8
Has a subtle update made Jaguar’s plush executive estate more competitive?
Steve Cropley Autocar
23 March 2021

What is it?

There's a view that that estate cars are a bit beside the point these days. The world has turned to SUVs, goes the story, and from them to crossovers.

Don’t believe it. In many cases, family-sized saloons are outsold by their estate offshoots, and even the Sportbrake tested here accounts for one-third of all of the Jaguar XF’s (admittedly modest) sales across Europe.

There’s a particular kind of buyer that responds to the logic of an estate: a more practical derivative that weighs only a smidge more than its sibling (75kg in this case), has no extra frontal area and at times can even be more aerodynamic, thanks to the simplicity of its extended rear shape. More load for no more fuel.

In this case, the load capacity is a generous 565 litres, expanding to 1700 litres when the rear seats are folded down. There’s a wide, flat floor that gives away surprisingly little except roof height to an SUV, while maintaining the low centre of gravity that will almost always make it by nature a better handler and a more economical option than an SUV.

In fact, that combination of practicality, performance and good driving characteristics seems to be very much the point of our test car, which is powered by Jaguar Land Rover's middle- ranking Ingenium 2.0-litre four- cylinder turbo petrol engine, making 247bhp and driving via a regular eight-speed automatic gearbox.

In R-Dynamic SE guise, the XF Sportbrake gets all manner of sporty decor, rides on 19in black alloys and has a selector that juggles engine and transmission parameters to provide a Sport and Economy regime either side of Comfort. Sure, this is a car ideally configured for toting the family and gear on holiday, but it can deliver driving enjoyment, too.

What's it like?

The latest interior should please all occupants. The trim, sumptuous seats and fascia have a general aura of quality, the Pivi Pro infotainment system is far better and easier to use than any previous system (at last, JLR goes to the top of its class in this regard) and the fascia’s designers deserve praise for ensuring that we still have easy-to-find and well- organised knobs for the audio volume and major ventilation functions.

Back to top

The engine is reasonably smooth and responsive, if a bit characterless against the creamy sixes of German rivals. The gearbox is mostly smooth (there’s just the occasional hesitation at low speed) and responds rapidly to the paddles when you request a shift. But mostly, the XF Sportbrake glides about effortlessly almost as if it had no engine at all.

An output of 247bhp is enough to slingshot you to 62mph in a very decent 7.1sec and to 150mph if you can find the space. These are good figures for a family car with official fuel economy of 33.9mpg.

The XF always feels refined and long-legged, supple over potholes but never floaty. It also generates significantly less road noise than rivals – a boon in a country where surfaces are often coarse and vary widely. The steering is very accurate and perfectly weighted and the refined suspension ensures both neat, roll-free cornering and awesome straight-line stability.

Should I buy one?

We all know now that Jaguars will be completely EV designs from 2025, but that shouldn’t really be a concern for you here. At just over £40,000, the XF Sportbrake P250 is impressive value for money, especially since it appears to be built very well indeed. It will surely be healthy and happy on the road many years beyond 2025.

On the other hand, if you would prefer one of the next-generation Jaguars, you could hardly do better than to choose one of these on a PCP or PCH finance plan and be ready to swap when the time is right. Jaguar will be hoping for customers like you.

Back to top

Join the debate

Comments
20
Add a comment…
rob26 26 March 2021
Steve shouldn’t be allowed to review JLR products. He just shouldn’t. If this was a PHEV it might find buyers, but it’s an executive car that doesn’t take into account company car tax. It’s also another Jaguar that belongs in a golf club from 1985. Jaguar will not make it to 2025 which is a shame. The iPace gave it a great chance but it’s squandered it on the cars that nobody would possibly want to buy. Other manufacturers have now got their own BEVs and the iPace recently lost to Mercedes in Autocar’s recent group test video.
yvesferrer 23 March 2021

JLR will be all electrric by 2025? OK, possibly...

What happens to the value of such a vehicle bought in 2023/4, say? If it is still made?

Come to that, what of its value by 2030 when it is not that old, yet consigned to the scrapyard?

Some cynics might even claim that these vehicles would never last this long: perish the thought! Cads, knaves and bounders!

Good luck with the project: it looks very nice!

Gerhard 26 March 2021
yvesferrer wrote:

JLR will be all electrric by 2025? OK, possibly...

What happens to the value of such a vehicle bought in 2023/4, say? If it is still made?

Come to that, what of its value by 2030 when it is not that old, yet consigned to the scrapyard?

Some cynics might even claim that these vehicles would never last this long: perish the thought! Cads, knaves and bounders!

Good luck with the project: it looks very nice!

 

The value of this car won't be affected by future strategies, any more than it would be affected by a successor model! In fact, if it were to be one of the last i.c.e. Jaguars then it would hold value better for those who don't want to go fully-electric... It'll certainly be a great buy in any event. 

yvesferrer 27 March 2021

Mmmm... Not sure! Look how long it took for MK IIs to become 'collectors'?

As for many of other Jaguar products -barring the immortal E-Type- they have quietly rusted away and all but disappeared from view. This is an unfortunate truth: just look through the 'For sale' columns of up-market publications?

I respect your optimism but do not share it.

Have a Happy Easter!

Jeremy 23 March 2021

£20,000 less than the Discovery Sport that Autocar have on long-term test!? I know where my money would go!