2016 Jaguar XF
Jaguar has been on a roll lately, whether you’re talking about setting the pace in the F Pace or building our type of thrill ride with the F Type. Now they turn their efforts towards the more traditional XF midsize sedan. So, let’s see if they can continue to set their type of pace.
While the Jaguar F-type and F-Pace have certainly drawn lots of attention to the brand, its cars like this 2016 Jaguar XF that will truly have much more of an impact on the brand’s long term success.
Like most recent Jags and the trend of cars in general, this 2nd generation XF has dropped some pounds, riding on a new aluminum structure.
But it’s the powertrain options that are the biggest talking points about this new XF. That being the F-type’s supercharged 3.0-liter V6 available in two levels; base 340-horsepower and in upgraded S version with 380.
Both variations get an 8-speed automatic transmission with available all-wheel-drive. A diesel option will follow shortly.
Our early drive time in Arizona was mostly spent in the more powerful XF S; and we found plenty of get up and go, no matter where we got up and went. Still, that muscle is delivered in a more civilized fashion than with brute force.
Like most vehicles, the XF has made the switch to electric power-assisted steering; and here we loved it. There’s plenty of feedback, along with a nice and direct feel. BMW take note!
We expected to see some improvement in handling, but we got even more than we anticipated. That lighter and stiffer chassis, along with the F-type inspired double-wishbone front and integral link rear suspension, provides a very agile feel, and should be just what was needed to make the XF much more competitive with its German rivals.
Ride quality equally falls on the firm side of things; not harsh, but surely stiffer than the typical American buyer will anticipate.
The ZF 8-speed is still good as it gets, delivering smooth and fast shifts no matter your driving style. Jag puts 0-60 right at 5.0-seconds. JaguarDrive Control offers a typical range of driving modes.
And, during our drive we did not find an extreme level of isolation, or disconnect. Still it was very quiet inside. The throttle is very aggressive, especially in sport mode. But unlike the boisterous F-Type, a fairly tame exhaust note reveals the XF’s clearly luxury character.
That theme is really played out inside where the cabin is top drawer in both look and feel. Material quality has climbed exponentially; and there is plenty of space and comfort to be found at all seating positions.
Base gauges have a familiar look to them, but a configurable 12-inch TFT virtual gauge panel is also available. A new InControl Touch Pro system takes over the duties for infotainment, and worked well enough in our limited exposure.
The trunk area is well-finished, and holds a very generous 19.1 cubic-ft. of goods.
There are certainly more F-type notions to the updated exterior, but clearly the XF is its own cat.
The front end does wear a more aggressive look, with larger intakes and a more vertical grille, but in profile the same basic coupe-inspired shape of the previous car remains.
From the rear, things have been tidied up with cleaner lines and sharper fit to all of the pieces; which include LED taillights that are the most overt homage to the F-Type. Standard wheels are 18s, with the S rolling on 20s.
All of the expected safety systems including Autonomous Emergency Braking are available.
So while this new XF has improved across the board and perhaps gotten a little more accessible, we think it’ll still appeal most to the buyer who’s looking for something other than a ubiquitous German sport sedan.
The lighter weight and more efficient powertrain has improved the XF’s Government Fuel Economy Ratings to 20-City, 30-Highway, and 24-Combined. For an average Energy Impact Score of 13.7-barrels of oil consumed and 6.2- tons of CO2 emitted yearly.
Pricing starts at $52,895 for a 35t Premium, with the XF S beginning at $63,695.
The 2016 Jaguar XF was certainly due for an update, as the previous gen had been around since 2009. But, this thorough redesign does much more than just carry on business as usual in the midsize luxury sport sedan segment. With huge gains in both posh and performance, much like the F-type, it’s primed to have a major impact on its segment. This cat is on the prowl.
- Engine: 3.0 liter V6
- Horsepower: 340 / 380
- Torque: 332 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
- EPA: 20 mpg city/ 30 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 13.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.2 tons/yr
Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better
When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.
The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.
Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.
A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.
That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.
The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.
At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.
While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.
Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!
- Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 227 | 250
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
- EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined