The new Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake is now a real contender to the likes of BMW and Mercedes. It looks good, handles fantastically and can offer lots of practicality.
It’s bigger than the Saloon on which it’s based, but it’s just as much fun to drive. The best thing? There’s barely anything to criticise barring a surprisingly dated interior.
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OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake review.
Overview of the Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake
On the Road
The XF Sportbrake is now right up there with the BMW 5 Series Touring as one of the best cars to drive in this class. It’s sharp and works well over short and long distances. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys taking corners with relish and pace, it’s well worth a test drive just to see how good it really is.
There’s plenty of grip on offer, body lean is minimal, and because the steering offers so much communication, you’re always confident regarding how the car is going to behave.
A Configurable Dynamics package is worth taking a look at if you want adjustable suspension, but even without it, ride quality is good.
Meanwhile, all models come with a driving mode selector as standard. It lets you flick between different driving modes, although the Dynamic mode causes the car to twitch oddly.
In terms of its engines, there are plenty of diesels on offer. The 2.0-litre 161bhp diesel sits at the bottom of the range and has a 0-62 time of 9.4 seconds. A bigger 178bhp variant of the same engine can complete the same sprint in 8.8 seconds, while an even bigger 237bhp variant covers it in 6.7 seconds.
All these 2.0-litre diesels are a tad noisy when you put your foot down and you might notice a bit of hesitation. It’s a little off-putting and if you don’t fancy any of that, you’ll need to take a look at the 3.0-litre diesel power plant. It has a 0-62 time of 6.6 seconds, feels nice and refined – but does come with large 20” alloys as standard which compromise comfort.
All models except the 161bhp and 178bhp variants are paired up with an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard, while those smaller models can also be specified with a manual ‘box.
Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake Interior, Design and Build
The biggest problem the XF has is that its cabin can be described as “decent” at best. In a sector of the market where standards are so high, that might not be good enough for some buyers.
Its cabin doesn’t have as much standout advanced tech as some rivals, and it’s also not as modern.
On the other hand, it’s elegant and restrained, which some buyers will appreciate.
There’s a real sense of occasion in here too, with the pirouetting air vents and rotary gear selector being carried over from last time. The button and dials are easy to find and use, but the infotainment system is a bit fiddly and frustrating. It lacks the intuitiveness of rivals and doesn’t feature Apple CarPlay. An 8” screen is standard, but if you want the 10.2” system you’ll need to pay extra – no matter what spec you choose.
The driving mode selector is also hard to get to grips with. On the whole, this is a nice-looking but problematic cabin.
Is the Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake practical? Fortunately, Jaguar realised that the rear seats were just too cramped last time around and have freed up more space. Legroom is good back there, as is headroom.
Storage spaces are mostly good, although a cubby beneath the front armrest would be more useful if it was deeper, while the boot measures 565-litres. That makes it one of the biggest in this class, and if you fold the rear seats you can extend it to 1,700-litres. It’s an impressive boot that comes with lots of lashing points and a powered tailgate.
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Equipment and Safety of the Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake
All models are generally well-equipped, with the entry level model getting ambient lighting, sat-nav, cruise control, a powered tailgate, automatic lights and wipers and heated, power-adjustable fabric seats.
The R Sport model adds leather seats, 18” alloys and a light body kit, while the Portfolio model comes with different interior trim additions and some soft Windsor leather.
The S trim rounds things off with 19” alloys, a reversing camera, adaptive suspension, keyless entry, 10-way adjustable leather seats and a sporty body kit.
In terms of how safe the car is, the XF Sportbrake hasn’t yet been tested by Euro NCAP but it shares its mechanical structure with the saloon variant, which scored 5/5.
Its standard safety kit is a bit sparse, however, which is why we recommend specifying the Active Safety Pack for an extra £2,000. With this comes lane keeping assistance, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.
A £500 self parking system, meanwhile, isn’t as useful as it sounds.
Costs of the Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake
Prices for the new car start out from £28,295 and rise to £40,775. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 2.0-litre 161bhp diesel engine emits just 118g/km of CO2 and has a BiK rating of 25%. Those are pretty good numbers, but they’re actually not the best in this class. Meanwhile, the engine returns 62.8mpg economy.
A 178bhp bhp variant of the same engine is also available. It manages 61.4mpg economy on a good day, although if you specify four-wheel-drive that number changes to 56.5mpg. Emissions, meanwhile, stand at 132g/km, and the engine has a BiK rating of 28%.
Pros and Cons of the Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake
It’s a premium estate car that looks as good as a car like this can in 2018.
It’s right among the best in this class in terms of drivability.
The ride and the seats are comfy.
Questionable interior plastics
Some areas of the cabin are dated.
Sparse standard safety kit
For peace of mind, you’ll need to splash out on the optionals.
Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake vs Audi A6 Diesel Avant vs Volvo V90 Diesel Estate
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake review.
Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake vs Audi A6 Diesel Avant
The new Audi A6 Diesel Avant is a big, stylish Estate car that comes with some powerful and efficient diesel engines.
On the move, the A6 is a very capable motorway cruiser that eats up the miles efficiently and quietly. It’s not as agile as the Jag on twisting roads, but it always feels nice and secure.
It’s also a lot easier to drive than its predecessor, with Audi introducing an aluminium body that has made it one of the lightest cars in this sector.
In terms of its engines, there are three diesels on offer. A 2.0-litre TDI ultra diesel develops 187bhp and has a 0-62 time of 8.7 seconds if you stick to the manual gearbox. If you specify the automatic ‘box, you can cut that time down to 8.5 seconds. It’s no slouch and it offers lots of pulling power.
A 3.0-litre TDI diesel is available in two guises. The smallest of the two develops 215bhp and has a 0-62 time of 7.3 seconds, while the bigger of the two develops 268bhp and has a 0-62 time of 5.7 seconds.
If that still isn’t fast enough for you, a 3.0-litre BiTDI quattro diesel rounds the range off with 316bhp and a 0-62 time of 5.2 seconds.
Running costs? The 2.0-litre diesel is a fine pick that blends economy well with performance. It emits as little as 114g/km of CO2 depending on your specifications and can return as much as 64mpg on a good day.
The 215bhp 3.0-litre TDI manages returns of 55mpg if you specify four-wheel-drive, and from there the engines get progressively more uneconomical.
Inside, the car is very comfy on the move, thanks to the steel suspension that’s fitted as standard. The leather seats offer lots of support, too.
The dashboard is typical Audi fare and all the materials used are top notch. Fit and finish is excellent, the controls are perfectly located and an MMI control system makes life easy for the driver. It feels like a more modern cabin than the Jag.
Is the Audi A6 Diesel Avant practical? It’s a big car that’s both versatile and roomy. A parking system is available to help you park, and because the car is wider than last time, passengers have more space in the back. Headroom is good but two adults will be more comfortable than three back there thanks to a big bump in the floor.
The boot measures 565-litres and can be extended to 1,680 by folding the rear seats.
Jaguar – £28,295 – £40,775
Audi – £35,300 – £61,665
Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake vs Volvo V90 Diesel Estate
The new Volvo V90 Diesel Estate is Volvo’s best large exec Estate so far – and that’s saying something.
It’s a magnificent car that will only fall short in one area to a certain type of buyer. Namely, it isn’t a lot of fun to drive. Instead, Volvo have fashioned a car that offers a very relaxing driving experience, something that’s enhanced by the addition of semi-autonomous driving systems.
In terms of its engines, a D4 diesel develops 187bhp and can get you from rest to 62mph in 8.5 seconds. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre engine that also powers the D5 model, but in this one it develops 232bhp and feels a lot faster out of the traps. It can whizz you from 0-62 in 7.2 seconds and comes with four-wheel-drive as standard.
Neither engine needs to be worked too hard, but one problem we noticed is diesel clatter. This is a four cylinder engine that isn’t as smooth as some rivals.
Running costs? The D4 model can return 63mpg on a good day, which we think is perfectly reasonable. It also emits just 119g/km of CO2 and has a BiK rating of 25%. The D5 model is burdened with a four-wheel-drive system and this harms fuel consumption levels, although returns of 57.6mpg don’t seem too bad.
Inside, one of the best things about the Volvo is its high comfort levels. The seats are supportive, and they come adorned in soft leather upholstery that will make longer trips a pleasure.
Insulation, however, is an issue thanks to the aforementioned noisy diesels.
The dashboard, meanwhile, is the same one as found in the S90 Saloon. It’s gorgeously put together and laid out, the quality of the materials used is high, and a portrait-oriented 9” touchscreen is standard.
Is the Volvo V90 Diesel Estate practical? Its 560-litre boot is no longer the biggest in this class, and in fact the XF now outdoes it on this front. Fold the rear seats and its total capacity is 1,526-litres, which seems disappointing for a Volvo.
Other than that, the V90 offers a vast interior and space is good for all. Storage space is good and includes a reasonably sized glovebox, and taller adults should be comfortable on longer trips.
Volvo – £37,620 – £50,620
Verdict of our 2018 Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake Review
One of the most exciting estate cars on the planet, the XF is just as practical as it is sexy. It’s got plenty to offer, from left-field appeal to a driving experience to match the best BMW. The engines are strong, the image is good, and the Jaguar XF Diesel Sportbrake gets a massive thumbs up from us.
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