18-inch wheels, those nice-looking J-blade LED DRLs. At the rear, you’ll find twin exhausts and LED detailing in the tail lamps, also found on the F-Type sportscar. We’re hoping the next-generation XF has more to offer in terms of design.

The comfort

You’d be very impressed with the front seats in the Jaguar XF. It gets perforated leather for the seats, which are, by the way, extremely comfortable. It gets features like a 14-way electric adjust with controls for side bolstering and thigh support. Once you’re seated nice and comfortably, you’ll notice that quality is nowhere near what you’ll find on the German cars of today. We managed to spot some hard plastics; even the buttons for the windows don’t feel particularly premium. Today’s Audi A6, BMW’s 5-Series, Volvo’s S60 and Merc’s new E-Class are clearly miles away in terms of comfort, tech and quality. However, if you still have a thing for the XF, you’ll like the layered dashboard, but there’s no signature ‘Riva loop’ seen here. The car comes with equipment like a 10.2-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, 825W Meridian sound system, InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, ambient lighting and park assist. And let’s not forget our favourite bit: the Jaguar handshake, resulting in the side AC vents and rotary gear lever to rise when you’ve turned on the car. Climate control is separate for the rear passengers, but by and large, the back seat experience doesn’t leave much to complain about. The seats provide ample support; there is ample legroom and the seats are well cushioned. You also get a good view out of the cabin at the back. Headroom isn’t much and the central tunnel means there’s no room for a third occupant at the back.

Moves like Jagger

Engine refinement has improved a lot on the new 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine producing 197bhp and 320Nm of torque. Note much of the engine can be heard at idle, or even when you’re cruising at high speeds for that matter. The strong and linear spread of power has been retained on this new engine and revs happily, sounding quite nice into the bargain. You can even hold gears at 6000rpm, provided you’re in the sportiest setting. The 8-speed transmission is quite prompt in responding to inputs at the paddle-shifters. Add this to the fact the steering is smooth and the handling good, and what you get is a nice mix. It’s a luxury sedan that likes being driven. At low speeds however, the throttle becomes uncomfortably responsive.

The final word

Now the XF is far from perfect, considering the rivalry around. The design has now aged, space isn’t class leading, although it does come with some comfortable seats. The XF is clearly for those who still can’t resist having a Jag, but otherwise, we just hope the British brand brings in a new model as quickly as possible. Also, grab the latest info on the upcoming cars, only at autoX.