We were smitten by the Jaguar XF last year, and the Jag has won this class again in 2017, fending off some strong contenders.
First and foremost, the Jaguar makes a stable tow car. We test at up to 70mph, and more than one of our judges felt they could have gone faster in still air. The XF continued to impress when the wind picked up, with just slight movement at 70mph.
The four-cylinder engine may not have the silky punch of the XF’s six-cylinder diesel, but it’s strong enough to pull a caravan loaded to 85% of its kerbweight in 11.7 seconds.
That performance combines with an impressive 65.7mpg on the combined cycle (we achieved 23mpg while towing with the Jag as one of the car’s shortlisted for the ‘Fuel Economy’ award).
You might think the hill start test would favour a 4×4 over the rear-wheel-drive Jaguar. However, in dry conditions the XF was every bit the equal of any SUV tested in this weight class.
The electronic parking brake held car and caravan still, and the engine’s 317lb ft of torque pulled the car to the top of the slope with ease. And, if you are at all concerned about hill starts in wet weather, it’s worth noting that four-wheel-drive versions of the XF are available.
Data from the Al-Ko ATC sensors showed how stable the XF was under braking. However, the 11.4m stopping distance was no better than average.
Park the caravan on a pitch and head out for a drive, and the XF is one of the most rewarding executive saloons to drive. The steering in particular is superb, marrying precision and speed without feeling pointy or nervous.
Wieldy handling doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, with a well-judged ride blending taut control with a forgiving approach to imperfect surfaces.
You might not think of a saloon as the most practical tow car, but the XF’s boot had room for all but one item of our practicality tester’s load of typical caravan holiday luggage.
With a list price of just under £40,000, the XF isn’t cheap, but it’s reasonable value compared with other executive saloons, and resale values are quite strong. According to What Car?, expect the car to be worth 50% of the original price after three years and 36,000 miles.