Jaguar returns to wagon styling, utility
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Jaguar returns to wagon styling, utility

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Name aside, the 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake is a station wagon version of the British brand’s midsize XF 4-door sedan.

The “Sportbrake” moniker loosely references a motorized wagon-style carryall from yesteryear that transported blueblood sportsmen to hunting grounds on large English estates.

Today, stunning bodylines track Sportbrake’s squat window treatment, long sweeping roofline and road-hugging stance for a stylized sport wagon that blends a premium sedan with the cargo capacity of a SUV.

Jaguar’s XF Sportbrake is new for 2018 arriving in First Edition and S trim levels.

The wagon comes standard with all-wheel drive, giving Sportbrake year-round traction and handling teamed to a 380 horsepower supercharged V6 engine.

I tested the XF Sportbrake S model priced at $70,450. The First Edition starts at $72,100 with select technology features and upgraded audio system.

The 3.0 liter engine pairs well with Sportbrake’s 4,045-pound weight, delivering brisk acceleration off the line and when passing.

At first glance, the wagon’s taut profile gives the impression that ride quality is sacrificed for its ground-pounding looks.

Not so.

Sportbrake’s road manners are very compliant, courtesy of sport-tuned underpinnings up front and rear self-leveling air suspension managed by Normal, Eco or Dynamic drive modes.

Normal mode delivers a comfortable ride for daily use.

Selecting the Dynamic setting firms the steering feel and maps the 8-speed automatic transmission for sportier shifts. However, the suspension is also tightened bringing more awareness of road surface blemishes.

A prudent throttle and Eco mode yields 18 miles per gallon in town and 25 mpg on the interstate.

Jaguar’s wagon carries five occupants and has exceptional cargo space, with 31.7 cubic feet of volume behind the second row. Lowering the 40/20/40 split-rear seat creates a flat load floor and 69.7 cu-ft of capacity.

Sportbrake S includes a power-assisted hands-free liftgate with integrated spoiler, oversize panoramic sunroof, S body kit with gloss black roof rails and lower body trim, 20-inch wheels, red-painted brake calipers and S-specific bumper treatments.

Inside, an upscale cabin with standard leather upholstery, heated steering wheel and leading-edge safety and technology features keep Sportbrake contemporary with its throwback station wagon demeanor.

The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake wagon meets the expectation of buyers interested in having a different conversation about an alternative to the commonplace sport utility vehicle. 

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