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  • Looks fantastic; lush cabin; sweet steering; superb chassis refinement; diesel torque and economy; value equation compared with German rivals
  • Ride is slightly unsettled on 20-inch tyres; lacks rear legroom and headroom compared with other large cars; frustrating low-rev engine response

8 / 10

Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
by Daniel DeGasperi

It isn’t quite a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Jaguar XF 2.2D, but it definitely is a four-cylinder diesel with big alloys and sports trimmings.

Make of that combination what you will, but our optioned-up Jaguar XF 2.2D test car is a surprisingly alluring package.

Surprising, first, because even when the $76,500 XF 2.2D Premium Luxury is optioned with 35-aspect 20-inch gloss black alloys ($3570), an exterior ‘black pack’ ($1500), interior black veneer ($1530) and a split-fold rear seat ($1000 – stingy!) the total barely exceeds that of an unoptioned BMW 520d ($81,300) or Mercedes-Benz E200 CDI ($82,400).

Looks are subjective, sure, but the Jaguar XF looks as fabulous today as when it first made us all forget about the dowdy S-Type back in 2007. Even better, if anything, thanks to last year’s facelift that also brought a far more intuitive colour touchscreen display. Plus a ‘carnelian’ red-with-black-bits Jaguar XF rolling on 20s does pull more looks per traffic light than a 520d on 17s…

Pedestrians probably won’t miss the diesel clatter, though. The 2.2-litre diesel gets two turbochargers to help hike outputs to 140kW of power at 3500rpm and 450Nm of torque at just 2000rpm. Those numbers are stronger than both the (135kW/380Nm) 520d and (125kW/400Nm) E220 CDI, though at 5.2L/100km claimed combined, the XF 2.2D can’t quite duck into the ‘4s’ like that duo can.

Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review

A claimed 8.5-second 0-100km/h feels about right, though even then it fails to convey the stronger push through the mid-range as the two turbos start thrusting.

Where the 2.2-litre Jaguar engine feels less than premium, however, is in terms of its refinement and response.

From the outside, in particular, there’s plenty of traditional compression-injection clatter. It’s decently subdued inside, but the engine doesn’t idle silently, nor is the cabin completely vibration free. The Benz diesel, in particular, is less intrusive.

The power delivery of the engine is also far from linear. It feels very soft at the bottom end of the tacho, before giving way to that surging mid-range, but tapering off quite quickly. There is no point pushing past 4500rpm, though the automatic transmission upshifts at 4700rpm anyway.

The eight-speed gearbox, sourced from German company ZF and similar to the one used in the 520d, is a highlight. But even it can’t completely disguise the lag from the engine, which is most noticeable when attempting to pull out of a lane jammed with traffic and into the next lane that seemed free, but suddenly has a fourteen-wheeler looming large in the rear-view mirror.

Beyond the pricing and specifications, the other surprising thing about this particular Jaguar XF 2.2D is that it is one of the very few vehicles that feels to genuinely benefit from having larger, wider tyres.

Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review

Experience with many XF grades on smaller rubber revealed the chassis – which dates back to the 1999 S-Type – lacks both the sharp front end of a 5 Series and the supremely balanced feel of an E-Class. It is very good dynamically, but it frays at the edges.

The XF 2.2D on big wheels maintains the lush composure that is a classic trait of this particular Jaguar. It is simply unfazed by big bumps, big undulations and big divots in the road. When teamed with wonderfully light and quick steering – only vague when trying to pin a consistent line – the Jaguar XF 2.2D can be threaded down a mountain pass – fast – with fingers dancing lightly behind the leather-trimmed wheel.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I drove a car spiritedly while leaving the (excellent) audio system on, such is the Jag’s effortless and light-on-its-feet nature.

What marks the car as more than a bit special, though, is that the 255mm-wide Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres have the grip to offset the chassis’ lack of outright sharpness. Where an XF on lesser rubber will understeer when pressed, the XF 2.2D on 20-inch wheels just sticks determinedly. Yet when the understeer comes, lifting the throttle pivots the rear around beautifully. The stability control, thankfully, stays silent.

The thin sidewalls of the big tyres do have an effect on urban ride quality, but not to a great extent. There’s a mild restlessness over seemingly smooth roads, and a bit of jolting over pockmarks around town, but the ride smoothens out considerably as speeds rise, and the XF never crashes when punting along.

Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review

Along with the light steering and superb composure, quietness also marks the Jaguar XF as an easy drive.

The large tyres do throw up some coarse chip road noise, but it’s still impressively hushed, and no noisier than the recently facelifted Benz E250 tested a fortnight ago on the same roads.

While the interior of the Jaguar XF is mostly unchanged since its 2007 launch, as with the exterior it remains a beautiful design.

The rising circular transmission selector and acrobatic air vents add a bit of theatre to the lashings of leather on the dashboard, the cool glow of cocktail-bar blue lighting on the door trims and the stylish gloss inserts.

The colour touchscreen is now easy to use, and the standard satellite navigation on freeways even shows the anticipated times to the next three exits.

In an age of cheapening cow hides, the Jaguar leather trim feels quality, and wraps over supportive seats at the front.

The rear bench, however, is clearly designed to snuggle the outer two occupants more than welcomely embrace three people. There’s among the least legroom in the large car class and the transmission tunnel is intrusive, further restricting centre passenger comfort. That sloping, coupe-like roofline likewise hinders headroom for all three, though in the style stakes the XF could be compared with the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, not the E-Class; and the CLS 250 CDI with 150kW and 500Nm starts at a hefty $119,900.

Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
Jaguar XF 2.2D Review

At 540 litres boot space matches that of the E-Class and eclipses the 5 Series (by a scant 10L) though placing a split fold backrest on the options list is a bit rude.

With the grip to match the suspension composure and steering, and exterior styling that belies the relatively cheap price tag, the tested Jaguar XF 2.2D Premium Luxury is a very cohesive and convincing package.

The only reservation concerns the generation-behind diesel engine, but that’s a problem solved by choosing the quiet and super sweet 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that’s $1K-cheaper again.

That car, when optioned with the good-looking styling bits and sticky rubber, could be the Jaguar XF to bypass a German for…

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Jaguar XF 2.2D Review
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    Only 4 star crash rating too

    this 2.2 is not suitable for this car, maybe needs to be 2.5

    • Daniel

      Not 100% sure, but I’m pretty sure the four stars was down to a technicality, like some minor safety warning system not fitted, not because actual occupant safety was compromised.

    • pete

      Agree, and 1k for a split rear seat….cmon that’s enough reason to avoid it on principal.

  • Daniel

    Definitely one of the best cars in it’s class, especially for the price. It looks mean with the black pack and sheds that base-model look. Doesn’t have the best resale, but actually, most cars in this class don’t so that doesn’t mean much. And it’s far more interesting than most of the competition. Still a great car all these years later.

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, it still looks great inside and out and with the ecoboost 2.0 turbo or the bigger 3.0 twin turbo diesel it is a very good alternative to the germans

  • Shak

    Cars like Alfa’s and Jag’s are cars that you used to, and still do buy with your heart not your head. Those looks and that interior really do steal your breath away the first time you see one (the post facelift model that is).

  • Poison_Eagle

    So Jags still using Ford engines eh? How is this the case, and when does it subside?
    I notice Volvo does aswell, does the flipside allow Ford access to Volvo’s safety tech?

    • chris_xxxx

      Jaguar is currently building a new engine plant on the i54 business park in England. They will be making 4 cylinder petrol and diesel engines designed by Jaguar Land Rover.

      The V8 engines are built by Ford in Bridgend, Wales.

  • Peter

    Nice review. I’ve had both the pre and post facelift models (4.2NA and 5.0NA). My only real disagreement is that I find the touchscreen in the new ones too busy, although it is good that it has more in it. Just you have to aim a bit better when pressing things which can be a distraction when driving. And the hard drive takes about 20 seconds or so to boot up, so you have to wait before you get the reverse camera function, and bluetooth. Doesnt seem like much to say it, but it can be a nuisance. Aside from that, they are very special cars. And I didnt think that the resale on the 4.2 was too bad at all but then I am used to volvos which tend to lose 50 – 60% within 3 years.

    • Bill from OZ

      is everybody too busy stuffing around with touchscreens and other distracting electronics or do people actually drive cars nowadays! For Gods sake drive the bloody thing and stop raving about whether the “electronics do this or that” You drive a car simple! If you want to phone or whatever – programme the bloody thing before you actually get into the cat and drive! I am sorry but phones and all sorts of bloody electronic rubbish have no place in a car when you are driving on a road. You should be concentrating on the traffic around You!!!!!

      • Alf from SOUTH OZ

        Damn right Bill from OZ. People don’t know how to drive anymore, they want the car to do everything. A car is for driving.

  • Norm

    Love me an XF…but…one more generation to shake of the last echoes of Ford ownership? The are still some angles that say Falcon.

    • Hung Low

      Just for you, hopefully the next generation shares some angles with the Nano!

    • sparky

      More like Mondeo

  • F1orce

    No one expects a Diesel engine to excel in refinement..

    • Zaccy16

      they don’t but the diesels in the germans or even say the excellent refined 2.2 skyactiv diesel in the 6 and cx5 are more refined

  • Mike

    Beautiful exterior, but I just can’t get over the drooping dashboard.

  • chris_xxxx

    Next version will be all aluminium, with a wider range of models and AWD option on all engine choices and not just the V6 petrol.


    Nice, but I would get frustrated with lack or power

Jaguar XF Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$51,150 - $58,130
Dealer Retail
$49,400 - $58,740
Dealer Trade
$39,300 - $46,500
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
450Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
140kW @  3500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
5.4L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1850  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
235/55 R17
Rear Tyres
235/55 R17
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Control & Handling
Traction Control System
Xenon Headlights
Optional Features
Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
19 Inch Alloy Wheels
Cruise Control Intelligent/Active, Reversing Camera, Voice Recognition System
Premium Sound System, Television
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  16,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Under Driver Seat On Floor
Country of Origin
United Kingdom