Far too much time spent grinding through town and running local errands have confirmed my view that Jaguar’s XF is more Grand Tourer than commuting warrior. I’ve made this observation before, but the combination of a long motorway schlep and a cross-country dash really did bring out the best in the XF. My XF might be pitched as the sporty variant for the average driver, and its low stance, purposeful looks, subtle bodykit and big wheels are certainly convincing, but the ride is compliant enough to prove relaxing on the motorway.
Stop-start motoring might not flatter the carís powertrain, but once youíre up to speed itís smooth, punchy when required and pleasingly quiet even at high speeds when you just want to listen to the radio. Donít get me wrong, the car does the dull stuff well; it doesnít blink at doing the weekly shop or ferrying around the occasional passenger or three. The remote-opening boot stopped being a novelty a long time ago and has become an essential feature. And the boot itself is generous to a fault ñ itíll even swallow a wheelchair whole thanks to its low loading lip and flat boot floor. Yes, I did say wheelchair. Hardly the glamour usually associated with Jaguar products, but this is the real world after all.
But back to the Grand Tourer premise; along with the XFís smooth performance, the car also delivers for its occupants. Iíve driven and been a passenger in a long list of cars pitched as Grand Tourers, but theyíve often turned out to be cramped, noisy and boast a fidgety ride. Hardly attributes that would have you feeling refreshed after a 500-mile drive. Thankfully the XF is the opposite of all those things. Even in R-Sport guise the carís sports-focused seats offer a good level of support.
As befits a car in this price bracket, you have access to plenty of toys. Actually, the standard specification is okay, but you will need to cough up more if you want the bigger infotainment screen, more speakers or the full ëconnectedí car experience. Itís taken me a while to play with the latter option, mainly because itís not a new feature in high-end cars anymore. It can be useful, although Jaguarís implementation does include a multitude of different menus offering sometimes overlapping features and choices. Still, once youíve inserted a SIM card into the slot in the centre armrest cubby, the car will deliver real-time traffic and search for the navigation, access to various online features, a browser and remote access mobile app.
The navigation-related traffic and search functions work really well, but Iím leaning towards the apps as being more of a novelty. Thereís also an in-car WiFi hotspot which Iíve yet to test. I think itís time for my road warrior impersonation, complete with suit jacket hanging up in the rear of the cabin, to fully test this feature when out pounding the miles like a company drone.
Date arrived 23rd August 2016
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 40.1mpg (on test)
There’s no mistaking when it’s time to refill the washer reservoir, which is useful, as the generous capacity can make you forget.
Swift traffic updates aside, I’m yet to be fully convinced by Jaguar’s ‘connected’ car suite of features.