Jaguar XE review

Winner of numerous accolades including ‘Best New Car of the Year’ at 2015’s Fleet World Awards, the XE is Jaguar’s first compact executive car – it’s lean, mean and well worth the wait. Contending with the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series, there’s no denying Jaguar have serious competition on their hands when it comes to the compact executive market, but the XE nails it for a number of reasons.

A high-end luxury interior, stunning looks and a powerful diesel engine that still boasts excellent fuel economy ensures this lithe, muscular sports saloon makes an instant impact. Let’s take a closer look…

Exterior

First things first: initial impressions of the Jaguar XE may be that it looks pretty conservative, but it has great presence on the road and its sweeping, aerodynamic silhouette stands out in a crowd. The first of a new generation of Jags built with high-strength aluminium alloy for a refined drive and sharper handling, the new XE boasts F-TYPE-style rear headlights, an upright grille, sleek low bonnet and wide, slim ‘J-Blade’ HID Xenon headlights. Thanks to the low rear roof-line, the XE has a coupe-like feel that will appeal to sportier types, with the top-range S model offering 19” twinspoke alloy wheels, bright sports pedals and an ‘S’ body kit with bootlid spoiler.

The XE is a Jaguar that looks ready to pounce with its sleek, muscular good looks, and our model of choice, the Portfolio, brings 18” 6-spoke silver alloy wheels and a plethora of cutting-edge technology to what is already an impressive offering.

Interior

It’s unadulterated luxury all the way when it comes to the XE’s interior, as you would expect from any Jag – yet the plush interior boasts a more contemporary feel than its predecessors, thanks to meticulous craftsmanship and a host of interior options.

Jaguar have taken a noticeable step up when it comes to the in-car tech with the XE. The InControl Touch infotainment system is compatible with Apple and Android smartphones, and all models come with DAB radio, cruise control and sat-nav as standard.

But it’s not just the tech that will make you stop and take notice; the XE is available in five trim levels, from the entry-level SE to the top of the range S. In all models, a wraparound fascia – available in a choice of luxury finishes including five wood, four aluminium and two specialist veneers – makes the car’s interior feel really special.

There’s plenty of space too – even for taller passengers – and the rear seats three comfortably, although the middle back seat offers somewhat limited space due to the wide centre console in the front. With wide-opening rear and front doors, getting in and out is always smooth and elegant, and there’s adequate legroom and headroom for the driver and passengers.

Boot space is adequate at 450-litre capacity (455 litres in models with no spare wheel) although you’ll definitely find the focus is more on depth than width. Pack light for your business trips and city breaks and you should have no problem. There’s always the option to upgrade for £400 and benefit from split rear seatbacks if you need additional boot space. Interior storage is impressive too, thanks to the XE’s ergonomic layout – a stowage tray for smartphones, overhead console (ideal for sunglasses), door bottle-holders and an armrest cubby box offer plenty of options.

Eight-way adjustable seats ensure a sound driving position with plenty of support for longer journeys, whilst clear dials and a soft-grain leather F-TYPE sports steering wheel as standard add a touch of va-va-voom to your drive.

On the road

The Jaguar XE offers a remarkably comfortable ride, performing well at motorway speeds with superb handling – although the R-Sport models have firmer suspension. Outstanding dynamics ensure an unforgettable driving experience for XE owners, thanks to the lightweight Aluminium Intensive Architecture which reduces both CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

In fact, the XE beats the BMW 3-series on CO2 emissions and MPG, hands down. The lower-powered diesel engines returning 60+MPG and CO2 emissions well under the 100g/km threshold, ensuring the XE will be a popular choice for company cars. The entry-level diesel boasts combined fuel economy of 75MPG whilst the sportier XE S comes in at an adequate 34.4MPG.

The XE benefits from a number of new features to ensure a memorable driving experience including Torque Vectoring for precise cornering. The system senses impending understeer and fine-tunes the XE’s trajectory for smooth handling. All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) comes as standard on automatic models for enhanced grip in wet or icy conditions and Adaptive Dynamics analyses cornering, braking and acceleration, modifying settings for improved performance. This comes as standard on the XE S and an optional extra on Prestige, R-Sports and Portfolio models (not available on the entry-level SE).

Thanks to the new Ingenium diesel engines, good throttle response is achieved although some noise is audible above 4,000rpm. With that said, the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine cruises in near-silence and feels punchy. Once you reach cruising speeds, it’s a surprisingly quiet driving experience, although we recommend avoiding huge alloys for a quieter journey.

Jaguar’s reputation for reliability shows no signs of demise with the XE. With a five-star Euro NCAP rating predicted and standard safety kit including front, side and curtain airbags and automatic emergency braking (optional safety features include blindspot monitoring and adaptive cruise control), it’s no wonder the XE was named the Car of the Year and Best Business Car at the Telegraph Car Awards this summer.

Verdict

In our opinion, impressive handling and steering, strong resale values and an economical diesel engine combined with a refined, tech-heavy interior have earned the Jaguar XE its place as one of the most desirable compact executives around.

With a list price ranging from £26,995 for the Saloon 2.0i 200 SE 4 dr to £44,870 for the top-of-the-range 3.0i S/C 340 S 4 dr, the XE appeals unashamedly to the luxury buyer who wants a great, sporty saloon.

For more information on the Jaguar XE or any of our other cars, why not get in touch with your local Perrys dealership today?