Our cars: Jaguar XF Sportbrake - February

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  • XF's chassis outshines its rivals, but the fuel economy was a constant disappointment

    XF's chassis outshines its rivals, but the fuel economy was a constant disappointment

  • Front and rear parking sensors, plus reversing camera is the best option pack on our XF Sportbrake

    Front and rear parking sensors, plus reversing camera is the best option pack on our XF Sportbrake

  • It takes a minute to kick in, but the XF's heated windscreen is a boon, clearing ice and frost quickly

    It takes a minute to kick in, but the XF's heated windscreen is a boon, clearing ice and frost quickly

  • Our XF Sportbrake is just about big enough to be a picture transporter

    Our XF Sportbrake is just about big enough to be a picture transporter

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Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.2D Sport

Read the full Jaguar XF Sportbrake review

Week ending February 28
Mileage 15,500
Miles this week 375

Our XF Sportbrake goes back next week, and we’re all going to miss it here in the office. However, as with any relationship, it hasn’t all been perfect, and next week I’ll be revealing the highs and lows of life over the last year with our handsome Jag.

I won’t be spoiling things now though if I say that one of our biggest disappointments with the Sportbrake was its fuel economy – we scored an overall fuel consumption of just 32.7mpg.

Rare were the times we finished a journey of reasonable length and managed to achieve a consumption figure (as measured at the pumps by filling up the tank, rather than relying on the over-optimistic readout on the dash) above 35mpg. Almost unknown were the times we bettered 40mpg, although, it should be noted, our actual TrueMPG figure was 40.8mpg. That’s actually not such a bad figure for a relatively heavy luxury estate car, especially considering the variety of journeys and varying drivers the Jag has had to endure. We just wished we could have achieved that figure more often.

It’s true we probably push our cars harder than the average punter. However, if you consider the official average is 55.4mpg, our overall consumption figure does seem poor: it’s only 60% of that Government figure.

So it’s been a bit heavy on the wallet, but definitely easy on the eye. Join me next week for the final instalment, and find out if our Jag managed to persuade us that it could cut the mustard against its sober-suited rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Read the full Jaguar XF Sportbrake review

Week ending February 21
Mileage 15,125
Miles this week 30

Our time with the Sportbrake is nearly at an end, which makes the fact that someone has kerbed one of the car’s front alloys even more annoying.

We recently loaned it out to someone within our company, and, sometime soon after we got it back, I noticed that the passenger side alloy rim had been damaged.

What makes this even more unfortunate is that I’ve spent the last year parking the car at least two feet away from every kerbside I’ve encountered, in order to preserve those handsome alloys. I’ve also made good use of what is the Jag’s finest option, the front and rear parking sensors and the reversing camera (a £500 option I’m more than glad we specified). The Sportbrake is, after all, as long as the river Nile and, sitting fairly low, as you do in this sporting Gentleman’s express, it can be difficult to judge where the car’s extremities are.

The Jag is otherwise in excellent condition, somewhat surprisingly after its year of hard use and general abuse with us. It’s emerged triumphant, with just some reasonably worn tyres, a squeaky driver’s seat, and the re-alignment of those xenon front headlights, to report. Other than that it’s lived up to its promise: Jaguar came top in our most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey, and the XF saloon finished third overall. On the evidence of our time with this car, I can see why.

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Read the full Jaguar XF Sportbrake review

Week ending February 14
Mileage 15,095
Miles this week 93

I’ve driven two other cars this week that gave our Sportbrake more of a run for its money than I first thought they would.

The first was another Jaguar XF. This was a saloon, equipped with the new 2.2-litre 161bhp diesel, which has been tweaked for 2014. The fuel economy is better, and the CO2 emissions are lower. There’s less power on offer than ours, but having the lighter saloon body compensates a little for this, and, though there’s still the limited powerband and the hesitancy that afflicts ours, this new car is noticeably quieter.

A Jaguar engineer told me that the reason for this is the increased sound insulation, which they’ve put in to compensate for the more intrusive stop-start system.

The second car was the latest Volvo V70, with the 178bhp 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine. Previously, this version had a grumbly five-cylinder diesel unit, and was something of a horror. Now, it’s a four-cylinder engine, with impressive economy, and it’s much smoother than before; smoother, I’m afraid to say, than our Jag.

However, despite its cavernous and stylish interior, its chassis is no match for the Jag’s, and its steering is still so vague that it’s possible to tweak the wheel gently from left to right a few degrees while still travelling in a straight line. To be honest, driving the V70 still feels like you’re piloting a very sturdy house brick, whereas all XFs, with whatever engine, feel like they’re dancing on their toes.

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Read the full Jaguar XF Sportbrake review

Week ending February 7
Mileage 15,002
Miles this week 105

I must admit that the Winter Comfort pack on our Jaguar XF Sportbrake is one of the more underused options. Basically, it’s a heated windscreen and heated seats, and it cost £570.

Now I’m a huge fan of keeping warm, but I very seldom use the heated seats. This could be because most of my journeys tend to be short: commuting to work, running children to school or friends, or shopping at the local supermarket. Here, if I remember the heated seats at all, I’m usually in too much of a hurry to bother with them, particularly as the Jag’s touch-screen (through which the heated seats are controlled) is painfully slow in operation.

They heat up incredibly quickly and effectively once on, though, but for a few minutes I can put up with a cold seat – it’s the temperature of the general cabin air that I notice more. On that score the Jag is good: the climate control heats up the interior reasonably quickly, even on the coldest day.

More of a boon is the heated windscreen. This takes a little time to initially kick in, maybe a minute or two, but once it starts clearing it dispenses with ice and frost most efficiently. For this alone I could justify the expense of the Winter Comfort pack.

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Our cars: Jaguar XF Sportbrake - January

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