Jaguar XF Sportbrake vs Merc CLS Shooting Brake

Spindrift streams off the roof of the Sportbrake, a glittering trail of frozen particles that spills into the biting, brittle Lakeland air and hangs motionless. A crystallised snapshot and then the gently floating cloud is blown apart, the particles scattered by a bow wave of turbulence, as the Shooting Brake punches its way through.

Frost twinkling on bodywork, the Jaguar and the Mercedes flow along, a vapour trail of diamond dust in their wake. They look absolutely gorgeous. Estate cars aren't meant to look gorgeous. They can occasionally be well-designed, handsome even, but on the whole this is a class in which a fit-for-purpose mentality dominates. That purpose being practicality. But why should this be so? Why should the compromise always come down on the side of space, not style? After all, how much room do you actually need? Couldn't you just improve your packing skills?