Not all luxury vehicles live up to their price tag. However, the 2011 Jaguar XF certainly comes close.
The moment I slammed the formidable door of the vehicle I knew I had entered a rarified world. The eye-catching burl walnut veneer along with the seamlessness of the instrumentation and compartments—some so well integrated into the interior design that it was difficult to figure out how to access them. Every surface that I sat on, gazed on or touched bespoke refinement.
And touch control is paramount in this Jaguar—push of a button starts the car, another button is used to switch between two driving modes and a seven-inch touch screen navigation system is also used to control temperature and Bluetooth connectivity.
And the Jaguar XF, which U.S. News & World Report rated number 4 out of 15 large luxury vehicles, is built in such a way that the interior cabin seems to be nearly soundproof. The world outside was immediately hushed as I closed the door. Whether a truck or motorcycle idled nearby, I was practically oblivious to it thanks to the vehicle’s construction. Add to that a sound system with an in-dash CD changer, mp3/iPod connectivity and one is in for a harmonious ride.
Back to the price tag. It is, after all, a Jaguar and the $58,550 sticker of the test vehicle I drove should come as no surprise. (That includes $375 for heated front windshield, $475 for electric rear sunblind and $325 for the heated leather steering wheel.)
As for the driving experience, the Jaguar XF is equipped with a 385 horsepower V8 engine that provides excellent acceleration that I put through the paces on highways in Pennsylvania and Maryland. It moved magnificently from an easy prowl to a stunning pounce to full out charge. Braking and cornering were flawless. In this XF model—there are four to choose from with three different engines—the six-speed automatic transmission features paddle shift so the driver can alternate between manual and automatic control.
My only disappointment was that the XF ride was not as smooth and rattle-free as I expected. Considering the stellar level of every other aspect of the vehicle, the bumpiness of the ride stood out.
Rear seating isn’t particularly roomy but it is adequate, however the vehicle does have 17.7 cubic feet of trunk space, which can be expanded by folding down a rear seat. It provided plenty of room for me during a weekend getaway with luggage, laptop and supplemental packages.
A Jaguar isn’t a vehicle that one owns for its fuel efficiency so its 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway estimates should be expected.
Among the Jaguar XF’s other features: active head restraints, side curtain airbags, blind spot monitor and anti-theft engine immobilizer. It also has something called Jaguar Sense, which allows control of the overhead lights simply by moving a hand close to the light surface.