Jaguar’s smallest saloon is great to drive but could do with an interior uplift
- Entertaining drive
- Relevant on-board tech
- Diesel efficiency
- Lacks practicality
- Petrol engines’ economy
- Interior quality questions
One of the most hotly contested market segments is the executive saloon sector, but until the Jaguar XE arrived in 2015, the British manufacturer had been rather lacking in this arena.
Its previous stab – the Jaguar X-Type – had lacked the provenance usually associated with the brand and was styled far too traditionally, failing to attract younger buyers in sufficient numbers.
Those aren’t accusations that can be levelled at the slinkier XE – it’s a direct rival to the Audi A4 Saloon, BMW 3 Series Saloon and Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon, as well as more leftfield choices such as the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS.
Aluminium construction boosts efficiency
Helping reduce the XE’s heft is its aluminium intensive construction, and lighter weight equates to greater efficiency, particularly combined with Jaguar’s efficient family of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.
Opt for the entry-level diesel with a manual gearbox and Jaguar cites an official claim of 75.0mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.
Of course, Jaguar’s ethos has historically centred around performance, and sight hasn’t been lost of this: the XE line-up’s crowned by a 380hp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine, mighty enough to propel this compact four-door from 0-62mph in five seconds flat.
That inherent lightness also pays dividends in terms of the XE’s agility – combined with rear-wheel drive handling (all-wheel drive is also available on selected models), the Jaguar’s one of the most entertaining saloons you can buy, yet it still rides comfortably.
There are several electronic systems to aid the driver including Jaguar’s Drive Control – also seen on the larger XF and XJ saloons – which enable the driver to select different handling characteristics such as Comfort and Sport.
You also get an All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) system that maximises traction no matter what the conditions, including dealing with snow or ice.
Modern interior with relevant tech
Forget notions of a plank of highly polished brown wood dominating the dashboard, the XE’s cabin is more contemporary than that. In fact, it’s borderline minimalist, but in a way that makes it look ordinary.
There’s leather, slivers of veneered timber if you want it and contemporary Jaguar switchgear, but some of the plastics feel too low-rent to be convincing in the company the XE keeps.
Some highlights are there, though: the multimedia systems are a leap ahead of Jaguar’s previous efforts, especially the larger-screened InControl Touch Pro package, while its safety credentials are reinforced with an autonomous low-speed braking system and a pop-up bonnet for improved pedestrian protection.
Jaguar XE saloon model history
- October 2014 – New compact executive saloon with rear-wheel drive available to order with first deliveries in June 2015. Launch specifications are SE, Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S, with a choice of petrol (2.0-litre 200hp and 240hp, as well as a 3.0-litre supercharged 340hp unit for the S) and diesel (2.0-litre 163hp and 180hp) engines.
- November 2015 – All-wheel drive available in conjunction with the 180hp 2.0-litre diesel engines. Further enhancements include the optional InControl Touch Pro multimedia system with a 10.2-inch touchscreen.
- February 2017 – Revisions include the introduction of new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines with 200hp (rear-wheel drive only) and 250hp (rear- and all-wheel drive), as well as a 240hp twin-turbo variant of the existing 2.0-litre diesel, only available with all-wheel drive. Power for the 3.0-litre V6 in the XE S increases to 380hp. Other modifications include a Gesture Boot Lid that is opened by waving your foot under the rear bumper, a 12.3-inch TFT virtual instrument cluster and an improved autonomous emergency braking system. An upgrade to the multimedia system enables cashless payment for fuel at Shell filling stations.
Read the full Jaguar XE saloon review to find out if this pretender to the compact executive throne can challenge Audi’s, BMW’s and Mercedes’ sales dominance.
What owners say about this car
The XES feels like a sports car when you want it too but has the ability to go smoothly round... Read owner review
The good points, looks great, engaging to drive, jaguar styling, Negative, do Not , buy this car for the... Read owner review
The Jaguar XE is actually quite a good car. Actually it is a sports saloon. I suspect some folks will... Read owner review