New to the Jaguar X-Type range is the 3.0 Sportwagon, which combines the luxury and performance of the popular X-Type with the versatility and cargo capacity of a “shooting brake”, as the British like to say.

The Sportwagon is based on the X-Type sedan, but is redesigned from the B-pillars back, with new rear doors, new roof and rear body structure. The tailgate opens as a hatch, or the rear glass can be lifted independently, and roof rails, a luggage cover, a cargo compartment net and a hidden storage compartment with a 12-volt power supply are all part of the package.

The motivating force is a 3.0-litre V6 that mates to a five-speed automatic with “normal” or “sport” mode, which sets higher rpm shift points. A five-speed manual can be added as a no-charge option. The Sportwagon comes with Jaguar Traction-4 all-wheel-drive, which normally sends 40 per cent power to the front wheels and 60 per cent to the rear. Should either set of wheels slip, power is diverted to maximize traction.

Standard features on the Sportwagon include 17-inch wheels, variable intermittent wipers with heated washers, front and rear fog lights, power sunroof, heated mirrors, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather and wood steering wheel, leather seats, 70/30 folding rear seat, CD player with six speakers, automatic climate control, cruise control, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, and tilt and telescopic wheel.

The Sportwagon comes with cargo tie-downs set into the rear floor and available roof-mounted accessory cargo boxes, but the rear seats don’t fold entirely flat, and a lip at the back hampers easy loading somewhat. The ride is as smooth as would be expected of an X-Type, there’s plenty of room inside, and the interior is very well done. The all-wheel-drive gives it an extra measure of stability, especially since many of these will be used to transport skiers and their gear to resorts. A wagon is an excellent alternative to a compact SUV, and this is a very good luxury wagon indeed.

The X Type Sportwagon is built in Merseyside, England.

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