Tag: Station Wagon

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

We won’t go out a limb to say the SUV is dead. But we will take a gamble and say that the station wagon, er, shooting-brake, like our 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD, is making a comeback. And for us fans of sports wagons, this rebirth hasn’t come a moment too soon. Walks through dealership service departments show the majority of vehicles on the road and in for service are SUV or crossover-based in nature, with one car for every 10 SUVs on the lift.

But just what is a shooting brake, you ask? It’s a term that was popular in 19th-century Britain. Used by the “sporting set,” it was the name given to carriages and later motorcars that were outfitted to carry shooting parties, along with their long guns, hunting dogs and hopefully, game upon their return. In the case of our Jaguar, the company has modified the name from shooting-to Sportbrake, in a nod to those enthusiast drivers who choose to haul cargo, while at the same time, hauling ass.

Along the way, the Tata-owned brand has joined Mercedes-Benz with their E-Wagon and Volvo with their V90 in bringing an SUV/CUV alternative to this side of the big pond. In they process, the Jaguar also happens to best both of its rivals in terms of  performance and looks.

Power

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Power for this Jaguar XF Sportbrake comes from the same 3.0-liter 380-horsepower supercharged V6 that finds its way into the Jaguar F type and other brands throughout the Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) lineup. With ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. It is equipped with Jaguar’s all-wheel-drive system for added grip, and with Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) to assist with cutting corners in a torque vectoring sort of fashion, while at the same time, helping to make the AWD system offer a more rear-drive style of response.

A lead sled, this wagon is. Self-leveling Integral-Link air suspension levels out the heaviest of loads while the adaptive dynamics with configurable dynamics help to retune the grip and vehicle on the fly. Still at the end of the day, it’s every bit as stout as the XF sedan. Our Jaguar Sportbrake was equipped with intelligent driveline dynamics, which is a form of torque vectoring. The system also allows power to shift back and forth from front to rear to provide the best of both worlds : All-wheel drive from start to rear wheel drive while cruising. Surprisingly at 116.5 inches, it handles very similarly to its sedan sibling,

Stylistically Speaking

The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD as we tested it featured a gorgeously finished interior with two ebony-colored thrones in the front with adjustable lumbar, heating and ventilation. The dashboard featured a totally configurable screen in the instrument pod then measured out to 12.3-inches diagonally. To its right, was a 10-inch center stack display with the controls for navigation, climate, audio and Bluetooth, in addition to the car’s systems settings. This jag even included an activity key for active lifestylers who bike and swim but don’t want to worry about getting a key fob wet during those activities

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

The roof featured a full-length panoramic sunroof which really opened up the inside appearance which was a good thing with all this black leather that we found ourselves surrounded by. A one-piece polymer rear hatch help the Sportbrake shed some rear weight and maintain a 50:50 weight balance.

The entire rear area is what we would call cavernous, going from 31.7-cubic feet behind the rear seat to 69.7 once the 40:20:40 split rear seats are folded forward.

If this Jaguar XF had a shortcoming, it’s in the controls. We have become tired already, of the submersible drive selector knob that raises to greet you once the ignition switch has been fired. But that’s just a minor quibble that hopefully will be excised with the next generation.

0-60 in 5.3 secs

Our time behind the wheel in the 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD had us feeling like the leaper in the cage, because in addition to having a gorgeous red metallic finish with black enameled alloy wheels that would naturally attract attention, we were getting stared at because we were driving what people essentially knew to be a station wagon.

But, oh what a station wagon.

Power from the 3.0 Liter supercharged V6 came on at a relatively rapid pace as the supercharger wound up. It did manage to kick us back into our black leather-covered seats which we actually wished were tan hides rather than the ebony that our car was equipped with. But it was obvious Jaguar designers were capitalizing on a blackout theme, so there you go.

As equipped, this Jag with its integral-Link suspension featured automatic load leveling that manage to keep its composure regardless of what we were carrying. The adaptive dynamics dampers manage to “Read the road,” while we attempted to cut corners around our favorite driving loop. The results were a station wagon, er, shooting brake that behaves like its sedan sibling.

We still never tire do of being able to throw the transmission into manual (M) mode for some paddle-shifting hijinks that had us pretending we were a former Jaguar F1 driver, even though they haven’t existed for sometime now. But we can still dream.

Of course, we think the brand knows this will be a niche vehicle because everyone is still Jonesed about their Crossovers- and Sport Utility Vehicles, but at the same time, when you buy in to the Sportbrake as an owner, you are joining an impossibly exclusive club, that can compete with the Germans, and without apologies, at that.

To which we say, “I think I can hang with you brothers for a while.”

Story and photos by Mark Elias

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

Base MSRP:   $70,450         As tested: $84,815.

Includes:  Firenze Red paint, $565; Black Exterior Package, $360; Technology Package, $3,265; Driver Assistance Package, $3,495; Comfort and Convenience Package, $1,805; Premium Interior Upgrade Package, $2,860; 20-inch Wheels, $1,020; Destination fee, $995.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                     V6

Displacement:              3.0-liters

Power:                           380 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Torque:                         332 lb-ft

Fuel System:                direct injection/supercharged

Fuel:                               premium

Acceleration:                0-60mph in 5.3 seconds

Drive Type                    AWD

Gearbox:                       ZF 8-speed automatic

Unladen Weight:        4,045-pounds

Length:                          195-inches

Width:                           82.3-inches

Height:                          57.8-inches

Wheelbase:                   116.5-inches

Cargo Volume:             69.7-cubic feet rear seat folded

31.7-cubic feet rear seat up

 

City:                                18

Highway:                       25

Combined:                    21

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”105″ gal_title=”2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD”]

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Missile-like in its appearance, the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD is quietly showing that there’s still a lot of game in Gothenburg (Göteborg), Sweden. Now the proverbial last man standing in Swedish auto manufacturers, they continue apace with solid and actually surprising new vehicles.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

The Swedish Auto Industry has been through some upheavals over the last ten years. Saab, formerly based up the road in Trollhattan, is no more, with the remains (carcass) surviving as the National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) electric carmaker.

Regardless, now under the auspices of Gheely Motors, the China-based parent company of Volvo is taking names and letting the world know that it is no longer necessary to use the words Volvo and conservative in the same sentence.

Everything old is new again

Although SUVs and crossovers are the big movers and shakers in dealership showrooms, Volvo, now the quirkiest Scandinavian on the Swedish automotive mantelpiece following the exit of Saab from the auto industry, has quietly and profoundly moved in with designs that are practical and sexy at the same time. Your honor, may we present exhibit A, the Volvo V90 Cross Country?

Tell It Like It Is.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

Research commissioned by Volvo Cars has told them the people want to spend time pursuing outdoor activities and such with their vehicles. But what about those of us who just think that a station wagon with extended off-roading capabilities are cool? Could this be the vehicle for us?

It just might be. The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD is powered by Volvo’s in-line four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with eight speed automatic gearbox and a full-time all-wheel-drive system. We have enjoyed this proud engine in several other Volvo vehicles through the years. Energy checks in at 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque. This super- and turbocharged engine, pushes the 4,200-pounder to a 0 to 60 time of 6.0-seconds.

Our tester is outfitted essentially like the standard Volvo V90, but that it rides with an additional 2.3-Inches of ground clearance (8.3-inches) over the standard 6.0-inches found on the regular V90. Available in one trim level, ours was equipped with a premium load leveling air suspension system ($1,200).

Rearranging The Furniture.

Scooped out like a cantaloupe, the grille of the Volvo V90 features the new face of Volvo, complete with the trademark “Ironmark.” Slitty looking LED style headlamps tart up the V90’s peepers for a more aggressive look, which is completed with the silvered skidplate treatment at the front and rear of the Cross Country. We don’t think they are functional skids; and it would be sacrilege to subject such a good looker to those kinds of off-pavement abuses. Along the sides, enhanced body cladding gives off a more utilitarian look into the capabilities this off-roading wagon possesses.

As good as the exterior of the Volvo V90 appears, the inside is plenty fresh as well. While most vehicles feature what the youngsters call landscape-oriented central displays, the V90’s in-dash display flips things on its side to orient itself in a Portrait position. Dark walnut wood inlays set off the two-tone interior, which includes brushed aluminum, leather, rubber and plastic, and helps to enhance the acoustic qualities of the Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

The 10-way power front seats with Nappa ventilated leather offered an infinite number of adjustments and an aggressively lovely back massage to keep us refreshed while at speed. Rear seat outboard passengers get to take advantage of heated seating surfaces during the two days of Florida winters.

Looking skyward reveals to us what is possibly the largest sunroof in automobiledom. And then, in another apparent Swedish fetish, Volvo has adopted the Saab penchant for placing the vehicle’s ignition switch, just to the rear of the V90’s shift lever.

Behind the wheel

Color us impressed with the V90 Cross Country’s T6 engine. At 316 hp, it did not seem to struggle at all in pulling this 4,200-pound “station wagon” whether we were taking off from a stop light or accelerating on the Interstate. Power seemed evenly split amongst all four wheels depending on the traction needs that on-board sensors monitored along the way.

The ride quality in the Volvo V 90 Cross Country puts it on the same footing with offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar. A plush quiet ride clearly bore this out, with a floaty feeling that might have been enhanced by the extra cost Premium Air Suspension, which also serves as a load leveler when the V90 is fully laden. The Volvo engineers, through their spectacular tuning abilities, have managed to make this “Wagon” more Cocoon than Conestoga.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Base MSRP: $55,300. As tested: $69,440.

Includes: Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound system, $3,200; HUD $900; 20-inch alloy wheels, $800; Premium Air Suspension, $1,200; Destination fee, $995.

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                    4-cylinders

Displacement:                            2.0-liter Supercharged and Turbocharged

Power:                                          316 hp @ 5,700 rpm

Torque:                                        295 lb-ft @ 2,200-5,400 rpm

Fuel System:                               Gasoline Direct Injection

Fuel:                                              Premium

Acceleration:                               0-60 mph in 6 seconds

Drive Type                                   Transverse AWD

Gearbox:                                       8-speed Automatic Transmission

Unladen Weight:                        4,221-pounds

Length:                                         194.4-inches

Width:                                           75.9-inches

Height:                                          60.8-inches

Wheelbase:                                   115.8-inches

Cargo Volume:                             53.9-cubic feet, rear seat up

City:                                                22

Highway:                                       30

Combined:                                    25

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”80″ gal_title=”2017 Volvo V90 AWD”]