Predictably enough, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake’s primary difference inside from the saloon is felt from the back seat rather than the front. The overhauled rear cabin’s most discernible enhancement is the 48mm of additional headroom afforded by the longer, less curvaceous roofline.

Where once an XF’s passengers were squeezed into a soft-touch porthole illuminated only by the saloon’s slender windows, the Sportbrake’s occupants have squared-off, light-capturing, Range Rover-like door frames, redesigned seats and a bowler hat’s worth of space up top to enjoy.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The glossy centre console attracts finger smudges and smears easily.

It’s an appreciably nicer experience behind the front seats and makes the new variant a worthy consideration for all Jaguar XF buyers – not just those interested in additional load space.

That’s there, too, but you need to go looking for it. Leave the rear seats up and, under the tonneau cover, the wagon gains no advantage over the XF saloon’s 550 litres. Load up above the window line and you’ll find plenty more room, though. In terms of overall cargo space, the Sportbrake is on a competitive footing with the BMW 5-series Touring and Audi A6 Avant (the Mercedes E-class estate is well ahead of the field). Its flush and quite long load compartment, floor rail fixing system and powered tailgate make it a flexible and accessible space, too.

But the 1675-litre party trick is saved for a tug on the remote-fold levers, positioned just inside the tailgate. Collapsing the 60/40 rear seats reveals 1970mm of neatly trimmed load floor length.

Return to the driver’s seat and the XF experience is as with the saloon: plush, pliant, but also just on the fringe of appearing dated. The 2008 model was so flamboyant in its stylistic choices that it was inevitable that elements of its hard-edged, neon-spliced modernism would age quickly. Fortunately, such criticism is rendered only after measured consideration, because to blithely sit in and drive, the Jaguar remains thoroughly agreeable.

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