What is it?
It’s a Jaguar, one of the most iconic nameplates on the road, but one with something of a chequered history over the past couple of decades.
A brief period of Ford ownership did the brand no favours. Mondeo-based, front-wheel-drives or estate cars did nothing for what should be an aspirational marque.
Under the ownership of the Indian company Tata, Jaguar has been allowed to claw back its traditional ranking as a luxury, sporty brand – although some purists might argue it still spreads itself too thin with SUVs etc.
You have to go with the market, though. Getting back to the XE saloon, it has received plenty of praise since launch in 2015 although it still struggles to attract the number of buyers as its chief rival, the BMW 3-series.
The XE is no longer walnut bedecked like Jags of old, but it does feel very upmarket inside. On the outside there is a sharp, fresh look.
The engine and trim range has been simplified. A disappointment for the sportier enthusiast there is no longer a V6 engine option. All versions are 2-litre, four-cylinder units – a 178hp diesel and two petrol, either 247hp or 296hp. All of them use an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The range offers both rear- and all-wheel-drive and there is no estate version.
What we think
On the road, the XE doesn’t disappoint. It’s much smaller footprint than the XF makes it great to drive and dynamically very good. Jaguar has a knack of balancing the fine line between ride and handling.
This is area where Jaguar has the beating of its German rivals and the steering gives real great feel for the road. The 2-litre diesel we tried did not feel as though it was carrying any extra weight up front and the automatic transmission is a joy.
While there’s no real need, there are steering wheel mounted paddles to allow a measure of manual control and they do respond very sharply adding a touch of spice and fun to the drive.
With a diesel under the bonnet you can expect better fuel economy than the petrols but pleasingly there is no harsh engine noise and it will cruise almost silently until you put the hammer down.
This really is a fab car for the motorway cruise but neither will it disappoint on the country roads thanks to that dynamic handling.
One the inside you’ll find plush, upmarket materials and tons of tech. Going through the options list you can get up to four screens, one of which is embedded in the rear view mirror providing a wide-angle camera rear-view. Lower on the instrument panel, further screens take care navigation, phone link-up, climate control and other settings.
Seats are really comfortable the adjustments available will suit pretty well any shape or size of driver. No so much fun in the back where an old Jag failing of lack of head and leg room against its rivals is a bit of a point loser.
As already mentioned, there XE now has a simplified trim range, although there are a number of option packs. Opting for the full technology package will add just under £2K to your purchase price.
You can always add the options into your lease package which will be covered by Jaguar’s three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. The the company car drivers, the four cylinder engines keep the BiK rates down thanks to lower CO2 emissions.
XE D200 SE R-DYNAMIC RWD Auto
From: £32,810 On The Road
Price as Tested – £40,485
|Engine||D200 – 2.0 I4d MHEV 204PS AUTO RWD|
|Engine capacity – cc||1,997|
|Maximum power – PS/rpm||204 / 4,250|
|Maximum torque – Nm/rpm||430/1,750 – 2,500|
Low mpg (1/100km)
Medium mpg (1/100km)
High mpg (1/100km)
Extra High mpg (1/100km)
Combined mpg (1/100km)
46.5 – 43.3 (6.1 – 6.5)
57.6 – 52.3 (4.9 – 5.4)
69.0 – 60.7 (4.1 – 4.7)
56.9 – 50.2 (5.0 – 5.6)
58.5 – 52.3 (4.8 – 5.4)
|CO₂ Combined (g/km)||127 – 142|
|Acceleration 0-60 mph (secs) (0-100 km/h)||6.9 (7.3)|
|Maximum speed – mph (km/h)||146 (235)|