Jaguar XF Sportbrake review
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake looks great inside and out and now has an improved touchscreen infotainment system. There are bigger boots on offer if that matters most, though.
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The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is a stylish estate car with great infotainment and that’s superb to drive, too. It should be on your list if you’re also considering posh estates like the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring or Mercedes E-Class Estate.
However, it’s an alternative to posh SUVs too, like Jaguar’s own F-Pace, Audi’s Q7, BMW’s X5 or Mercedes’ GLE.
Imagine striding into a room full of ripped jeans wearing black tie and that’s what the Sportbrake is like next to its alternatives in the looks department. Its striking grille, air intakes, slim headlights and bonnet creases give it a sporty look, but it’s somehow a classier effort than from those across the water.
The Sportbrake’s insides never used to be much cop, but that a recent update has changed things. Sure, there’s still the odd bit of cheaper plastic about the place, but it’s mostly very nice. An A6 and 5 Series are a tad nicer still, but it’s now a very close-run thing.
Part of the visual drama is the Sportbrake’s new 11.4-inch curved touchscreen. It’s located nicely on the dash to help when driving and make it integrate seamlessly into the sleek design. BMW’s iDrive and Mercedes’ MBUX systems are both easier to use while driving, but as touchscreen’s go, Jag’s effort is sharp, responsive and very easy to navigate. Importantly, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard.
Cars higher up the range also come with slick digital driver’s dials and a rearview mirror you can flip from a standard glass reflection to a camera mounted on the tailgate. It looks cool, but also works well, so is more than just ammunition to impress your mates down the pub. It’s a shame the XF’s steering wheel buttons are a tad fiddly to use, though.
We know petrol is fashionable at the moment, but honestly, diesel is a better option for most people, and R-Dynamic SE trim has all you need and more.
All estate cars this size seat four adults well, but you’ll have slightly more room for three adults across the rear seats in an A6 Avant. There are also bigger boots, which could be quite important when researching estates. The XF’s actually pretty much matches the efforts of Audi and BMW, but Mercedes offers a decent amount more space and a more practical shape with its E-Class estate if you need it.
You can have your XF fitted with either a 2.0-litre turbo petrol with 250 or 300hp, or a 2.0 diesel with 204hp. You can also have rear or all-wheel drive depending on your choice, but an eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard across the range.
If you don’t cover many miles each year, or do most of your driving in town, then the smooth, quiet yet punchy petrols will do the job. Just don’t expect them to be fuel efficient whichever road you drive them on. We’re talking mid-30s, max.
The diesel with its mild-hybrid technology is a much better bet for the majority of buyers. It’s quiet for a four-cylinder diesel and feels decently quick thanks to its hybrid tech assisting at low revs, while those doing big motorway miles will like that it uses less fuel than the petrols. 40mpg is possible without much fuss, and more is achievable on the motorway.
Thankfully, if you enjoy driving, then the Sportbrake remains one of the best cars with a big boot to chuck down a country road. It steers with precision, it keeps its body tidy through bends and it’s comfortable over bumps in and out of town. Only some tyre noise from the larger alloy wheel options frustrates on the motorway.
Nevertheless, the Jaguar XF is as good as it’s ever been to drive and sit in, and now to own, too, because Jaguar has simplified the XF range and dropped prices across the range. To see just how much, and how much we can save you on top, head to out deals pages.