I looked for a car to replace my (near new) Toyota Corolla. I had always owned "normal" Japanese cars, and owned a Nissan Primera for 17 years which I loved. Initially I sought to replace it with a Mazda 3 (which I returned to the dealer, see my review on here) and then I bought a near new Corolla Hatchback (see my review on that). However, I was disappointed with the Corolla so I decided to try the brave new world of European cars. My father owns a Jaguar X-Type (review on here too!) which we all love, but the styling is a little old fashioned. The only current Jag I like is the XF.
I chose a silver one with grey interior, the 3.0 diesel model. I initially liked the beige, thinking the grey looked too dull, but the grey matches the aluminium trim better and reduces the amount of clashing colours. Initially, I was not too keen on the interior, but now I love it. It has a real "wow" factor. I haven't seen a better interior in any car I test drove. I love the rising transmission dial, the moving air vents, the pulsating start/stop button.
The fuel economy is quite good for such a big car, and the performance is superb. It's like a rocket taking off. I would have liked the slightly more powerful "S" model, but the standard 3.0 diesel is just fine.
The best thing I like about the XF is the appearance of the car, which from any angle looks just superb; I keep looking back at it as I lock the car.
Finally, I own the best looking car as I roll up on the gas station forecourt!
The car drives very smoothly, there is almost no road noise, engine noise or wind noise. The windscreen is incredibly sharp and clear, it must be polarised or tinted in some way; at night, the view is like looking through expensive sun glasses. Being a two tonne car, the car doesn't get blown around on the highway like the lightweight Corolla did. Something to consider if you live in a windy country like New Zealand. The road holding and cornering is superb, with little or no body roll. The leather steering wheel is firm, and the steering very precise. The seats are comfortable, but a bit flat and not as good as the X-type. Being leather they are cold in winter and mine aren't heated.
The stereo is superb, sounds the best on jazz; sometimes I don't want to get out of the car, every journey is an occasion!
The ride is firm and smooth; the car is most at home on a smooth motorway. It is like gliding on ice under these conditions. However, on poor roads, it is a very different story; the stiff ride upsets the car and transmits every little jiggle throughout the car. It is not helped by having low profile tyres fitted as standard to the car. I much prefer the ride in the X Type, which is just the right blend of softness yet firmness, and has thicker tyres. The XF is a sport sedan, not a comfy limo/cruiser like the Holden Commodore or Ford Mondeo (cars that I have hired in the past). These cars are almost too smooth and polished, I am in danger of falling asleep at the wheel as there is nothing for the driver to do. The XF has to be driven, it makes you sit up and drive the car.
Onto the negatives, which for me revolve around the firm suspension and general lack of comfort. Given this is the biggest car I've every owned at 5 metres long, but where does all the room go? The problems start at the front; the dashboard is quite low and intrudes into the front passenger's knees, so to compensate the front seats get put back. This intrudes into the rear passengers' legroom. It's also a pain when you want to fold the rear seats down, which hit against the back of the front seats, so you have to move the front seats all the way forward again. Then, it's hard for the front passengers to get in the car, as the dash intrudes into the entranceway and they are forever banging their knees on the dash.
The climate controls, aren't as good as the Japanese equivalents. Car fumes enter the cabin, but you can't just press the recirc button. You have to turn on the whole climate control system to do this, then turn on recirc. Annoyingly, the recirc has a time limit, so if you're in a big traffic jam you get reminded it's turned off when fumes enter the cabin again. The XF was designed in Britain; they have traffic jams and cities choked with fumes, what's going on?!
My final niggles, are the weak window electrics and door locks. I have had problems with mine, but they have been fixed by the dealer. I am surprised these would fail after only 80,000km and nine years after the car was built. However, the body is like new. The fit and finish, and paintwork is superb, like new.
In all, I'm very happy with the car and enjoy owning and driving it. The depreciation on these cars is huge, so they make an excellent second hand buy.