Jaguars have always been about looking very glamorous, travelling briskly and doing so in space and luxury.
However, the company can add ‘towing confidently’ to that list of attributes, because the current-shape (we’re looking here at the 2015-present model) XF executive car also makes a tremendous and award-winning way to tow your trailer.
The firm has experience in the tow car sector, because the previous-generation XF won its weight class in the Tow Car Awards back in 2012, a feat the new car repeated in 2017.
Indeed, it was the old XF (see Practical Caravan January 2017) that was largely credited with turning around the company’s fortunes at the time.
Fast-forward to 2015, and Jaguar saw little need to change what was a hugely successful formula, so the new XF featured evolutionary styling inside and out, although there were some more significant changes to be found under the skin.
Chief among these was a new diesel engine range, Ingenium, which was a leap forward over the ageing units that had seen service in the previous car.
These new engines came with a couple of power options, and were much more efficient than the old diesels. They were linked to a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic transmission. From 2016, Jaguar gave the car the option of a four-wheel-drive system (albeit only with the higher-powered Ingenium and automatic gearbox fitted), and the year after that, a 297bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine found its way under the bonnet.
The second-generation XF was launched to build on the success of its award-winning predecessor. To that end, it had the all-new British-built Ingenium engines up front, plus a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbodiesel or a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine. Now, these latter two engines are undeniably punchy and comparatively efficient, but need not trouble the minds of tow car buyers. That’s because the higher-powered of the two 2.0-litre turbodiesels is perfect for the job.
The motor generates 178bhp and 317lb ft of torque, and we’d be inclined to go for a car with optional automatic transmission, which changes gear swiftly and smoothly, and always seems to know which gear you want.
Adding a heavy trailer to the Jaguar causes few ill-effects. It has more than enough punch to make acceleration easy, and remains stable even through violent lane-change manoeuvres.
Neither are hill starts any concern – the electric handbrake holds everything steady.
Better still, the Jag is superb to drive when you’re travelling solo. It turns into corners quicker than a big executive car has any right to, and will hang on long after your bravery has exited stage left.
This driving enjoyment exacts no price in terms of comfort, as long as you avoid cars with the larger alloys. Bigger wheels also generate a bit more road noise.
Cabin space is pretty good, with a 6ft passenger able to sit comfortably behind a driver of similar height. The rear seat is best for two rather than three, though, because the central tunnel impinges on foot space.
Boot space is a reasonable 540 litres (505 with a space-saver wheel), and the rear seats can be folded for extra practicality.
However, if you need even more room, there’s always the Sportbrake estate, which has up to 1700 litres of boot space.
Standard kit is good, on even the entry Prestige model, which has keyless start, xenon lights, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, sat nav and DAB radio.
Of course, all XF’s perform their showpiece start-up routine, in which the vents rotate and the gear selector rises from the centre console. If there’s any downside, the touchscreen can be a bit clunky at times.
Jaguar’s reliability record is perhaps not all that it could be, but the good news is, the second-generation XF hasn’t been unduly afflicted. The weakest spot appears to be the electrics and electronics, which can cause spurious warning lights and messages to appear. One of the recalls the car has been subjected to was to have software in the digital dashboard and the infotainment system upgraded.
The fuel set-up has also been a weak point, with the car being given three recalls for problems at various points in the system.
These were for an incorrectly routed fuel pipe, which could chafe and leak, for incorrect brazing on the fuel rail end-caps, and finally for a leaky fuel return hose. Next up, a cracked inner sill panel could fracture a fuel pipe if the car was in a collision.
Lastly, some models were found to be missing a passenger-seat detection mat, so wouldn’t warn if the occupant wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
Even earlier XF Mk2 models will not long have exited their warranty, so there’s strong chance any car you’re looking at will be in fine fettle.
If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for a high-end tow car, you won’t go too far wrong with a second-generation XF. It looks fantastic, is stacked with kit and drives superbly, and adding a trailer has little effect on its conduct. It’s even fairly frugal with our preferred engine.
Choose a cared-for example with a few choice extras, and it should serve you well while retaining much of its value.
Jaguar XF – need to know
How much? £12,000-£29,500
You can pick up an XF Mk2 from just £12,000, but it’ll have a mileage that’s heading up towards six figures. That needn’t exclude it, however, because high mileage at a young age tends to be motorway mileage – much easier on the car.
A budget of £16,000 gives you options, of either a 2017 car with a mileage of around 60,000 or an older example thats done fewer miles.
Upping the budget so that it starts with a two will get you a barely run-in example with plenty of standard equipment, at a Jaguar dealership.
What will it tow?
- Kerbweight 1595kg
- 85% match 1356kg
- Towing limit 2000kg
- Noseweight limit 100kg
How much is a towball?
- Witter flange towbar £177.32
- Witter detachable towbar £291.58
- Fitting extra (from pfjones.co.uk)
What about servicing?
- Interim service £104.81
- Full service £139.54
- (Prices supplied by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262)
The good and the not so good
Top tug: Jaguar XF 2.0d 180 Prestige auto
Ideal combination of strong, efficient 178bhp engine, smooth automatic gearbox, stylish cabin and lots of kit.
Barge pole: 3.0 V6 supercharged petrol 8
There’s no doubt the V6 has the muscle to move a trailer and sounds great, but you’ll pay the price in fuel bills.
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The Jag is superb to drive when you're travelling solo. It turns into corners quicker than a big executive car has any right to, and will hang on long after your bravery has exited stage left