Jaguar XF Sportbrake review
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is a good-looking car that is fun to drive. Still, it’s not quite as fuel-efficient as alternatives like the Mercedes E-Class Estate and Audi A6 Avant.
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For all intents and purposes, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake is just a regular XF that’s been elongated – it maintains much of the same exterior styling, but inside you’ll find that it’s far roomier in both its cabin and boot.
With alternatives including such other luxury estates as the A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring, the XF Sportbrake finds itself in a class packed with good-looking cars. The Jaguar is on par with its peers in this respect. Somehow, it gives such a large and spacious body a sleek and even sporty-looking exterior.
Inside you’ll find that same comfort-meets-sportiness combo. Interior aspects like the infotainment layout and driver’s display are lifted straight from the XF saloon, while the front seats themselves are comfortable and, for the driver, line up very neatly with the pedals. Visibility is pretty good, too, although the wide rear pillars can get in the way when reversing. Luckily, the rear parking sensors standard on all XF Sportbrakes make up for this qualm a little bit.
Where the Jaguar XF Sportbrake falls down is its infotainment and build quality. The 8.0-inch touchscreen is decently sized, but is much more fiddly and slower to respond than the lauded BMW iDrive system found in the 5 Series Touring. The plastic on the dashboard is low-quality as well, feeling both flimsy and ‘scratchy’ to the touch.
The XF Sportbrake looks the part and has the practicality to match. However, it’s far from cheap to run and can make quite a racket.
All versions of the XF Sportbrake come well-equipped with convenience and safety features. Along with those rear parking sensors, a built-in satnav is available across the range – even on the entry-level Prestige trim – as are automatic headlights and dual-zone air conditioning.
Despite having good space for four adults and a decent-sized 565-litre boot, this estate car is really enjoyable to drive. Its steering is precise, it always manages to keep its body upright and it can take all manner of lumps and bumps in its stride very well.
To combine that enjoyable handling with the best possible economy (although it still isn’t as cheap to run as an A6 Avant), it’s worth looking into buying the Jaguar’s 2.0-litre diesel engine – the only caveat is its incessant noisiness. There is a petrol option, too, and while it’s still a lot of fun, it isn’t quite as economical as the diesel. If you’re likely to partake in a lot of towing, then go for the larger 3.0-litre diesel, which can haul up to two tonnes – 400kg more than Jaguar’s own F-Pace SUV.
Overall, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake is an adept mix of style, performance and practicality. The scratchy interior and noisy 2.0-diesel engine are black marks, but few estates on the market are quite as enjoyable to drive as this one.