What's the used Jaguar XF estate like?
Despite looking a million dollars, the original Jaguar XF Sportbrake failed to separate buyers from their cash. Some of that can be explained by the rise of the SUV, with people switching out of their load-lugger estates and into high-rise motors instead. However, used car bargain hunters could save themselves a fortune, because this second-generation XF Sportbrake is a fine-handling, well-equipped and practical estate that can be had for thousands less than an SUV of a similar age.
As for what’s under the elegant bonnet, there's a choice of six engines, with most fuelled by diesel. The petrols on offer are 247bhp and 298bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder units. Propping up the diesel range are 161bhp and 178bhp 2.0-litre units, while a twin-turbocharged version produces 237bhp. Topping the range is a silky-smooth twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6.
As for trim levels, there are five to choose from: Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport, S and First Edition. Prestige models come with 17in alloy wheels and self-levelling air suspension at the rear, as well as leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and Jaguar’s InControl infotainment system complete with an 8.0in touchscreen, sat-nav, a DAB radio and a wi-fi hotspot.
Upgrade to Portfolio and you get 18in alloys, Windsor leather upholstery, split-folding rear seats, a heated front windscreen, front parking sensors, a rear-view camera, keyless entry and a 380-watt Meridian sound system. The R-Sport comes with an aggressive-looking body kit, sports suspension and gloss black exterior detailing. S gets you an even beefier body kit, 19in alloys, aluminium interior trim and adaptive suspension, while those looking for a little more exclusivity can opt for the tech-heavy First Edition.
The 2.0d 163 entry-level diesel feels rather underpowered. We’d therefore recommend upgrading to the 2.0d 180. This provides enough performance for everyday motoring and returns impressive fuel economy. The 237bhp 2.0-litre model might sound like the one to have, but in reality we found it to be rather hesitant and languorous. The range-topping V6 diesel is much smoother and punchier but obviously less efficient.
Of the petrols, the 247bhp 2.0-litre unit offers acceptable straight-line performance, but you have to work it hard to get the best from it, while the more powerful version goes really well but is too thirsty to really recommend.
Unlike the XF saloon, the XF Sportbrake comes with self-levelling air suspension at the rear as standard. This doesn’t upset the car's wonderfully innate sense of balance and composure, even on the roughest of surfaces, so threading the XF Sportbrake down a twisty road is a positive pleasure. Indeed, it’s one of the sweetest-handling estates you can buy, with quick, well-weighted steering and plenty of grip.
The XF Sportbrake keeps you comfortable as well. Larger road irregularities pass beneath the car with minimal fuss, while its body stays well controlled over dips and crests.
It’s nearly as impressive inside. The driving position is low and adjustable and really rather excellent, with reasonable visibility. The dashboard is logically laid out and modern and crisp in feel, with Jaguar's trademark rising gear selector and revolving air vents. The interior looks good, even if perceived quality falls well behind its rivals from Audi and BMW.
There’s plenty of interior space, too, with room for six-footers both up front and in the rear. Its boot is larger than some of rivals' and smaller than one or two others, but the load bay is usefully flat, and it’s easy to load and unload large objects.
As far as kit goes, an 8.0in infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav comes as standard. However, we would advise you to upgrade to the optional 10.2in InControl Touch Pro system. The standard unit is slow to respond and the graphics are dull, although even the upgraded system isn’t as sharp or easy to use as BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s MMI systems.
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