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
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.
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...
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.