2017 Jaguar XF 20d: Great Car, Loud Engine

Strong points
  • Wicked looks
  • High-end interior
  • Great fuel economy
Weak points
  • Loud motor
  • Small screen
  • Slow acceleration
Full report

For 2017, Jaguar has added an interesting diesel option to the XF, which now has a choice of four engines: the 247-horsepower four-cylinder turbo (25t), the 340-hp supercharged V6 (35t), the 380-hp V6 (S) and the 180-hp turbo-diesel four-cylinder (20d). The latter is selectively available in three trim levels, including Premium, Prestige and R-Sport.

In case you’re wondering, the XF is Jaguar’s answer to the BMW 5 series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class, among others, in the midsize luxury segment. The two-letter designation can be a bit confusing sometimes and I’m sure readers who are less familiar with the models appreciate the explanation.

Photo: Danny Geraghty

So why is it odd that a small diesel should find its way under the hood of the 2017 Jaguar XF? Well, for starters, people who opt for diesels aren’t usually your typical XF buyers. Diesel has many advantages over gasoline such as better fuel economy and more torque, but it also has a few disadvantages such as louder engine noise and, usually, less horsepower. The Ingenium 2.0L four-banger under the hood of this test vehicle sounded like a 1990 Volkswagen Jetta with 200,000 kilometres on the odometer. The 180 horses were able to move the car forward, but not with any kind of neck-jarring acceleration. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h time is done in 8.4 seconds.

Now, if you’re in the market for a sleek new Jaguar and have a budget of $50-$60K before taxes, I would imagine fuel economy is probably not at the top of your list of dealbreakers. It’s nice that the diesel boasts an impressive 6.9 L/100 km combined city/highway rating, but more likely than not, you’d probably accept it if the vehicle drank a little more. That’s not to say upper-middle-class people cannot be environmentally conscious, but the vast majority won’t sacrifice certain things to save a few bucks at the pump. Among those things are a nice sounding car and power to spare under the hood. That being said, fuel economy was remarkable for a midsize sedan.

At the moment, Jaguar is the only European manufacturer offering a diesel engine for this class in Canada. Audi doesn’t offer one for the A6 and while BMW and Mercedes-Benz have had them in the past, none are available for the current models—though they do plan to bring them at some point. In order to have success with a diesel in a luxury car, the engine requires some refining –a feat that BMW and Mercedes have accomplished. I felt like the Jaguar diesel could be worked over a little to produce a smoother, quieter drive.

Jaguar has managed to keep the weight of the all-wheel-drive XF below that of the A6 and E-Class, coming in at just 1700 kilograms (3750 pounds). The new aluminum construction introduced last year is primarily responsible for the savings and results in an agile and nimble sedan. The XF hugs the road with precision during cornering and will feel right at home on your favourite curvy backcountry road.

Photo: Danny Geraghty

The interior of the 2017 Jaguar XF is also one of its strong points. The luxury cabin of the R-Sport trim features black and red perforated leather seats, piano black finishing and a very comfortable sport steering wheel. Jaguar’s philosophy is to keep the button clutter low for a classier feel and they’ve done a good job at not removing any of the required functionality. The rotating knob gear shifter is fun to use and glides into the console when the car is off. The newly redesigned infotainment system is leaps and bounds better than the old system and much more user-friendly. The screen is only eight inches in diameter, however, rendering it a tad on the small side.

The look of a Jaguar is unmistakably rich as is evidenced by the number of stares I got driving down the street and in parking lots. It screams “high-end” and is more unique than any of the Audi, BMW or Mercedes models. If you want to stand out a little more, the XF is the car you want.

Priced between $58,900 and $79,990 before freight and delivery charges, the 2017 Jaguar XF comes in at less than all of its European competitors. If you can stomach the noise and don’t care about horsepower figures then by all means, go for the diesel. If you can’t, just opt for one of the gasoline engines, but in any case, the XF is a great option to consider.

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