Jaguar XE review
The Jaguar XE is a sporty saloon car that’s fun to drive and comes with a premium interior but its back seats are very cramped and alternatives come with a much broader choice of engines.
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The Jaguar XE is the British company taking on the BMW 3-Series at its own game, namely being a premium saloon with real sporting pretensions.
And while BMWs and Audis are known for sitting a foot off your rear bumper to intimidate you out of the way, the Jag will make you move over simply because it looks so angry, with frowny lights and a gaping grille.
Climb inside, and you’ll spot plenty of tweaks which set this new car apart from the old model. These include a new gear lever which replaces the old car’s rotary dial, lots of softer trims and a revamped infotainment system, called Pivi Pro.
There’s also a high-resolution digital driver’s display and a touch-screen with cool built-in rotary dials for the climate control. It all looks very slick but isn’t quite as intuitive to use (or come with as many features) as the iDrive system in a BMW 3 Series.
The Jaguar XE doesn’t feel quite as spacious inside as the BMW, either. Sure, there’s loads of space in the front and you get a decent amount of seat adjustment as standard, but climb into the back and you’ll struggle for head and knee room if you’re anything close to six-foot tall. Carrying three adults abreast is a definite no-no.
You’ll want to consider the Jaguar XE if you fancy a premium saloon that’s fun to drive, easy to live with and has looks that’ll get it noticed among a sea of German alternatives.
At least the boot’s pretty roomy, and its wide opening makes it relatively easy to load some suitcases or a set of golf clubs. It’s a real pain that you can’t fold the back seats down to carry very long or bulky loads. Looks like the Jaguar XE has been saved from tip-duty, then.
If you plan to use your Jaguar XE for pottering around town, the 250hp petrol will be the engine to go for – it’s more affordable and more economical than the faster 300hp model and smoother and quieter than the 204hp diesel. Still, don’t completely write off the diesel – the addition of mild-hybrid technology has both increased its power output and made it more efficient than ever with an average economy of 58.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 127g/km.
The Jaguar XE is pretty quiet at speed, but you’ll hear a bit more wind and tyre noise than in the likes of the super-relaxing BMW 3 Series. It’s very nearly as comfortable as the BMW though, and the standard eight-speed gearbox is smooth at low speed and responds pretty quickly to the paddles on the steering wheel.
You’ll probably find yourself using these quite a lot on quiet country roads because the Jaguar XE feels much more sporty to drive than the staid and sensible Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. It’ll put just as big a grin on your face as the nimble BMW 3 Series and Alfa Romeo Giulia too and comes with a few driver assistance systems to make the drive home a doddle when you’ve finished having fun.
As a result, the Jaguar XE makes a good choice if you’re looking for a sporty saloon car that’s easy to live with – just don’t expect to carry too many tall friends along for the ride. Check out the latest Jaguar XE deals to see how much you can save on one.
The Jaguar XE’s front seats are supportive and spacious enough for tall drivers, but the back seats are very cramped and the boot isn’t as big as in many alternatives.
You’ll have absolutely no trouble getting comfortable in the Jaguar XE’s front seats – even if you’re very tall. The seats are lovely and supportive and come with height and lumbar adjustment as standard to give you a good view out and help prevent lower back-ache on long drives.
The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height too, but the strange locking mechanism is quite tricky to use if you have small hands or you’re wearing thick gloves. That being said, you can pay extra to have it fitted with electric adjustment instead.
Sadly, there isn’t anything you can do to make the Jaguar XE’s back seats more comfortable for tall passengers. Anyone over six-foot tall will find their head brushing against the roof in the outer two seats and they’ll really struggle to slide into the middle seat thanks to the very tall lump in the Jaguar XE’s floor.
There’s just about enough space for three kids to sit side-by-side in the back but the small rear windows don’t give them a very good view out so they may start to feel a little car-sick on long drives.
For carrying even younger passengers, you get two sets of easy-to-access Isofix anchor points under removable plastic covers. The Jaguar XE’s rather narrow rear door openings and sloping roofline make it quite tricky to lift in a seat and secure it, however – especially if you’re tall.
The Jaguar XE comes with plenty of handy cubby holes to help you squirrel away any unsightly clutter. The glovebox is big enough for a few small bottles, there’s space for some drinks cans under the front armrest and you get a pair of cupholders in the centre console which will safely secure a precariously hot cup of coffee.
The front door bins have enough space to hold a pair of half-litre bottles each and they come with a neat felt-lining to stop things rattling about when you’re driving. The rear door bins aren’t quite as spacious as those in front, but back-seat passengers do get to share a folding armrest with a pair of cupholders.
The Jaguar XE has 455 litres of boot space. That’s enough to carry a couple of suitcases or a set of golf clubs, but somewhat smaller than the 480-litre load bays you get in almost every alternative.
The raised boot lip can make it tricky to lift in heavy luggage but at least the boot opening is reasonably wide and the load bay itself is nice and square. You get a few tether points and a shopping hook to keep your groceries safe and secure, but there isn’t any underfloor storage and you don’t get folding rear seats as standard.
If you plan to regularly carry long luggage, you’ll want to fork out for the three-way (40:20:40) split rear seats. Fold just the middle seat down and you carry long items, such as skis, poking through from the boot with a passenger on each side. Flip all three seats down and the Jaguar XE’s boot is big enough to carry a bike with its wheels attached – providing you can squeeze it through the boot opening.
The Jaguar XE is fun to drive yet comfortable and relaxing enough to live with every day but you can’t get it with anywhere near as many different engines as some alternatives.
You can get the Jaguar XE with one diesel and two petrol engines and with either rear- or all-wheel drive – depending on which model you pick.
The most affordable engine is a 250hp four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol unit. It’s smooth, quiet and more than punchy enough to blast past slow-moving traffic. It’ll sprint from 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds and Jaguar claims it’ll return more than 40mpg – although you’ll probably see a figure in the high thirties in normal driving conditions.
If you do lots of long motorway journeys, you’ll want to consider the 180hp diesel instead. This four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine isn’t as smooth, quiet or as quick as the 250hp petrol – the 0-60mph sprint takes a leisurely 7.6 seconds – but it’s much more economical. Jaguar claims it’ll manage as much as 57mpg, but you can expect it to return more like 50mpg in normal driving conditions.
If you fancy something a bit sportier – and let’s face it, it’s a Jaguar after all – then the 300hp petrol model is the way to go. This will sprint from 0-60mph in a hot-hatch rivalling 5.4 seconds but is quite a bit thirstier than other, less rapid models – go easy on the accelerator and you can expect it to return around 35mpg.
Every Jaguar XE comes with a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. It jerks a little when you accelerate hard – especially in low gears – but it responds pretty quickly to the paddles on the steering wheel if you’d rather choose when to change gear yourself.
You can also get the Jaguar XE with all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive for a little extra grip in slippery conditions. Unless you live somewhere prone to particularly harsh winter weather though, you’ll be better off saving your cash.
The Jaguar XE is a low-slung saloon car, so it isn’t particularly easy to see out of. Sure, it has fairly thin pillars beside the windscreen but the small rear windows and narrow windscreen make it a pain to slot into tight parking spaces. At least you get front and rear parking sensors as standard to help you avoid low-speed bumps and scrapes.
Don’t go thinking that the Jaguar XE is overly tricky to drive in town, though. The steering feels fairly light at low speeds and its suspension does a very good job ironing out bumps and potholes.
Things get even more comfortable when you’re cruising along at motorway speeds. There isn’t a great deal of wind or tyre noise so the Jaguar XE is nice and relaxing to travel in and every model comes with cruise control and lane-keeping assist as standard to help take the sting out of long drives.
Traffic-sign recognition also comes as standard, along with automatic emergency braking which will hit the brakes for you if it detects an obstacle in the road ahead.
If you’re more interested in what the Jaguar XE is like to drive than how many high-tech features it has, you won’t be disappointed. It feels agile in tight corners yet doesn’t lean much at all so you can fling it from one bend to another without worrying about making your passengers (too) carsick. It certainly feels more agile than the likes of the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 and will put just as big a grin on your face as the famously fun-to-drive BMW 3 Series.
The new Jaguar XE comes with a seriously slick cabin that looks and feels much better than the car it replaces. It’s a shame most of its high-tech infotainment features cost extra, though.
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