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HELLO! Road Test: We test drive the Jaguar XF Saloon P250 on a staycation to the North Yorkshire moors

Jaguar's Saloon combines technology, design and driving dynamics

The Jaguar XF is one of the most efficient and refined saloon cars that Jaguar has ever produced. Check out our review below plus expert opinion from our in-house car specialist.

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The Jaguar XF reviewers

We’re a family of four – our kids are now teenagers and when we go away we don’t need quite the huge amount of paraphernalia as we did when they were young.

First impressions of the Jaguar XF Saloon P250

The Jaguar XF Saloon P250 is a very, very good-looking car. Ours was in a dark green which looked almost black when the sun wasn’t out. But when the sun shone, the green literally sparkled, this was a very beautiful vehicle. We were test driving the car for a long drive from London to Yorkshire to visit family, and when, within minutes of our arrival, the parents were taking pictures of the car, rather than the grandkids, we realised we had a vehicle to be proud of on our hands!

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The Jaguar XF Saloon looks stunning on the road

How the Jaguar XF Saloon P250 drives

We were road testing this car for its family friendly capabilities and it’s the first time in over ten years that we haven’t driven either a people carrier or an SUV. Travel with children is bulky – but for us, the days of car seats, travel cots, high chair and stair gates are behind us so we (my husband in particular) were eager to trial the move to a saloon.

I was nervous that I’d find it hard to adapt. I like the SUV feeling of being up high and the feeling of safety it provides, so I was surprised how quickly I adapted to being much lower to the ground. The luxury of the Jaguar’s surroundings certainly helped. It’s a very comfortable ride and there’s plenty of space all around. Everything is right where it should be from an ergonomic perspective and you feel utterly in control of the vehicle – more so in some ways by being closer to the road.

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The back seats were incredibly spacious – no problem with leg room here for either tall teenage boys or the adults when the kids were insisting on a front seat ride. I think it’s easier to drift off to sleep in a saloon car too – at least Jaguar’s combination of luxury leather and cosy, adjustable seats created a temptingly snoozy cocoon! No wonder the royals love travelling this way in style.

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The interior of the car is very spacious

Boot space was our major concern, having got into the habit of taking just about everything bar the kitchen sink whenever we set off on road trips, and packing was definitely a little more challenging. That being said, we did manage to squeeze four soft suitcases, a couple of food bags, backpacks and walking and hiking gear into our boot, it just took a bit more of a tetris-style approach than our usual ‘chuck it all in the back'.

City driving was pleasant. The inbuilt screen operates satnav, phone syncing, climate control and music – it’s fairly instinctive to use and provides all mod cons – and is really nice and big.

But it was motorway driving that really showed what this car was capable of, and for my husband, the ability to jump from automatic to manual using paddles on the steering wheel, took this driving experience to the next level. No longer was he simply transporting the family and a heap of stuff from one part of the country to another – this was driving. An enjoyable art. The five hours to Yorkshire passed in a happy blur. None of us were desperate for this journey to end.

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What's the Jaguar XF Saloon P250 like for passengers?

There’s no doubt that for functionality, a big SUV is a practical family car – but our time in a Jaguar XF left us wondering if practicality is really the most important thing in life. It’s hard to put your finger on why this is the case – I think it’s a combination of all the infinite well-thought through details and the luxurious choices that have been made – but there’s no escaping the fact that a drive in this car felt more relaxing, less frustrating and simply enjoyable than similar journeys in other cars we’ve driven.

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If your kids are older then this car is a great option

If you’ve got a large, young family, you may struggle with this car – but if your kids are older or you’re a family of four, this could be a really good option – particularly if the parents don’t want to compromise on drive or environment in the front. As well as having a boot which does fit your main requirements for a week or two away, there’s quite a lot of storage room inside the car too. If the back middle seat isn’t needed for a passenger you can keep a lot in that space too, and the door pockets are very roomy for snacks, drinks and journey essentials. There’s even a little storage zone for your sunglasses.

We didn’t trial it, but there are a couple of bike rack options for this car too, which are good family add ons. Plus, the colour-changing LEDs around the doors were a huge hit with the kids (and big kids!).

Downsides of the Jaguar XF Saloon P250

The only real downsides are the ones mentioned above which may or may not be downsides for you, depending on your family and your style of packing. This is a sports saloon so of course you can’t take as much in it as you can a sporty SUV, but we think it’s an acceptable trade off for the comfort and ride of the car.

The beep alerts when approaching cars, bollards or hedges with the car are effective, yes, but very startling and extremely loud if there is no option but to snuggle close to a hedge on a slim country road. There’s probably a way to reduce the volume, though we couldn’t find it easily. But while the urgency of the alarms sent adults into a bit of a frenzy, the kids felt it was quite right – this is a Jaguar, they said. You mustn’t scratch it!

Jaguar XF Saloon P250 expert opinion

HELLO!'s motoring expert Gareth Herincx gives the lowdown: "In a sector dominated by the German trio of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, the Jaguar XF has always had to be better than good in order to stand the slightest chance of competing. Thankfully, it is impressive, and it's been treated to regular updates to keep it relevant. Also available with all-wheel drive and as one of the best-looking estate cars in the world (badged Sportbrake), the XF is a class act, featuring the latest infotainment and safety systems.

"Add comfort, space and superb handling and it's well worth a test drive. It's just a shame that there isn't a plug-in hybrid version like most of its rivals."

Jaguar XF Saloon P250 facts

  • Price: from £38,310
  • Engine: 2.0-litre petrol turbo (250bhp)
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • 0-60mph (0-100 km/h): 6.5 secs (6.9 secs)
  • Economy: 33.4mpg
  • Emissions: 190g/km
  • Luggage capacity (rear seats up 459 litres, rear seats down 917 litres)

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