Road Trip: 2013 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD
Road Trip: 2013 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD. Click image to enlarge

Review and Photos by Jeff Wilson

This wasn’t supposed to be the vehicle we took for our family road trip this summer. In fact, I had requested something with a diesel, or at least a comfortable hybrid that might provide a smooth, quiet, peaceful ride from Ontario to Nova Scotia and back. But on the morning I was set to pick up my scheduled ride, word came in that the manufacturer had recalled our test car for another media function.

Ummm…. now what? Drive my own car? Perish the thought!

Mercifully the fleet manager offered me an alternative sedan to the one I had booked – but it just happened to be smaller, not a hybrid, oh and it’s a supercharged Jaguar.

Fun! But wait; will it have enough space for everything? Will it be reliable? And so much for my fuel budget.

Or so I thought. As it happens, Jaguar has replaced the V8 in their mid-size sedan with a blown V6 putting out 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque – both are superior numbers to BMW’s 535i, Mercedes’ E 350 or Lexus’s GS350 – and only down a bit from last year’s standard (and less fuel-thrifty) V8. The new engine is rated at 7.7 L/100 km on the highway where the vast majority of my driving would be for this trip.

Right, so back to the trip. My father-in-law, celebrating his 65th birthday, had decided what he wanted more than anything else was to celebrate it grandly with his adoring family. As such, he generously sprung for the food and accommodations if we (my wife, son and I; along with my wife’s siblings’ families) made the trek from Ontario to his desired destination in Nova Scotia.

How could we say no?

Road Trip: 2013 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWDRoad Trip: 2013 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD
Road Trip: 2013 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD. Click image to enlarge

For those of you who have traveled with a toddler before (not to mention a spouse hell-bent on over-packing), there is an obscene amount of stuff that apparently needs to be taken along. A week-long journey starts to look like a permanent vacation based on the amount of luggage, toys, DVDs, snacks, drinks, blankets, pillows, and who-knows-what-else was set aside for my family’s comfort and amusement. When laid out in the front foyer of my house, it looked fairly apparent that one of us would be riding on the Jaguar’s roof.

Despite my fears to the contrary, everything fit between the backseat and 540 L boot (this is a British car, after all) and still left room for me to comfortably drive without needing my knees wrapped around ears.

The XF’s styling is a definitive strong point and likely a considerable motivator for most of its purchasers. Last year’s subtle design updates (nose and tail) have made a handsome car even more appealing with sleek yet sophisticated lines. Finished in sparkling metallic black paint, the Jaguar appears longer and lower than it actually is (or maybe it was just so heavily loaded with my family’s travel needs it was actually squatting on the ground). As a cross-country family tourer, it sure beats a minivan or Griswold-style “Truckster” on the coolness scale.

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