The Jaguar XE is a fantastic small saloon car that’s smart inside and sporty to drive, but not as practical as many similar-sized German cars
The Jaguar XE is a great small saloon car. It looks fantastic, comes with a smart interior, a decent range of engines and is fun to drive. Its seating position is excellent and all but entry-level models come well-equipped, too.
The XE was launched in 2015 and updated in 2017 with a revised InControl Touch Pro infotainment system and a clever central screen that’ll show different images to the driver and passenger. It also got a digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel that replaces conventional dials – similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system.
The XE’s interior looks smart, and – apart from some cheap plastics low down on the doors – feels suitably upmarket and has one of the best driving positions in the business – you almost feel like you’re sat in a sports car. Things aren’t so good in the back however, because the rear seats are cramped and the XE’s sloping roofline means your passengers will have to duck to get in.
It isn’t perfect though. The XE’s boot is smaller than those in the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. Whereas these cars can swallow 480 litres, the XE’s well and truly full after just 455 litres. You’ll also have to hand over an extra £400 if you want the optional folding rear seats, which is a bit mean.
You definitely buy the XE for its good looks and fun driving experience rather than its back-seat space – there’s much less room than in other executive saloons
The way it drives helps the Jaguar claw back some points. It feels sportier than a BMW 3 Series – its steering is sharp and its advanced suspension helps stop it from leaning too much through tight corners, although R Sport models can feel jiggly on bumpy roads. Settle into a motorway cruise and it’s comfortable but there’s a little more road noise than you’ll hear in most other saloons.
Euro NCAP awarded the XE an impressive five-star crash safety rating in 2015, so it’s a safe car for you and your passengers. You should bear in mind that the testing regime has been made significantly stricter since the Jaguar was tested, however.
You can get the XE with a choice of three diesel and three petrol engines, ranging from a frugal 163hp 2.0-litre diesel that’ll return a claimed 75mpg to a sporty supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol that produces 380hp. The best all-rounder, however, is the 180hp diesel that’ll return around 55mpg in the real world. It’s a little noisy when you accelerate, but it quietens down at a cruise and is ideal if you do lots of motorway journeys.
That’s not to say the XE is just a motorway cruiser – it’s very good to drive, looks smart inside and out, but the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series are more practical and feel better built. See how they compare in our video group test, and for more details and in-depth analysis of the Jaguar XE, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you want to see what sort of offers are available on the XE, visit our deals page.