Jaguar XE vs XF: Great British saloon brawl

The Jaguar XE is the firm’s compact executive saloon competing against the very talented BMW 3 Series. The next step up in the range, the XF, saw the release of an all-new version in 2015, and it’s more spacious, more refined and better to drive than ever.

If you have your heart set on a new Jaguar, which of the pair should you go for? We’ve compared these two cool cats to find out. You can put either the Jaguar XE or the Jaguar XF in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.

Styling

Gone is the old-fashioned Jaguar styling, replaced with a much more contemporary interpretation of the brand. They both boast real presence from the front, while both cars’ proportions are spot on – especially if you choose one of the larger alloy wheel options.

If there are any criticisms, it’s that both seemed to have played things quite safe at the rear and that unless the two cars are parked side by side – where the XF’s larger body becomes apparent – it’s a little tricky distinguishing between the two. In Jaguar’s defence – most premium car brands tend to be fairly conservative when designing saloons.

Interior

Both cabins are lifted by top-quality materials and impressive detailing. The driving position is low, and the window line is quite high, endowing the XE and XF with a sporty feel. All of the controls are logically laid out, so it’s very easy to get comfy.

If interior space is a priority, the XF is the car to choose. It’s the more accommodating car – especially in the back, where the XE’s sloping roofline eats into headroom for taller passengers. While the XF’s 540-litre boot is competitive against rivals like the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series, the XE’s 455-litre boot is a little disappointing.

Driving

Jaguar has used as much aluminium as possible in the construction of each car, improving ride, handling, performance and fuel efficiency. The results are most apparent in the larger XF – like-for-like, the latest generation model weighs as much as 190kg less than its predecessor.

If anything, the XE is even better through the twisty bits. Its ride is marginally firmer than the XF’s, helping it to feel that little bit sharper. It could never be considered uncomfortable, but the optional adaptive dampers allow the driver to tweak the firmness of the ride depending on their mood.

Whichever car you find yourself sat in, it will make for a refined, comfortable long distance cruiser. The aforementioned extra space in the XF makes it the more pleasant place to while away the miles, but road, wind and engine noise are well-suppressed in both.

Engines

Many engines are shared between the XE and XF. The most potent supercharged V6 S model boasts 40hp more in the larger XF – 380hp vs 340hp – but, thanks to the XE’s lighter weight, it completes the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 4.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds sooner than the XF can manage.

Similar performance gains for the XE are true across the whole range. As are fuel consumption benefits – the 163hp 2.0-litre diesel returns 75mpg in the XE, but the XF’s extra mass means that figure drops to 71.7mpg. That’s still 6mpg more frugal than the most efficient Audi A6.

The XE features a 2.0-litre petrol unit in two states of tune, neither of which can be chosen in the XF. Producing either 200 or 240hp, it’s capable of a 0-62mph time as low as 6.5 seconds and a claimed fuel economy figure of 37.7mpg.

Those looking for a more powerful diesel, however, should turn to the XF. A 3.0-litre V6 unit produces 300hp and a whopping 516lb ft of torque, endowing it with incredible flexibility and 51.4mpg average fuel efficiency. Both are available as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, while an eight-speed auto is a £1,750 option.

Value for Money

Thanks to the frugal range of diesel engines, both the XE and XF are among the cheapest cars to run in their respective classes. With insurance groups for the XE starting at group 22 for the diesel, it should cost less to insure than the equivalent BMW 3 Series (group 30) or the slower and less efficient Audi A4 (group 23).

Despite the increase in size, the raise in price from an XE to and XF isn’t quite as vast as you might expect. Comparing the 163hp diesel in R-Sport trim, the difference between the two is only £1,875. When you consider that even the basic XF includes a full leather interior, satellite navigation and 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, it seems to represent better value than the smaller car.

Both models are kitted out with all the modern safety equipment you’d expect from a premium product, including emergency city braking and lane keeping assist.

Verdict

Choosing between these two Jaguars is a very close-run contest, as shown by our wowscores – the XF achieves an impressive 8.6 out of 10, which is slightly edged by the XE’s 8.8.

The XE is more fun to drive, marginally faster and more economical, but the XF is slightly more comfortable, more spacious and arguably better value for money. There isn’t really a bad choice here, but if refinement is a priority, go for the bigger car. If you want to squeeze out that little extra bit of driving enjoyment from your daily commute, the XE is the one to have.

What next?

Put either the Jaguar XE or the Jaguar XF in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you’re still struggling to pick your next car, check out our car chooser.

Jaguar XE

One of the best small executive cars you can buy
8.8
£26,990 - £44,995
RRP
Read review Compare offers

Jaguar XF

Drives as good as it looks, and now more practical
8.7
£32,300 - £49,995
RRP
Read review Compare offers
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