Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Cabin lacks the original XF’s wow factor
  • Remains a luxurious place to spend time
  • Pivi Pro multimedia system impresses

This second-generation Jaguar XF’s interior is impressive but it never was the case from the start when this was launched back in 2015.

The distinct lack of theatre from its predecessor was all too evident when the revolving air vents had been limited to the outer ones, and the wide range of colours and materials that used to dress the cabin had been largely replaced with a wealth of grey surfaces. If this didn’t look like a huge costcutting exercise, it certainly looked neglected.

Thankfully, the biggest change for the 2021 XF can be found in here – it doesn’t take long to notice the lift in cabin ambience and while the rising selector and revolving air vents have gone altogether, the upmarket use of colours, materials and digital controls feel a worthy trade.

The 11.4-inch, curved centre touchscreen offers greater clarity of graphics than previous XFs, with the Pivi Pro infotainment system being more responsive to touches and greater connectivity than before. The screen may not sit flush within the dash, but we found it to benefit usability, being just that little bit closer to reach.

The 12.3-inch digital driver’s screen is also the most up to date and standard on SE models and up. It can feel like there are a lot of menus to scroll through when using the steering wheel buttons, while rivals make it easier with rotary controls, but it’s clear and easy to read.

The optional head-up display has also improved over the years, with big, clear, coloured font as opposed to the early iterations and its orange, dot-matrix-like display lifted from the 1990s. The unit itself continues to look rather crudely grafted onto the top of the instrument binnacle, though.

Elsewhere the remainder of the cabin looks to be inspired by the old XF – particularly with the broad wooden plinths across the dash – and the low dash top which gives you a good view of the road ahead. The electric front seats offer adjustable lumbar, side bolsters and thigh support and prove to be comfortable over long journeys.

The multi-functioning rotary switches for the the climate control look smart, but take a while to get used to, as they control the temperature, heated seats or fan speed if you give them a push or pull beforehand. Once you’ve mastered these, they’re very logical to use and easy to adjust with minimal distraction. The centre touch-senstive buttons require a little more attention however, as they are small and easy to miss.

Some of the switchgear can feel a little cheap and hollow compared with some of its rivals, but the upgrade in touch points and appearance overall brings it closer to them.

Is it comfortable?

  • Easier to get into the more spacious cabin
  • Rivals remain roomier, though
  • Firmer ride and noisier than rivals

Jaguar XF comfort was already well-regarded and this iteration takes this to a new level. Most obvious is the increased interior space and ease of access, despite the overall reduction in the XF’s length and height. The cabin is lighter and more airy thanks to an increased glass area, including a third side window behind the rear doors. The added benefit of which is the door itself can be more upright in shape making getting in and out easier.

A sizeable 51mm wheelbase increase has liberated more room for passengers, particularly in the back, while lowering the seat itself has increased headroom too.

Consequently, the Jaguar XF will now genuinely carry four six-foot-tall adults with relative ease, although sitting three adults abreast on the back seat will remain a tricky exercise.

Those seats themselves are new to this generation XF and look tauter and sportier, but are no less comfortable for it. The XF’s stiffer body makes it inherently quieter inside with less chance for squeaks and rattles to develop, while the soft-close door option prevents louder slams.

Rear seat passengers get a centre armrest, a pair of air vents and a 12v socket, but you can add optional USB ports, heated outer rear seats, a gesture control sunblind, as well as a powered one for the rear windscreen.

Two damper types are offered with the Jaguar XF suspension. The standard dampers provide a more supple ride at lower speeds, and a stiffer one at high speeds to aid handling to prevent the car wallowing along over motorway undulations. It’s firm compared with rivals, but not to the point of being detrimental to long-distance comfort.

Those selecting R-Dynamic models come with a sports suspension setup, which is a notch firmer to help deliver slightly better body control. Again, this may not be as luxurious as most of its rivals, but all XFs manage to deal with bumps well enough so that it’s not disruptive. The suspension is also well isolated enough to prevent any thumps being sent into the cabin, even over the most broken surfaces.

While it’s effective the superior adaptive dampers allow drivers to switch between different levels of firmness. Even in Sport mode, while the ride isn’t quite as cosseting as in Comfort mode it’s still pleasantly supple.

The XF is generally quiet over most roads, but the cracks start to show when the amount of road noise resonating in the cabin at motorway speeds start to build up over rougher surfaces. It’s by no means deafening, but most rivals provide a more hushed environment, which is a bit of a shame as Jaguar installed a road noise cancelling system as part of the 2021 facelift.

This gets worse if you opt for the P300 petrol, as the fake engine sound piped in through the stereo speakers hums away constantly when cruising on the motorway.