With offices soon to reopen and long daily commutes back on the agenda, what we need is a comfortable, practical motorway runner, right? Right. But there’s no reason why we can’t add a bit of panache and performance potential into the bargain.
Step forward the Mk1 Jaguar XF Sportbrake. At launch back in 2008, the XF saloon quickly marked itself out as a front runner in the executive segment, and in 2012 the Sportbrake estate bolstered its already agreeable levels of practicality, thanks to an extended roofline and a loading capacity of up to 550 litres.
An early XF Sportbrake can be picked up today for as little as £8000, with a choice of four-cylinder and V6 diesel engines to choose from, each with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Unlike with the saloon, there were no petrol options. Sacrilege, we know.
It’s possible to hit up to 55.4mpg with the smallest available motor, a 161bhp 2.2-litre diesel, and this is the most common on the used market.
If you want a little more poke, you can opt for the 197bhp four-pot, which is good for 0-62mph in 8.2sec, or even make the jump up to the range-topping 3.0-litre V6 in 237bhp or 271bhp form. Just beware their substantially hiked VED rates.
The XF Sportbrake isn’t wanting for standard technology, with engine stop-start, dual-zone climate control, electrically adjustable seats, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors all present and correct.
Most used examples are now long in the tooth from years of motorway driving, school runs and more, so the one-owner 197bhp 2.2-litre example from 2014 that we found with 98,000 miles on the clock is something of a rare gem at £9995.
This car has a full service history and a host of optional extras thrown in, plus you will pay only around £155 in annual road tax and benefit from that favourable fuel economy.
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport 2.0 TD SRi VX-Line Nav, £13,999: The Insignia fastback is unassuming but versatile. This 2019 example has a 2.0-litre turbo diesel and is packed with some great gear, including satnav, dual-zone climate control and, unlike the older XF, Apple CarPlay. It’s a steal after just 30,000 miles.