Jaguar XF Sportbrake: estates aren't dead yet
It's pretty much David against SUVs
Let's face it, estates, or wagons, are progressively losing ground against SUVs. Some will say that they have definitely lost the battle. These SUVs and other crossovers are dominating the market and it has nothing to do about the fact that people are going more and more off the beaten path. The buyers will tell you that they are sexier, more spacious, and higher off the ground (duh). Just like Ford with the Mondeo, many manufacturers are slowly stopping the production of sedans and estates to focus on this successful segment. But not Jaguar.
You probably know my take on SUVs. I am not the biggest fan even though I must admit that they can be quite useful in Switzerland where we can get quite a lot of snow. Some of these 4x4 are equipped with rather smart driving modes that can help the car to go through difficult roads, and it's usually not the case with 4x4 estates. However, this is a special case because most SUV drivers won't EVER have to drive on difficult terrains, so why don't buy an estate? That's what I would do.
When Jaguar Switzerland told me I could drive their new XF Sportbrake, I immediately thought to myself "wait, do you still produce those?". The brand from Coventry's first attempt started in 2005 when they introduced the X-Type Estate to go against the Germans and to try to make their brand more family-friendly. It did not work very well, however, they persisted and launched a new estate in 2012 based on the XF.
Nearly 10 years later, here we are with the facelift of the second generation of the XF estate, also known as the Sportbrake, and if you thought estates weren't cool, think again. The XF Sportbrake is the answer to all the people who say they are old school and for soccer moms. With this car, Jaguar wants to prove that they can make a stylish family car that is not an SUV and that consumers will still want to buy. Have they managed that? Well, it is only my honest opinion, but I think it looks fantastic. Its unmistakable Jaguar design has a lot of presence and the optional R-Dynamic exterior package definitely adds some sportiness to this very elegant and classy shape. If you ask me, I'll tell you it is prettier than some of its closest competitors like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, or BMW 5-Series. That's the thing if you're buying an estate today, it has to look fantastic because practicality is no longer the reason why people buy these kinds of cars. The XF Sportbrake is still fairly capable in the trunk area as it can hold over 1'700 liters of... stuff when the rear seats are down. But... you probably don't care and just want that car to look cool and have lots of gadgets. Again, it is mission accomplished for the XF Sportbrake. With this new facelift, Jaguar equipped its estate with the latest tech such as the excellent infotainment system that was borrowed from the last Land Rover Defender. It just is so logical, easy to navigate around, sharp, and quick. It also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to fully benefit of the apps like Waze, or Spotify. The rest of the interior is exactly what you would expect of a modern Jaguar. The materials are refined, the driving position was in my opinion one of the best I have ever had in an estate, and even though so many things are so similar to what you would find in a Land Rover, at least it works.
Our car was equipped with the P300 engine that is basically a petrol 2.0 4-cylinder that makes 300 horsepower. I really like that straightforwardness. The P300 is the most potent engine you could get, and it is fast too, allowing the car to reach 100 km/h from a standstill in only 6.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 250 km/h. In terms of mileage, the XF Sportbrake P300 manages a decent 7.7l/100km, but we managed to go a tad lower than that. The car also comes with a 4x4 system that can come in quite handy, especially if you are in a country like mine. The car really shines on the road and will even put a grin on your face when you drive it through corners. Clearly, Jaguar has built a dynamic estate that feels very connected to the road while retaining the comfort attribute that is so true to the brand. Again, Coventry is trying to show us that estates are not dead and that they can have serious arguments. Yes, I will go as far as saying that moms and dads can have fun at its wheel. A little disappointment comes from the range of engines that is quite minuscule. Unlike the F-Pace SUV, you cannot get the more noble V6 in the XF Sportbrake. In fact, only 2.0 4-cylinders are available from the 200 PS diesel D200, to the 250 PS P250 and the P300. Even more surprising is the fact that there are absolutely no plug-in hybrid versions.
So, why would you choose the Jaguar XF Sportbrake? You may not be a huge fan or SUVs and still need something practical that can cope with life and that doesn't look bad. Or maybe, you don't like to do like everyone and still need a family car with all the latest tech and safety features. All are very valid reasons, but even though SUVs and crossovers have become bestsellers, you can still find a decent amount of estates on the market. The XF Sportbrake is a premium car that starts at CHF 62'900.- (£), and that's a high price if you compare it to a "competitor" like the Skoda Superb. However, if you look at what the Germans and Volvo are doing, you will find out that the Jaguar is actually competitively positioned. An equivalent Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic and Audi A6 Avant 45 TFSI cost on average CHF 10'000.- (£7'800) more, a BMW 530i XDrive nearly CHF 13'000.- (£10'000), and a Volvo V90 T6 is in a complete other league at nearly CHF 25'000 (£19'500) over the Jaguar. Even if the Swedish comes equipped with a battery, it seems like quite a stretch between both cars.
There you go then, you would choose the Jaguar because it looks very stylish, drives well, has all the comfort you would expect from this brand as well as the latest tech that is beyond reproach. But it also is cheaper than its main competitors coming from Germany and Sweden. Yes, it is a great car but now we need something a tad more exciting like a V8 XFR-S Sportbrake. We've had it in the past, and wouldn't it be the perfect send-off before switching to a 100% electric range in 2025?
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Jaguar Switzerland for allowing us to experience the new XF Sportbrake. Without them, this article would have never been possible. The team has been extremely nice and has been very helpful in the process of getting us a car. We cannot wait to collaborate more with them in the near future.
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Jaguar XF Sportbrake