THERE will always be a demand for quality estate cars despite ever changing trends including the current surge in growth of Sports Utility Vehicles, claims the top designer behind Jaguar's continuing impressive array of new cars.
Ian Callum, who has been Jaguar's styling guru for the past 18 years, was unveiling the second generation XF Sportbrake, the estate version of the company's XF saloon, which goes on sale with a choice of five engines and prices between Â£34,910 and Â£59,595.
"Estate cars, or station wagons as some people call them, have been around a long, long time and it's clear that there is still a demand out there for them despite new design models such as SUVS coming along," he said.
"We still believe in estate cars and one of the keys to development new versions is like with our saloons and any other news cars is that the car has to have an individual character about them.
"As with this new Sportbrake we have taken on board some of the inspiration of styling cues and graphics from older Jaguars which we have always done and in this case we're going back to the XJs of the late Sixties," he explained.
"What we wanted to do this time was to make the Sportbrake stand out more and one of the areas was to change its waistline so which is now quite unique in that from the looking at it sideways on we have let it drop away at the back end where it becomes more aerodynamic than the previous model," he added.
Callum revealed there had been months of in-house discussions amongst the team before finally coming to a decision on this one aspect.
"Again the key really is trying to keep it simple which is important for any new car design in my view," he went on. "And with an estate car like the Sportbrake this can be exciting in itself and of course keeping the drag coefficient as low as possible and close as possible to the saloon model is another important factor."
He continued: "At the back end this time we have incorporated a stylish rear spoiler and I think it now has a much racier rear end and of course estate cars are about luggage space and again we have improved this while now offering a much better and wider flat floor with the rear seats folded."
The new Sportbrake now has 565 litres of boot room (up from 540 on its predecessor) and with those rear seats folded this rises to about the best in class of 1,700 litres.
Callum first real success in estate car evolution was back in the late 1990s when the TWR Volvo 850 Estate caused controversy by winning the BTCC over saloon rivals. Its success led to it being banned for future race seasons as the organisers claimed it had an unfair aerodynamic advantage.
Since leaving TWR and joining Jaguar in 1999 Callum has been responsible for a running series of winners in both saloon and estate cars as well the more recent SUV concepts.
"I certainly think estate cars like the Sportbrake will continue to evolve and be developed into future road going models because many motorists still believe, as I do, in that concept and future new technology will also enhance it," he added