With Jaguar having dropped its flagship XJ sedan and entry-level XE compact sedan, the XF remains its sole four-door offering, at least until the arrival of an electrified XJ.
This has led Jaguar to revise its model line-up as demand for the XF slumped 88% in five years. Some of it could be attributed to the XE, which looked fairly similar and was significantly cheaper.
With the XE consigned to history, the British automaker slashed the XF’s base price by $7,105 from 2020. It now starts at $43,995 plus destination, not far from the 2020 XE’s $40,950 base price.
This should help increase sales, as rivals such as the BMW 5 Series with a base price of $54,200, Mercedes-Benz E-Class ($54,950), and Audi A6 ($55,400) are similarly sized and cost significantly more. And all are powered by 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines — at least in base trim. That makes the Jaguar XF an outright bargain in its class, something that hasn’t been said of a Jaguar in years. But unlike its German rivals, a 380-horsepower supercharged 6-cylinder engine, available in 2020, is no longer offered.
For the 2021 model year, the Jaguar XF gets a midcycle refresh, with the expected styling tweaks to its headlights, taillights, grille and minor exterior updates. Those improvements include the return of the leaper to the side of the car.
The bigger news comes inside, with redesigned cabin that endows the car with a sense of luxury the model has long lacked. Offered in base P250 S, mid-level P250 SE and top-of-the-line P300 R-Dynamic trim.
The biggest change on the 2021 Jaguar XF’s exterior is the grille that incorporates a diamond shape cribbed from an old Jaguar logo. And, designers added the leaper to the front side vents, adding a distinctive embellishment to what otherwise could have been a generic design. And lighting has been updated as well, mirroring that of the F-Pace SUV. It’s subtle, but effective.
The inside story is the big news here. The great swathes of leather and wood Jaguar was once synonymous with have been replaced by with a contemporary British elan, sleek and minimalistic without being stark.
Yes, you can get wood, but it will be open pore, and possess a feel that leaves little doubt to its authenticity, rather than being printed plastic. The rotating shifter, always a cause of frustration, has been replaced by a shift lever accented in cricket ball stitching, while the drive mode selector pops up from the center console and features the Jaguar logo diamond shape knurled into its sides — a pleasant surprise. The climate controls, located beath the touchscreen, are easy to used. Head and leg room are fairly generous up front, and adequate in the rear — typical of this breed.
All XFs are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. It’s rated at 246 horsepower in P250 trim, and 296 horsepower in P300 models. All-wheel drive is optional. Those specs closely mirror its German rivals. And the Meridian audio system fills the cabin with splendid sound.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 Jaguar XF. But it does have a fair number of driver-assistance features. Thoughtfully, the Jaguar XF comes with five years or 60,000 miles of complimentary scheduled service.
The new XF uses a new electronic vehicle architecture that facilitates over-the-air software updates, and operates Jaguar’s Pivi Pro infotainment system. The new user interface has an editorial-like setup, and most operations can be done in one or two clicks.
But the navigation system is slow, so much so that it’s easy to miss turns or mistake where you are. Jaguar needs something more powerful than the Qualcomm chips it currently uses. The large 11.4-inch screen is easy to use, and floats in front of the instrument panel, rather than being recessed as in earlier versions.
With the higher horsepower variants of the XF consigned to history and the interior significantly upgraded, Jaguar is clearly repositioning this car as a more of a luxury GT rather than a mass market hot-blooded sports sedan. This makes for a far more pleasant car to drive in daily circumstances, and the XF comfortably soaks up the worst road irregularities. It feels fairly agile, although more power would be appreciated. Being a luxury sedan, there should be more than 246 horsepower on tap in the P250.
The P300 test car’s 296 horses felt sufficient for the task at hand, but is a far cry from the higher horsepower powerplants once used. The car exhibits little body lean in corners, and the cabin is hushed. It’s a fairly good performance that please most motorists, but leave driving enthusiasts wanting more.
While some driving enthusiasts may be disappointed with its diminished power, most drivers will find the XF to be a modern Jaguar luxury car, with a brand-new, high-quality interior at a far lower price point than last year. And word is that the 2022 XF will remain carryover, so you have time to nab this bargain.
2021 Jaguar XF – Frequently Asked Questions
Do Jaguars have high maintenance costs?
According to Repairpal.com, the Jaguar XF has an average annual repair cost for a Jaguar is $1,123, which is average. The site rates Jaguar’s reliability rating at 2.5 out of 5.0, or 29th out of 32 for all car brands.
Is the 2021 Jaguar XF reliable?
Consumer Reports rates the Jaguar XF as having worse than average reliability. J.D. Power ranks Jaguars as having 186 problems per 100 cars after three years of ownership, higher than the industry average of 121 problems per 100 cars in 2021.
Who owns Jaguar now?
Tata Motors of India.