2015 Jaguar XF 2.0 i4D 163 review

This entry-level XF engine offers class-leading emissions and economy, which makes it an attractive option for company car drivers. Does it still handle as well? We drive it in the UK...

2 Dec 2015 11:38 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

The new Jaguar XF is no stranger to What Car?; we’ve already tried the range-topping 296bhp V6 diesel and mid-range, 178bhp four-cylinder diesel. Now it’s time to try the first rung on the ladder.

This 161bhp diesel is effectively the same 2.0-litre unit used by the 178bhp engine, but has been tweaked to offer better fuel economy and lower emissions. Despite the XF's size the manual car should be good for 70.6mpg on the official combined cycle.

It emits only 104g/km of CO2. For company car users, this means a BIK rate of just 18%. For the moment at least, that beats Audi’s A6, BMW’s 5 Series and Mercedes’ E-Class.

An automatic transmission is optional, but it hurts the figures; the self-shifting gearbox manages 68.9mpg and 109g/km. That's still very competitive and better than the more powerful diesel XFs.


What’s the Jaguar XF 2.0d 163 like to drive?

Even with less power, the XF is still capable of rewarding the keen driver. The steering is much quicker than you might first expect and very precise - a real boon should you want to have some fun.

The suspension still strikes a fine balance between ride comfort and cornering ability, too, especially on the standard 17in wheels. Even broken surfaces are dealt with exceptionally well, with only the occasional thump when faced with a particularly vicious bump. You hear it more than you feel it, though.

As for the engine, it has a good spread of torque but feels a little weak given the abilities of the chassis. If you’d stepped from a 2.0-litre Ford Mondeo or similar you'd be happy enough but we can't help but think a BMW 520d offers similar economy with a lot more urge.

As with the 178bhp unit, it can also sound strained when you work it hard. Given its lower power and torque output, this is something you’ll have to do even more with this 161bhp version of Jaguar’s 2.0-litre diesel engine.


What’s the Jaguar XF 2.0d 163 like inside?

Despite Prestige trim being the entry-level variant, you still get plenty of standard equipment. This includes an 8in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and Bluetooth connectivity, on-board wi-fi, leather upholstery plus auto lights and wipers.

It’s an attractive dashboard. The wheel is lifted from Jag's sporty F-Type while the dash wraps around you into the doors. All major controls are nicely laid out and it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. Those in the back have plenty of room as well, while the XF's boot is a good size overall, if a little narrow towards its rear quarters. 

It’s not all good news. The infotainment screen is a touch low on the dash, while interior quality is patchy in places. There are some hard, scratchy plastics in some areas, while some of the veneers marked easily. The Germans still rule the roost when it comes to interior quality.

Should I buy one?

There are a lot of very good reasons to opt for the XF. Those looking for low running costs will be tempted by the low CO2 emissions, while 50mpg will be possible in real-world driving. Company car drivers will love the low tax bracket, too. 

If you can put up with performance that is adequate at best, the handling will put a smile on the keen driver’s face. We’d even say it’s a marginally better steer than even the exceptional BMW 5 Series.

The trouble is, the 178bhp version is only £500 more to buy initially and feels the much stronger unit on the road. It’s also worth mentioning that the more powerful engine with a manual or auto is only 3.2mpg and 5g/km down on the 161bhp variant with a self-shifting gearbox. 

Ultimately, it’s the more powerful motor we’d opt for. It’s much more in keeping with the sports saloon aspirations of the XF.

What Car? says...


Rivals

Audi A6

BMW 5 Series

Jaguar XF 2.0d 163

Engine size

2.0-litre diesel

Price 

£32,300

Power

161bhp

Torque

280lb ft

0-62mph

8.7 seconds

Top speed

132mph

Fuel economy

70.6mpg

CO2

104g/km