Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Cabin envelops those in the front seats
  • Clean, simple design with few buttons
  • Pity it doesn’t feel as high quality as rivals

The basics of the Jaguar XE’s interior have always been fairly spot-on. There’s a wraparound feel to the cabin, with a high-set window line and dashboard making you feel cocooned, if at the expense of visibility. There’s a thick styling detail that envelops driver and passenger, continuing through the tops of the doors onto the dashboard and culminating in a Jaguar badge for a really cohesive look.

The gauges – analogue in most trims, digital as you move up the range – are handsome and easy to read, and the further you go up the trim levels the more sophisticated the driving environment becomes. Top-spec HSE cars get a fully digital dial pack, heads-up display and twin central displays.

It’s inside the Jaguar XE where the effects of the recent facelift are most keenly felt. Opting for the InControl Touch Pro Duo package brings a pair of touchscreens that control the car’s infotainment system, as well as the heating and settings. But mercifully, Jaguar’s retained physical controls for some heating and ventilation controls as well as a physical volume knob by the gear lever.

This setup really feels like the best of both worlds, although we found it could be quite difficult to press items on the lower screen accurately while on the move, especially as it’s partially blocked by the gear selector.

It’s also worth mentioning that only top-spec cars – or those optioned as such – get these twin screens. Doing without them sees the lower unit replaced by a rather cheap-looking climate control panel, with comically large yet somewhat unresponsive controls that have touch-sensitive 'buttons' as opposed to physical ones.

A simple control layout

Selecting desired ventilation settings and – where fitted – heated seats is easy to work on the move, while all other controls use a simple layout and avoid the clutter of myriad buttons and knobs that plague some other cars. The multi-function steering wheel fitted as standard to every XE is also straightforward to use with the cruise control functions fitted on one side and audio and driving information adjustments on the other.

The only downside is while the look and feel of the cabin is both robust and looks smart, the material used on the top of the dashboard is still a step behind in quality compared with its premium rivals; Audi and BMW still lead the way in this regard.

Comfort

  • Comfortable cabin but on the snug side
  • Ride comfort remains a Jaguar hallmark
  • Opt for the R-Dynamic HSE for lashings of leather

Jaguar is famed for creating cushy, supremely comfortable cars and the XE is focused on providing a smooth, comfortable ride. Up front the driver and passenger have sports-style seats that provide reasonable shoulder and thigh support even when cornering, while there is plenty of adjustment to ensure that most drivers can find a position to suit.

Higher specification models, such as the R-Dynamic trim, feature electrically powered adjustment plus full leather interior. Depending on your size, the sports seats aren’t the most supportive, with the flat seats not providing the greatest back support or grip around bends.

Less-than perfect comfort

As a result, we found that these weren’t the most comfortable for longer drives, with the flat seat base leaving one of our team with aches and pains after even a relatively short trip. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure you get an extended test drive before buying an XE to be certain it’s comfortable for you.

Rear seat passengers don’t fare well for space, as is typical of this class, a price to pay for that coupe-like styling. The ride is particularly impressive as it’s not only supple but it also manages to prevent minor pot holes and pock marked tarmac from being transmitted through to the cabin. It’s an impressive feat given some of the broken, lumpy roads found in Britain.

Four-wheel drive limitations

We found all-wheel drive versions less adept at dealing with bumps, however, as they failed to isolate passengers from the road surface as much as you’d hope on rougher tarmac. There’s also a little more road and tyre noise than you’d hope, which detracts from comfort on longer trips. It’s far from bad, but the Audi A4 is a quieter place to be at motorway speeds.