Our cars: Jaguar XF - March 2012
Week ending March 30
Driven this week: 447 miles
Jaguar XF review
I’ve been racking up the miles at quite a rate, and recently the car began to remind me that the 16,000-mile service was due. I tried ringing round a few dealers, but was disappointed that two of them (Grange Jaguar Swindon and Guy Salmon Thames Ditton) had no one available to speak to me at the time of my call, then each took a full seven hours to get back to me.
The dealer who took my call efficiently and quickly, Guy Salmon Oxford (01865 865100), got my business. They proved equally efficient on the appointed day; the service was quick, the coffee was strong, the chairs comfortable and the updates regular. They also charged just £230, which was reasonable.
Week ending March 23
Driven this week: 350 miles
Kids know how to record from the Sky Box better than you and beat you on the Wii. That's fact, but I didn't reckon on my five-year-old daughter getting up to speed with a car's gizmos faster than me, however that's what happened when I borrowed the XF last weekend.
Annabel and I were sitting in the car while parked at the supermarket and she wanted to put on the interior lights. It was more by accident that design but she activated the motion-sensing lights while I was still looking for the on-off button. A wave of her hand and the lights came on - by magic she sagely informed me, nodding.
I think I prefer a good, old-fashioned button though. You know where you are with a button - waving vaguely in the air just doesn't seem precise enough.
Week ending March 16
Driven this week: 300 miles
Hallelujah! The Jag’s back on conventional tyres, and the difference is remarkable. All of its former poise and delicacy has returned. It feels smoother and more comfortable on straight roads, and grippier and more willing to respond on twistier stuff.
I know hindsight is always 20/20, but I’m not convinced I’d go for the winter rubber option again – the effect on the car’s day-to-day abilities is too great. Then again, if we’d had a winter like the previous two, I might be telling an entirely different tale.
Nonetheless, the spring and summer stretch ahead and I’m looking forward to doing a lot of miles in the XF. Talking of miles, I’ve been racking them up at quite a rate, because the car has just started to remind that its first service is due at 16,000 miles. I’ve tried ringing round a few dealers, but I was disappointed that two of them had no one available to speak to me at the time of my call, then took a full seven hours to get back to me.
The dealer who took my call efficiently and quickly got my business. I’ll let you know if the rest of the service is up to scratch.
Week ending March 9
Driven this week: 726 miles
A few months ago I had a set of Pirelli Sottozero winter tyres fitted to the Jag, in anticipation of the widely forecast horrible weather that lay ahead.
I’m unconvinced that this was a good idea, and not just because snow has been largely absent.
The tyres themselves are the cause, because they behave very curiously indeed until fully warmed through. This oddness manifests itself as a pronounced thrumming through the car, accompanied by a vibration.
In fact, on two occasions so far, it’s been bad enough for me to pull over and make sure I haven’t got a flat tyre.
Nope, all the pressures are absolutely fine, and the noise and vibration subsides after a few miles. It’s odd, and it detracts from the joy of driving one of the best cars I’ve ever run.
The good news is that conventional tyres are being fitted next week. Roll on Monday!
Week ending March 2
Current mileage 13,574
Driven this week: 774 miles
The XF was employed as motorway cruiser recently, taking three people from Surrey to Somerset for my niece’s sixth birthday party.
The spacious boot wasn’t troubled by our bags of presents, and the Jag’s impressive high-speed refinement and stability helped make the 320-mile round trip feel like half the distance.
You’ll struggle to hear the engine when cruising, and it’s got plenty of overtaking punch. If you spend most of your time on the motorway, this four-cylinder version won’t feel like a poor relation compared with the V6 diesels.
It does around town, though. There’s too much telltale diesel rattle at idle and low revs, which is something the V6s don’t suffer from.
The Jag’s engine is more refined than the four-cylinder unit in the Mercedes E-Class, but it can’t match those in the Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series for smoothness. Still, it doesn’t stop the XF being a special way to cover long distances.