back to article Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars

I had a rationale behind reviewing the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Imagine you are an IT consultant. Now imagine you’ve done pretty well for yourself. Still with me? Good. Narrow that down to being the type of consultant who still does real things with hardware. Not just org charts, “strategy” and managing resources. Jaguar …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Nice Review

    I was looking for something to replace my positively ancient Saab Estate. This is worth considering but due to the price, It would have to be second hand.

    However, the A13 does not go anywhere Adastral Park and the rest of Martlesham. That is the A12. You use the A13 if you wanna go to Sarfend and the A127 is closed.

    The nice thing about the A12 and going past Martlesham is that Southwold is 30 mins away. Mines a pint of Adnams in the Crown.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nice Review

      Reminded me of reviews in Top Gear of yore. Would El Reg consider pitching a Top Gear replacement to Aunty Beeb?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice Review

      Am I the only one that hates the look of the front grill?

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Nice Review

      Move a NAS. In a Jag. Bwahahaha...

      If you really need to move IT equipment get a decent truck. Either MItsubishi L series or Isuzu Denver. Do not get Toyota (it is a bouncy castle/roller coster ride on wheels, those drives in the NAS will not like it) and I am going to restrain myself from comments on Ford and Nissan comfort and reliability.

      As someone who regularly takes a Denver on 100+ miles business ones (with kit inside) and on 2000 mile recreational ones (with kids inside) I find the idea of using a Jag estate laughable.

      First of all - If you are _REALLY_ an IT consultant of the type that _REALLY_ take an occasional NAS to customers (NAS, not suit). If you are and you need it for a job, the truck is VAT Free and is a valid capital asset in the UK. The Jag is not. It is a benefit in kind and when you put it on the accounts it will hurt. The truck also costs 2-3 times less (26K pre-VAT on the road with a 4 cab and every single option known to man vs 50K)

      Second, try driving "for a living" 2-4 hours every few days over an extended period of time. Try in a low "sports" position car (especially in something where your butt is far under knee level like an Audi). Try in a decent (not Toyota or Nissan) truck. Your back will explain you the exact difference between the two (with the assistance of a physiotherapist).

      Now if you are an IT consluttant (spelling intended) that pretends that he needs to take a NAS to customers but does not know which end of the NAS is which - take the jag. Any day. It will suit you.

      Last, but not least. You can actually move a _REAL_ NAS or SAN, one that takes half a rack in a truck. Try that in a Jag. Specifically - try loading it without damaging the loading area. Just try that (I will gladly sell the tickets). Oh, do not forget to fit the trolley and lifting equipment to transport the bugger in the jag too.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Nice Review

        Come on, you've missed a trick here. Work out how many NAS boxes (or indeed storage media of your choice) you can fit into the boot, and then you can calculate the data transfer rate between two offices or similar locations and so give us a proper IT angle on all this as well as a car review.

    4. Ben Liddicott

      Re: Nice Review

      Consider the Discovery then. Everything listed above, and a lot coming second hand onto the market now.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice Review

      Big Citroen estates used to be the weapon of choice for those lumbering big boxes round my way.

      The compliant suspension ensured that the boxes got there in one piece, the self levelling suspension meant that it never trailed the ground delivering several dozen PSU batteries, and it could be lowered or raised to prevent putting one's back out.

      Sadly the mk1 C5 was an ugly duckling, briefly helped by the facelift, but the C5 and DS5 have went all Germanic in the suspension department.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sportsbrake or Estate?

    A name to appeal to the Hunter Welly, tweed jacket wearing brigade no doubt.

    But would a matched pair of Purdeys fit in the boot without the seats down?

    An Estate (small one at that) in all but name.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Sportsbrake or Estate?

      Fit an oven in the back and call it a SportsBake

  3. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Wish I had the $72,000US AND it was available in the US.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Americans love the ugly looking front on it the market it was designed for no doubt.

      1. agricola


  4. Anonymous Coward

    Mitsubishi zero....


  5. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    " solves the problem of length..."

    Must. Not. Take. This. Out. Of. Context...

  6. 45RPM Silver badge

    Tikka Masala? Bland, sloppy and disconcertingly sugary? Not spicy enough?

    I'd rather have a vindaloo. Or a V70. And I'd imagine that the effects of shitting either would be similar - arse buggeringly painful.

  7. Woza

    In that final photo

    has it sprung a leak?

  8. Mitoo Bobsworth

    To (sort of) quote Jeremy Clarkson

    "... it's okay, because it's a Jaaaaaaag."

  9. Stacy

    Not the cache

    But I'd still rather my V70 than this for lugging loads about.

    Any estate that has a sports back, lifestyle rear end is not serious about load lugging. According to the specs I can find the V70 can carry more, tow almost as miuch, go almost as fast (in T5 form) and not use a huge amount more fuel even though it's a petrol engine. It has more toys as standard is an amount cheaper.

    And I think it's a far prettier car.

    But yes, as Mitoo points out, you can't say 'It's a Jaaaaaaaaaaaag' when telling people about it :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not the cache

      > you can't say 'It's a Jaaaaaaaaaaaag' when telling people about it :)

      Well, neither can you with this one if you're honest about it. But you can always say "It's a Tataaaaaaa", if that helps.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Not the cache

      Yes. My 2015 XC70 T6 - the AWD version of the V70 - has most of the "goodies" mentioned in the article, and the rest can be added as options if you want (I didn't, particularly), with better cargo capacity. The car is luxurious and the I6 engine very nice. The XC70 is decent on country roads; while it's not a true off-roader, between AWD, traction control, skid plates, and considerable ground clearance it gets by very well.

      And available for a bit more than half the price.

      I can't see any advantage to the Jag at all.

  10. Steven Raith

    Channelling Troy Queef?

    "I’ve neither the balls nor the ability for the odd dab of oppo, so took the one hint of lightness as a warning not to try again."

    Apparently not. He'd never back down from a bit of oppo.

    "Coming in committed to an especially knotty kinkback I slide loafer from loud pedal and feel the trailing end get tricksy. I simply catch it with a dab of oppo and I’m away.

    The Nissan Qashqai Acenta 1.2 DIG-T 115 is a bitch. And I spanked it."

    Steven R

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: Channelling Troy Queef?

      Guilty as charged.

      When I tell people that I review cars they say "You want to be Jeremy Clarkson", and I always reply "No, I want to be Troy Queef".


      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Channelling Troy Queef?

        Good lad. I look forward to seeing your next used car ad.

        Jaguar Snatch. 3.333 pints. Automatic seven speed sunroof. Angry passenger. Want £10x2^4

  11. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    That last photo..

    looks rather like a slick and speedy hearse. Maybe a market they hadn't considered? Going to your last rest at 149mph - and send any tickets to the corpse!

    1. agricola

      Re: That last photo..

      "looks rather like a slick and speedy hearse. Maybe a market they hadn't considered?..."

      How very appropriate, considering what Tata has done to Jaguar-LandRover.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

    Jaguars are essentially undrivable when it snows; even worse than BMWs.

    Buy this and you could be garaging it for a month per year, so put aside some budget for something that works in winter. Say a mini.

    1. Thesheep

      Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      Agree they are awful in the snow. But one month a year? Where do you live? Perhaps one day, and frankly the problem will be that the roads will be blocked by people who overestimated their snow/road skills anyway. Best to stay at home, or if you really worry invest in either snow tyres or chains.

      1. agricola

        Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

        This comment is not about Jaguars, specifically.

        It's about a disturbing trend among automakers to use turbochargers to boost performance--for a while--rather than using their brains to innovate.

        Turbochargers are a cheap way to boost performance while actively exacebating the long-term (<100K miles) UNreliability of the powertrain. Forget that this is an inherently long-lived diesel (if it's a proper diesel); it's the turbocharger--on any engine--which causes the problems.

        Remember all those "rubber-band" engines which used a (internal) flexible timing belt which REQUIRED changing before 100K miles, and the breakage of which could ruin an engine? Before the industry killed THAT design concept, it at least had the good grace to ensure that total engine destruction did not occur WHEN the belt failed.

        Thanks, but no thanks. None of my cars--including my 2005 Jag with 160K miles--have turbos, nor will they. And they all last--save the Jag--well past 300K miles.

        Just one guy's opinion--who's been working on autos for a loooong time

        1. agricola

          UNreliability of turbocharged engines.

          THE most reliable internal-combustion engines extant are the ones used in diesel-electric locomotives: they are SUPERcharged diesel engines, most definitely NOT TURBOcharged.

          If you want the correct answer, always ask the guy whose bottom line depends on having made the correct decision.

          1. A Twig

            Re: UNreliability of turbocharged engines.

            Agreed - given that almost all development is centred around superchargers at the moment (hence all these small block high HP engines coming onto the market).

            The days of big lazy turbos and large ccs are all but over...

            1. Intractable Potsherd

              Re: UNreliability of turbocharged engines.

              I'm keeping my naturally aspirated Subaru Legacy as long as I can. The flat torque-curve and ability to pull away in anything up to high ratio 3rd gear has got me out of a lot of situations that could have become anxiety-provoking over the last eight or nine years ...

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

          Turbochargers are a cheap way to boost performance while actively exacebating the long-term (<100K miles) UNreliability of the powertrain

          Tell that to my stepdaughter's turbocharged 1998 V70, now on its third owner and nearly at 300K miles. And rather casually maintained for at least the past 12 years or so. Biggest powertrain issue to date was a rear-gasket replacement eight or nine years ago.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

        > Best to stay at home, or if you really worry invest in either snow tyres or chains.

        I don't know about these Tatas, but the problem with BMWs in low traction conditions is that they are rear wheel drive (only, except for the AWD models, and I imagine the little ones might be FWD). So winter tyres do not really help in this case--although you'll still need them if you live somewhere with real winters. The problem is alleviated by adding some ballast at the back, e.g., keep your sports gear or, whatever it is you often carry, in the boot. Of course, this means unnecessary extra fuel burn.

    2. teabag36

      Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      A nameless former collegue would not dare to venture into work in his 3 series Beemer when the snow fell - the car was un-drivable - BMW - the ultimate skiving machine

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

        A nameless former colleague would not dare to venture into work in his 3 series Beemer when the snow fell - the car was un-drivable

        Maybe undrivable by him? I've seen how plenty of BMW owners drive...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      All the "posh" RWD cars with fat tyres and open diffs are utterly useless in any slippery conditions.

      If you want a big powerful estate car that's nice to drive and actually useful all year round then you need a Volvo V70, Subaru Legacy or Audi A6 Quattro.

      1. tony trolle

        Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

        no just more fun.

        I got some funny looks driving down from the highest inhabited place in southern California in the snow while they had snow chains coming up from the checkpoint.

    4. system11

      Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      You must be doing something wrong, didn't have a problem myself and that was a V8 S-Type with everything on the rear wheels (and not winter tyres). They're big heavy things, treat them with respect, the accelerator and brake are not binary controls. If the ABS and traction kick in you're already Doing It Wrong.

    5. mtheory

      Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      I beg to differ, I spend a lot of time in Nordics and much snowier places than the UK and a huge percentage of the cars are Mercedes or BMW or Rear-Wheel drive Volvo etc. Including virtaully every taxi. What you mean is that summer tyres are not suitable in the cold or Snow and also most people in the UK don't know how to drive in those conditions. You will not have much more fun than a rear-wheel drive car with Winter tyres on in Snow. It is like going out in a pair of shorts and saying humans cant exist in temperatures under 24 degrees. Spend that budget on a set of Winter tyres and you will be much safer than people in front whee drive cars on Summer tyres.

    6. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      Jaguars are essentially undrivable when it snows

      I have a friend who drives a Mazda MX5. He now refers to it as the MazdaSledge(tm), after one particularly snowy period. He said more than once that he needed to start driving it in reverse, because that was the direction it always wanted to be facing.

    7. Down not across

      Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      aguars are astonishingly awful in the snow

      Jaguars are essentially undrivable when it snows; even worse than BMWs.

      Buy this and you could be garaging it for a month per year, so put aside some budget for something that works in winter. Say a mini.

      Bollocks. You just need to know how to drive. And have M+S tyres of course. Summer tyres won't work very well in the snow.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Totally unremarkable

    So, it's a totally unremarkable car. Anything you get at that price point, and even significantly lower, will have the same features. E.g., just stroll down to your local Audi dealer and £41K latter you can drive off with an S4 Avant giving you a non-negligible 340 HP and a Torsten diff to play with, in addition to all the standard stuff that you have mentioned.

    And it's a "Jaguar" in the same way that those new low(-ish) end Masserattis are Masserattis.

    1. Chris Parsons

      Re: Totally unremarkable

      It depends on what you want, really, doesn't it? There are an awful lot of very samey German cars around that sort of price, I agree, and they are probably 'better' technically. I have had Mercedes and I've had Jags, and I think Jags are just, well, nicer places to be.

      By the way, it's 'Maserati'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Totally unremarkable

        > I have had Mercedes and I've had Jags, and I think Jags are just, well, nicer places to be.

        Proper Jags or post-Tata Jags?

        If it's the former, I cannot comment as I've never driven one. If it's the latter, I have driven those and, well, ... meh, especially as regards the ergonomics which are closer to what you will find in a Ford or, God forbid, a Renault, than to anything actually usable.

        Also, the point of being in a Jag, or say a Rolls-Royce, used to be that they were pointlessly expensive, luxury affairs. Bit like wearing a Rolex--if you started selling Rolex-branded watches for £100 apiece, you may make some sales at first within a certain demographic, but soon people will realise that you have devalued the brand and will move off to something else.

        Myself, I have owned VW, Mercedes, and Audi, and I drive BMWs 5-series extensively. In terms of technology and performance, the car under review compares to a VW more than anything else I have experience with. Which is not to say there is something wrong with it, just saying that if you want better value you have to look elsewhere, and if you want status, you have to look elsewhere too.

        > By the way, it's 'Maserati'.

        Indeed, thank you.

  14. teabag36

    No alternative

    In praise of the Jag, someone who might pretend to have an imagination, has little choice in this sector anymore. Saab have gone, Alfa have nothing in the bracket, the french seem to have abandoned the sector to the germans. This leaves us with hard suspension, heavy steering - to make it feel solid, but no feel or connection to the road, zero throttle response and no flair. Yawn. I blame the reviewers who seem obsessed by German is great. Not in my garage.

    A big shame, but that ought to leave the field open to the Jag - which is great - and British.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No alternative

      Agree totally.

      Citroen are running out the C5, and will probably not replace it, offering up the 3008 based DS5 instead.

      Alfa may or may not be bringing out a large saloon and estate at some point, depending on the news.

      Honda have basically replaced the unloved and underrated Accord with the Civic estate and some sort of 4x4.

      Toyota may or may not be getting rid of the Avensis.

      So, of the little alternatives, it leaves:

      - Skoda Superb - VW parts bin, but all of those taxi drivers can't be wrong...

      - Volvo V70 - The closest alternative to the 9-5 estate.

      - Mazda 6 - I reckon this vaguely looks Jaguar-ish, from a company regarded by many as the Japanese Alfa...

      - Hyundai i40 - If you can live with the badge.

      - Mondeo / Insignia - The former is huge and available for buttons, getting replaced next year. The Insignia estate boot is slightly smaller.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: No alternative

        I used to drive a Mazda 6 estate. Nice car, but suffered from appalling road noise. It finally met its end when the corner of an articulated trailer scraped across the bonnet while it was (legally) parked. I was rather shocked to see how flimsy it was.

        As far as snow handling goes, despite FWD, the Mazda got stuck on the ramp of an underground car park in the Alps. I had to buy snow chains to get out, and even with those I spun 180 degrees at the first bend in the pass. Mind you, the AWD SUV in front of me was basically skating down.

        The Mazda's replacement, a BMW 5 Touring was indeed a little difficult in snow. The worst bit is going uphill, when the weight of the engine causes the front to slide down, while the rear wheels continue up (this at about 10 mph). The car ends up straddling the road, which is embarrassing if there's anyone else there. At this point there's nothing for it but to pray you can complete the U-turn without driving into the ditch, go back down, and find another route.

  15. John Jennings

    The pictures...

    Bottom page 2 and the last one....

    reminiscent of my X-type..... lots of fluids on the ground round it.

    Saying that, 140K miles on the clock, and, touch wood, still pulling well.....

    Saying that, life is too short to stick with one brand.... (except Lurpack!)

  16. druck

    Didn't want to take a car like that to Tesco, but paired it up to the Netto of mobile phones? At least the GF has some taste!

  17. Yugguy

    Running boards

    It does not have them.

    It is therefore an estate, not a sportingbrake or a shootingbrake.

  18. caffeine addict Silver badge

    For a few minutes I thought they'd gone and made a shootingbrake version of the f-type.

    Only Jaguar would wait seven bloody years before launching an estate version. You're supposed to be pensioning this one off, not adding a new variant to the line.

    1. system11

      They're actually planning a 'new' XF - this one is substantially different rather than the slight facelift it had a few years ago. The new one is supposed to be a bit larger to differentiate it from the XE, but that's a mistake IMO - stepping on the toes of the XJ. The XF is already a pretty big car within its market segment, and it feels big too.

      If we compare it to BMW, just looking at them side by side the 7 is bigger than the 5 which is bigger than the 3 - the XF is similar in size to a 5 series so I suspect the XE is the one they mis-sized.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I suspect that with the XE, they're learning lessons from the X-type, the naysayers complaining that it was too small.

        And that it was Mondeo based (despite various Audis being VW/Skoda based and blatantly getting away with it)

  19. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Transponder unlocking

    Keep the key in your pocket, walk up to the car and press the button on the lock and the car opens

    Press the button? What is this, 2004? I walk up to the Volvo with the transponder in my pocket and pull the door handle and it unlocks and opens.

    It's a gimmick, but if we're going to wax gee-wiz about it, we should at least require that Jaguar get it right.

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