PORTO, Portugal — SUV and truck mania is real — just ask the 63 percent of American buyers who opted for the high-riding vehicles last year. But there has been a recent groundswell of alternative options in the burgeoning wagon segment. Sure, there are lower-end wagons such as the tried-and-true Subaru Outback ($25,895) and the new-kid-on-the-block Volkswagen Golf SportWagen ($21,580). But the 2018 Jaguar XF S Sportbrake competes more closely with the stalwart Mercedes-Benz E400 ($64,045) and the stylish Volvo V90 Cross Country ($52,300).
This begs the nagging question: Could wagons become a serious thing in the States? We spent a day bombing through Portuguese backroads to find out how the Sportbrake fares among its niche competitive set.