Jaguar thinks practical with XF wagonComment on this story
Jaguar is not a name that will appear in your mind when you're contemplating a practical station wagon but that could be about to change with what the British marque refers to as the most versatile car it's ever created.
The new Jaguar XF Sportbrake is just 5mm longer than its sedan counterpart and yet its boot can devour 550 litres of luggage or 1675 litres if you fold the back seats down. It's also more comfortable for rear passengers, who will enjoy an extra 48mm of headroom.
Despite all the extra metal, the car has put on just 70kg and we suspect some of that has to do with the fact that its chassis structure is just as rigid as that of the sedan, according to Jaguar - remember hatches and wagons don't have a rear bulkhead to add strength.
Rather than just slapping more metal and glass onto the back of the sedan like an afterthought, designers also put a lot of thought into the design of this Jaguar wagon.
Every panel from the B-pillar backwards is totally new and like the latest XJ, the C-pillar is finished in gloss black. A sloping tailgate completes the sporty effect, while the taillights make it instantly recognisable as an XF.
Yet this wagon (sorry, Sportbrake) is as much about function as it is about form thanks to some nifty features that make the loading experience more pleasant.
For starters, there's no need to stretch through the boot to lower the back seats as remote levers are located within the boot area.
The boot floor also has a panel that splits into three sections for securing smaller loads and there's also a tray in the boot floor to protect valuable items.
Mechanically, the Sportbrake sets itself apart with self-levelling air suspension that allows it to serve as an accomplished tow vehicle.
On the engine front, Jaguar only mentions two diesel engines, these being the familiar 2.2 four-cylinder and 3-litre V6 oil burners. Both send their power to the rear wheels via Jaguar's eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The Sportbrake is expected to go on sale in most overseas markets in the third quarter of this year, but unfortunately South Africa will not be getting this derivative.