Jaguar XF 2.2D 163PS SE
SECTOR Executive PRICE £29,950 FUEL 52.3mpg CO2 149g/km
The advantage of arriving late at a party is that generally you get to make quite an impression once the initial hullabaloo has died down.
So, while the German brands have been having a ball for the past few years, lapping up all those company car driver sales thanks to their low emission/high brand appeal formula, Jaguar has been sitting at home wondering how to get on the invite list.
And then, someone in the Midlands had a eureka moment and decided to install Ford’s 2.2-litre diesel engine under the bonnet of the XF. All of a sudden, the XF would have its place at the party.
But even that engine can’t match the economy and emission figures the Audi A6 2.0 TDI and BMW 520d muster, so Jaguar has gone back to the drawing board and come up with another version. This one uses the same 2.2 unit, but detuned from 190 to 163bhp. Economy and emissions figures stay the same (52.3mpg average, 149g/km of CO2), but the new model is priced substantially cheaper and is available in lower-specification versions.
However, Jaguar hasn’t scrimped too much on the spec. It’s still got the gimmicky pop-up gearknob selector, and the air vents all rotate to meet you when you switch the ignition on, but outside the 17-inch wheels look lost in the XF’s rear arches. Some cars manage to cope with being down-specced – the XF isn’t one of them.
On the road the XF feels a bit strained as it gets up to motorway speeds, and the engine noise intrudes into the cabin, but suddenly at 70mph the automatic gearbox slips into eighth gear, the rev needle drops to about 2,000rpm and you are whooshing along serenely.
This car is never going to challenge the German hegemony in the sector, but it at least offers something different. Just make sure you specify some larger alloys though.