Jaguar XE (2015-2019) Review

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

Buy a new or used Jaguar XE (2015-2019) at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £27,505 - £150,085
  • Choose your perfect car
  • Dealers come to you with their best offers
  • Compare offers and buy with confidence
6/10
wowscore
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Fun to drive
  • Frugal diesel engines
  • Good-looking cabin

What's not so good

  • Small boot
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Some cheap interior plastics

Jaguar XE (2015-2019): what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

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

Mat Watson
carwow expert

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.

How practical is it?

The Jaguar XE has lots of room in the front, as well as a sporty low driving position, but it’s tricky to get in the back and quite cramped once you’re there. The boot’s not that great, either

You can't help thinking practicality took something of a back seat when they were developing the XE. Mind you, you can say the same about the back seat space...

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
450 - 455 litres
Boot (seats down)
-

The XE’s front seats are comfortable and give you an excellent driving position – especially in R-Sport versions of the XE, thanks to their additional bolstering and more supportive shape. You sit low down – like in a sports car – so there’s enough headroom for tall drivers but visibility does suffer slightly as a result. The thick front door pillar beside the windscreen can make you feel a little hemmed in, while the black roof lining fitted to R-Sport models lends the XE a slightly claustrophobic air, too.

All but entry-level SE models feature heated front seats but only the driver’s seat is treated to eight-way adjustment and an electric recline feature as standard. Top-spec Portfolio and S models do, however, offer 10-way electric seat adjustment for both the driver and front-seat passenger.

Climbing into the back seats is tricky – the door openings are narrow and the sloping roofline limits headroom for tall passengers. Once your passengers have clambered in, they’ll find the seats are fairly comfortable but the narrow footwells and limited head and legroom mean six-footers may find themselves sitting slightly twisted. A very large hump in the floor and an intrusive set of air vents where your middle passenger’s shins are makes carrying three adults in the back especially cramped. If you regularly carry rear-seat passengers then the far more spacious Audi A4 will be a much better choice.

Clearly marked Isofix anchor points make fitting a child seat base easily, but lifting the seat itself into the back is made difficult by the low roof and narrow door openings.

Cubby spaces aren’t exactly plentiful in the XE – its narrow door bins will struggle to hold a litre bottle of water and the small glovebox isn’t anything to shout about either. There’s a fairly big storage compartment under the central armrest – phones will fit easily – and a pair of cupholders in the centre console are standard but there aren’t any other neat hideaways to speak of.

Boot space is another stumbling block for the XE. Its 455-litre capacity trails the A4, 3 Series and C-Class’ 480-litre loadbays by a fair margin. As a result, it’ll struggle to hold two large suitcases while the German saloons all have space to spare.

The XE can, however, comfortably carry baby stroller or a set of golf clubs and there’s a set of hooks for shopping bags and a pair of tie-down points hidden up behind the rear seats – if you can reach them that is.

Unfortunately, there’s no room to store valuables under the boot floor and the XE’s big boot lip and narrow boot opening make lifting heavy items in and out difficult. Folding rear seats are only available as a £400 option if you need to carry longer or more bulky items.

What's it like to drive?

The XE’s fun to drive and comfy, but it’s not as quiet inside as similar German cars when you’re on the motorway

The Jaguar XE handles better than a BMW 3 Series – it’s got sharper steering and feels more fun to drive

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the XE with three diesel engines and three petrols, ranging from a frugal 163hp diesel to a raucous 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6.

If you do lots of motorway miles then the 180hp 2.0-litre diesel is your best bet. It can’t quite match the fuel-sipping 163hp model’s claimed 75mpg figure but only costs £500 more and its extra power will make overtaking and motorway cruising pretty much stress-free. Jaguar claims it’ll return 67.3mpg, but expect it to achieve around 55mpg in the real world.

A more rapid twin-turbo diesel model is also available for an extra £3,000. It’ll sprint from 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds but its standard eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive system hamper fuel economy – you’ll struggle to crack 50mpg.

 

The entry-level 200hp 2.0-litre petrol is neither as economical nor as fast as the twin-turbo diesel but costs around £9,100 less. It’s smoother and more suitable if you spend most time around town. A quicker 250 and 300hp versions are also offered but – you’ll be lucky to achieve more than 40mpg.

Rounding out the XE’s lineup is a high-performance S model with a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine shared with the F-Type sportscar. This 380hp leaps from 0-62mph in five seconds flat but will struggle to top 30mpg. It’ll also set you back nearly £15,000 more than a top-spec 2.0-litre version – ouch.

The 163hp and 180hp diesel models come with a manual gearbox as standard while all other versions feature an eight-speed automatic. The former feels more direct and satisfying to use than the manual fitted to a BMW 3 Series, but the optional £1,750 automatic is well worth picking to help take the stress out of traffic jams and long journeys.

The XE’s low-slung driving position and terrific front seats make it feel more like a sports car than a stately saloon. The steering is sharp, and its sporty rear suspension helps it grip through fast bends and stops the car from leaning too much in tight corners. Overall, the XE is more fun to drive than the BMW 3 Series – and that’s quite some achievement.

Don’t think the Jaguar is a firm, uncomfortable sports saloon, however. Its suspension does just as good a job of soaking up bumps and potholes as the expensive adaptive dampers offered on a 3 Series. Avoid the firmer R-Sport setup and it even runs the sublime C-Class’ optional air suspension system pretty close in terms of outright comfort.

Unfortunately, you’ll find quite a lot of wind and tyre noise works its way into the XE’s cabin at motorway speeds. It’s not loud enough to be the source of much annoyance – and you can always drown it out with the excellent stereo – but it’s certainly more noticeable than in an Audi A4 or Mercedes C-Class.

The XE’s slick styling gives it a sporty silhouette but it creates some fairly significant blind spots. The wide front door pillars can hide oncoming traffic from view while the small rear windscreen and slim side windows make spotting overtaking cars a bit hit and miss. Thankfully, all models come with rear parking sensors as standard to make parallel parking that little bit easier.

The XE was awarded a five-star safety score from Euro NCAP in 2015. The testing regime has been made stricter since, but the XE is still one of the safest small executive cars you can buy.

What's it like inside?

The XE has a good-looking interior but it’s let down by a few cheap materials and a frustrating entry-level infotainment system

Next Read full interior review
Buy a new or used Jaguar XE (2015-2019) at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £27,505 - £150,085
  • Choose your perfect car
  • Dealers come to you with their best offers
  • Compare offers and buy with confidence