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View all Jaguar XE reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
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Great to drive, but not as well-rounded as rivals

Jaguar XE (15 on) - rated 4 out of 5
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PROS

  • Entertaining drive
  • Sharp looks
  • Diesel efficiency
  • Well-equipped

CONS

  • Lacks practicality
  • Interior quality
  • Reliability questions
  • No more XE S

PROS

  • Entertaining drive
  • Sharp looks
  • Diesel efficiency
  • Well-equipped

CONS

  • Lacks practicality
  • Interior quality
  • Reliability questions
  • No more XE S

Verdict

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.

Jaguar XE 300 Sport tracking

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 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of just 126g/km.

Of course, Jaguar’s ethos has historically centered around performance, and – until Spring 2018 – sight hadn’t been lost of this: the XE’s line-up was 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.

Jaguar XE 300 Sport 2.0-litre petrol engine

However, due to tightening emissions regulations – and more specifically the switch to WLTP figures – Jaguar dropped the XE S in Spring 2018, indirectly replacing it with the 30t. Producing a chunky 300hp and 400Nm of torque, it’s good for 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds, but few would agree it’s a worthy replacement for the excellent V6.

Driver-sating appeal

The 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.

Used Jaguar XE cars for sale

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, but quality is questionable

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 (10-inch) 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.

Decent standard kit levels

Even on the base SE-spec model, the XE can boast a wide range of standard equipment, including, sat-nav, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, Wi-Fi hotspot and an 10-inch InControl Touch Pro media system.

Jaguar XE 300 Sport centre console

Even bumping up one level to the XE Prestige model bags you full grained leather seats, heated front seats and ambient lighting.

The Parkers Verdict

The XE is a great addition to the ranks of the medium-sized executive saloons. It looks good, boasts an efficient range of engines, and cramped rear seat aside, has a nicely set-up interior.

It's not perfect, though. The interior quality isn't near the top of the class, and lags badly behind the head-of-the-pack Audi A4, while there are some serious question marks being raised about the car's reliability.

But if you're a keen driver, and want to stand out from the crowd, there's a lot to recommend the Jaguar XE – although, admittedly less so now the range-topping V6 model has been dropped.

Jaguar XE 300 Sport rear end

Read on for the full Jaguar XE review