Used Jaguar XF Sportbrake long-term test review
Jaguar’s luxurious load-lugger has just been facelifted. We’ve acquired a used example to see whether its pleasures can be enjoyed on a budget...
The car Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport 2.0i 300PS petrol AWD Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor
Why it’s here Now that the facelifted model has been released, there are some great deals to be had on nearly new XFs. How does it stack up as a used buy?
Needs to Offer driver appeal and practicality in equal measure as it juggles the dual roles of executive express and family hauler
Mileage 9796 List price new (2018) £47,415 Price new with options £55,315 Dealer price now £21,159 Trade-in price now £17,870 Private price now £18,808 Test economy 19.4mpg Official economy 28.9mpg (WLTP) Running costs (excluding depreciation) £581
11 May 2021 – Fond farewell to my Jaguar XF
I never knew my grandfather because he passed away long before I was born. As a result, the pictures I have of the man in my mind have been painted by the memories shared by my dad – and they invariably contain a Jaguar.
My grandpa was a successful builder and owned a succession of Jaguar Mk2s, a model that today is a legendary classic car and in its day made the ‘compact’ Jaguar series into an icon of the Sixties. It was a sector of the market that the Coventry marque returned to in 1999 with the S-type, succeeded eight years later by the hugely successful first-generation XF, which landed our Car of the Year trophy for 2008.
Dad himself always dreamed of having a Jag, too, and later in his career it was something he might have been able to do if the right car had existed. Unfortunately, when I was a lad we had dogs and there was always an estate car in the driveway. The yearning to own one remained, but practicality always got in the way.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Jaguar finally introduced an estate version of the XF, the Sportbrake, and enjoying its second-generation model for the past few months has really shown me what my dad missed out on.
Handsome, luxurious, spacious front and rear, and enormously practical, it’s also superb to drive. Picking ‘Dynamic’ mode on the JaguarDrive controller hardly shrinks what is a very large car, but it does make it more agile and alert without being uncomfortable.
It's great fun to drive when pressed, with fluid, well-weighted and immensely feelsome steering by modern standards, masses of grip from its four-wheel drive system, plus an automatic gearbox that works like a proper manual and holds on to gears when you ask it to.
The engine is fabulously flexible, too, with monstrous performance when wound up and a voracious appetite for motorway miles, with overall refinement marred only by a dose of road noise at speed.
When bought used, it’s even relatively affordable, with the first owner having taken a hefty hit on depreciation that should slow down in the coming years. Shop around and you can even land one with plenty of choice extras thrown into the bargain, as I did.
Don’t expect it to be cheap to run, though. Opt for this 296bhp version of the turbocharged petrol engine and you can expect to be spending plenty at your local service station. To extract so much performance from a relatively small motor means that it’s running at a high state of tune. Around town, it’s not uncommon for consumption to drop as low as 16mpg.
Spend a lot of time on the motorways and things improve – I saw a 34.2mpg average on one long run – but my overall average of below 20mpg wasn’t great for a 2.0-litre engine. It seems a great shame that Jaguar hasn’t been able to offer a plug-in hybrid option with the latest XF refresh: if feels as if that’s just what the car needs.
It hasn’t been without its faults, either. A sensor failed in the heating system, which also affected the start/stop functionality; the infotainment crashed on four or five occasions; and sporadic use during the depths of lockdown led to regular battery discharge warnings.
So yes, it’s flawed, and now beginning to feel a little dated for sure, but it’s so easy to forgive those complaints every time you get behind the wheel – whether that’s for a long motorway hack, a cross-country blast on a favourite B-road or even to lug a large piece of furniture.
Every element you interact with as a driver is beautifully resolved, and it’s a car with real character – even in its old age. A proper Jaguar, in other words; somehow, I think grandpa would have approved.
Many thanks to Robert Hughes Automobiles for the loan of the fabulous 1966 Jaguar Mk2 3.4 in our pictures.
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