The Jaguar XF has a few annoying features but the overall driver experience is excellent, as Stephen Briers discovers
My default drive setting on the Jaguar XF has settled on ‘normal’. As noted in the first test, this offers the best balance of throttle response and efficiency.
However, it has resulted in the fuel consumption levels slipping below 50mpg (we were averaging close to 52mpg), to 48.8mpg.
Clearly, my driving style benefits from the additional resistance on the accelerator provided by ‘eco’, so when it comes to assessing the full efficiency potential of the car, I may need to concede and switch.
The XF is a very comfortable car to spend time in. The pedals line up well, while the front seats are supportive, with excellent lumbar and side support, and good height adjustment. There is ample leg and headroom front and rear for adults.
The outer rear seats have bolstered sides for additional support, which snugly hold passengers in place.
However, they are a bit of a burden when attempting to belt in child seats as the sides force the seat to overhang the buckle.
Other negatives include an intrusive steering column when the wheel is in a lowered position.
Cue a banged knee or two when changing gear. Also, the middle seat in the back is raised, which makes for an awkward position.
Despite these niggles, the overall driver experience is excellent.
Particularly striking is the digital dashboard: the rev counter and speedometer numbers on the dials only come into view as the needle approaches them, which results in a clean and easily readable layout.
The Jaguar XF has many great options but some are not suitable for fleets.
After a slight delay – we originally expected the car to arrive two months earlier – our new Jaguar XF long-termer has arrived.
Why the delay? Due to the sheer volume of cars going through the order and prep process caused by rising customer demand for the September plate-change.
Our model-year 18 car has undergone a minor refresh, largely consisting of additional optional equipment.
These include safety features such as Forward Traffic Detection and Forward Vehicle Guidance, gesture boot opening and a dual-view screen on the Touch Pro infotainment system, which allows the front passenger and driver to view different content simultaneously.
There are also new Ingenium 2.0-litre petrol engines (200PS, 250PS and 300PS), but with emissions from 154g/km, they are largely irrelevant for the fleet market, even as a high-level user-chooser car.
Ditto for the new 240PS diesel with emissions of 139g/km (rear-wheel drive) and 144g/km (front-wheel drive).
Instead, we have the 2.0-litre 180PS turbocharged Ingenium diesel engine in mid-range Portfolio trim.
Optional extras include blind spot and reverse traffic monitor (£525) and parking assist pack with surround camera (£1,690), increasing the base price from £37,510 to £48,770.
As safety assistance systems, these are worthwhile additions.
At a combined cost of £2,215, they will pay for themselves several times over if they prevent a serious crash.
However, several additions are unnecessary from a fleet perspective, such as sunroof (£990), 19-inch, seven-split-spoke alloys (£840), gesture boot lid (£665), soft-door close (£505), digital TV (£890) and ‘Santorini Black’ colour (£705).
Our six-speed manual, rear- wheel drive car has official fuel consumption of 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km.
A quick peek at the Equa Index figures show real-world economy of 45.7mpg – a 30% shortfall. We’re currently averaging a more palatable 51.8mpg.
Initial thoughts are largely positive. The XF is spacious and comfortable. Handling is sharp and precise.
JaguarDrive Control allows the selection of eco, normal, dynamic or rain/ice/snow modes. The latter dampens acceleration and applies gradual traction in slippery conditions.
The best option around town is normal due to the sharper throttle reaction (dynamic sharpens this further and increases steering weighting).
Eco encourages fuel-efficient driving but is best for motorway journeys; the noticeable resistance on the accelerator pedal makes quick responses impossible.