It might look a million dollars but you can pick up a good example of the handsome second-gen Jaguar XF Sportbrake for around £18,000, which seems like an exceedingly healthy return. What you’ll be getting is a fine-handling, well-equipped and practical estate that’ll cut a dash on your driveway for thousands less than a dynamically compromised SUV of a similar age.
Under the elegant bonnet, there’s a choice of six engines. 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 engines, while a twin-turbocharged version produces 237bhp. Topping the range is a silky-smooth twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6.
Trim levels are Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport, S and First Edition. Prestige models come with 17in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and Jaguar’s InControl infotainment with an 8.0in touchscreen, sat-nav and a DAB radio.
Upgrade to Portfolio and you get 18in alloys, split folding rear seats, front parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless entry and a 380W Meridian sound system. The R-Sport comes with an aggressive-looking bodykit and sports suspension. S gets you an even beefier bodykit and 19in alloys, while those after more exclusivity can opt for the tech-heavy First Edition.
All the engine options move the car around with decent suavity, with the petrol units and range-topping V6 diesel being impressively smooth if inevitably less efficient.
With self-levelling air suspension at the rear as standard, the Jag has great balance in corners, so threading it down a twisty road is a positive pleasure. It’s comfortable, too: larger road irregularities pass by with minimal fuss and its body stays well controlled over dips and crests.
It’s nearly as impressive inside. The driving position is low and adjustable and the dashboard is laid out logically 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 and the infotainment system fall well behind those of its Audi and BMW rivals.
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 its 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.
Used examples start from around £18,000. Spend between £20,000 and £22,000 on 2017 cars, £22,000 to £25,000 on 2018 cars and upwards of £25,000 on later models.
The XF Sportbrake received a mild makeover in 2019, including updates to Jaguar’s Touch Pro infotainment system and safety and comfort improvements across the range.
Automatic gearbox If you feel a slight hesitation the good news is that it may be possible to cure it with an adjustment or reprogramming of the accelerator potentiometer, the component that determines how much to open the throttle valve to permit more fuel to flow.
Suspension Check the car sits evenly on its air suspension (some cars sink slightly overnight).
Tyres Owners report that some premium brands wear down faster than others (in 5000 miles) so check their condition.
Interior Check the load area isn't too knocked about and that the rear bumper top isn't scraped and scratched. There have been issues with the electrical systems based around the sat-nav and the infotainment, so check those carefully.
Need to know
The most economical Sportbrake is the 2.0d 180, with a WLTP average of 48.4mpg, ahead of the 47.3mpg 2.0d 160. The 3.0 V6 diesel averages a respectable 42.1mpg and the petrol-powered 2.0i 250 averages 33.3mpg.
Servicing costs are a little pricier than rivals, even with Jaguar’s fixed-price servicing scheme for cars over three years old. Expect to pay £245 for a minor and £275 for a major service on a 2.0 petrol, £275/£335 on a 2.0 diesel and £295/£395 for the 3.0 diesel.
There have been issues with the electrical systems based around the sat-nav and the infotainment, so check those carefully.
XF Sportbrake 3.0d V6 S: The top-spec diesel is as smooth as a baby’s bottom and thrillingly quick, too, as well as surprisingly economical. S trim adds goodies galore and smart 19in alloy wheels to impress the neighbours.
XF Sportbrake 2.0i 300 Portfolio AWD: The most powerful petrol engine is like whipped cream and enables 0-60mph in just 6sec, while four-wheel-drive traction keeps it on the straight and narrow.
Ones we found
2017 XF Sportbrake 2.0d 160 Prestige, 52,000 miles, £18,995
2018 XF Sportbrake 2.0i 150 Portfolio, 22,000 miles, £22,999
2018 XF Sportbrake 3.0d V6 Portfolio, 12,000 miles, £28,500
2019 XF Sportbrake 2.0i 150 Prestige, 6000 miles, £25,500