3.8 out of 5 3.8
Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

Great to drive and characterful, dropping off the pace in other areas

Jaguar XE (15 on) - rated 3.8 out of 5
Enlarge 114 photos

At a glance

New price £30,250 - £40,180
Lease from new From £421 p/m View lease deals
Used price £8,670 - £132,095
Fuel Economy 29.6 - 57.7 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £490
Insurance group 22 - 50 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Entertaining handling and great steering
  • Sharp looks on higher-spec versions
  • Diesel efficiency is highly impressive
  • Still the sharpest-driving executive saloon

CONS

  • Lacks rear-seat room
  • Limited range of engines
  • No hybrid or PHEV versions
  • Fun, but falling off the pace

Jaguar XE rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

Is the Jaguar XE any good?

The XE has been around since 2015, but Jaguar has worked hard to ensure that its smallest saloon is capable of competing with the big players in the executive saloon market. But the automotive world moves quickly, and what was good back then could be seriously off the pace now. That's not the case with the XE where the news is good if you're a keen driver.

Compared with the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the XE is a sleek, driver-focused offering that stands out from the crowd. It's smaller than those cars, and boasts an almost Coupe-like profile. And that's what's needed in a world that's rapidly eschewing saloons in favour of in-vogue SUVs.

Luckily for Jaguar, its range is littered with SUVs – the F-Pace, E-Pace and all-electric I-Pace are doing good business – but the XE and larger brother XF soldier on, selling far fewer than its maker had hoped. But does that mean you shouldn't look at the XE when choosing your next car? Of course not, and there are still plenty of people out there who want to make an individual statement by not buying a saloon from the Big Three.

Read the Jaguar XE verdict

What's it like inside?

Jaguar has worked hard here, and it needed to. The original XE’s cabin was admirably contemporary in its design – borderline minimalist, in fact, but in a way that made it look ordinary. There were also too many hard, scratchy plastics to be found, and some of the minor controls weren't up to executive car standards.

All that has changed with the 2019 facelift. There's been a general lifting of the quality of materials used in the interior, and general levels of fit and finish. There’s leather, slivers of high grade trim and contemporary Jaguar switchgear. The interior door pulls, glovebox lid and air vent controls, which are important touch points, feel reassuringly solid and pleasant to touch.

The upgraded multimedia systems are a leap ahead of Jaguar’s previous efforts, especially the larger-screened InControl Touch Pro Duo package, which is now offered with three TFT screens, including fully-digital driver's instrumentation (on the top models). Finally, the addition of the I-Pace's steering wheel is a small, but significant improvement.

Some shortcomings do remain, however – the XE is less practical than even a modestly-sized hatchback, making it a poor choice for families or those who like to carry lots of luggage. It also lacks any form of tax-busting hybrid or electric model, unlike its main rivals. Despite this, there’s still a market for the sporting saloon car – and we think the facelifted XE is well worth among the left-field choices such as the Volvo S60 or Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Read more on the Jaguar XE interior

What's it like to drive?

As it's billed as the driver's choice in this market sector, the signs look good. For a start, it's light. Helping reduce the XE’s weight 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.

This efficiency is realised on the road with the XE easily equalling the benchmark BMW 3 Series in terms of its dynamic ability. With responsive steering and great body control, the XE is a very satisfying car to drive, equal parts sporting and comfortable, and all the better for it.

There's also the Project 8 version, which is a 600hp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 version, making it the most powerful road legal Jaguar in history. However, with numbers limited to 300 in total, it's more of a footnote in the Jaguar XE story. You can read more about this hand-assembled monster in its own review.

Read more on how the Jaguar XE drives

What models and trims are available?

The model range looks like this: you get a choice of the standard XE and R-Dynamic body variations (different bumpers are the main visual differentiator), and each of those comes in S, SE and HSE flavours. Although that sounds complex, it largely mirrors what its main rivals are doing with M-Sport, S Line and AMG Line options.

The XE boasts a decent range of standard equipment, including, sat-nav, cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, Wi-Fi hotspot and a connected InControl Touch Duo media system first seen in the Range Rover Velar, and now making its way through the rest of the Jaguar Land Rover range. The XE model range is sporty-looking, with large wheels all round, and no obviously entry-level-looking model.

Petrol models are all 2.0-litres and come in 250hp and 300hp forms, while there's one diesel now, which is the D180 (rear- and four-wheel drive available), which averages 57.6mpg on the WLTP real-world fuel consumption test. It was the first diesel car in its class to meet the EU’s RDE2 NOx emissions standard due in January 2021, which means BIK doesn't attract the 4% surcharge older diesels do.

What else should I know?

Jaguar's boss Thierry Bolloré confirmed that the model range would be completely replaced by an all-electric line-up by 2025. That means this XE will be the last of its line, and could well end up being the last small saloon that Jaguar builds.

As that cut-off date approaches, expect some very juicy deals – perfect if you're looking for a compact, sporting and traditional executive saloon for a decent price.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Jaguar XE including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Jaguar XE rivals