Jaguar XE (2015-present)

Jag's rival to the ubiquitous German premium saloons is packed full of character and offers an entertaining drive, but it isn't perfect

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Higher spec versions turn heads
Feels like a premium proposition
Drive is sporty yet comfortable

Weaknesses 

Relatively small boot
Sleek styling makes rear feel cramped
Engine range is limited compared to rivals
Best New Discount

Jaguar XE Diesel Saloon 2.0d [180] portfolio 4dr auto awd

Total RRP £37,735

Your quote £32,114

You Save £5,621

When Jaguar and Land Rover were sold to Tata Motors by Ford, new investment was pumped in to extensively overhaul their line-ups. And Jaguar chose to spend a good chunk of time perfecting its mid-sized premium saloon, in order to truly compete with the likes of Audi's A4, the Mercedes C-Class and BMW's revered 3-Series.

This patience has paid off, as the XE is not only a true contender to those aforementioned Germanic giants, it is arguably more characterful, more entertaining to drive and delivers more bang for your buck in terms of standard equipment and features.

Prices start at £33,565 for SE models and rise to £45,640 for the range-topping XE 300 Sport.

Underpinning all of this is Jaguar's aluminium chassis, which has been designed from the ground up to reduce overall weight and offer the driver a more engaging experience behind the wheel.

This ensures that the Jaguar feels light and agile on demanding roads, while the more potent petrol engines make for an entertaining journey. It rarely feels harsh and uncomfortable when it settles into its role as a comfortable cruiser, even when some of the more enormous alloy wheel options are fitted.

Jaguar has also seen fit to overhaul its engine offering and the XE is now powered by its four-cylinder petrol and diesel Ingenium range. These efficient and quiet engines all boast a capacity of 2.0-litres but develop between 163hp and 300hp, depending on the variant. Unfortunately, the fantastic 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that is found in the scintillating XE S models will be phased out in 2019.

All of the engines are quiet and smooth, while the six speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions are both excellent options.

There is also the choice of rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive technology, which should offer peace of mind to those not keen on the power being sent to the rear wheels during adverse weather conditions.

And despite being one of the entry-level models in the Jaguar range, the XE is a showcase of the British marque's latest technologies, with a new TouchPro 10-inch touchscreen display coming as standard across the range.

This system allows users to connect a smartphone and make use of Jaguar's InControl Apps to locate a nearby parking spot, book a hotel and keep up with the latest weather announcements.

Customers can also bin analogue instrument binnacles in favour of an optional 12.3-inch TFT display, which doubles-up as a digital instrument cluster and interactive screen for displaying sat nav instructions and much more.

Although flashy on the surface, the tech falls behind the systems offered by Audi and BMW in terms of user friendliness.

Space in the rear seats feel cramped thanks to a swooping roofline and boot volume falling shy of its closest rivals.

Plus, if you look hard enough and some of the interior plastics also start to feel a little cheap, while the touch screen infotainment system can be slow to respond to inputs.

Last Updated 

Friday, June 8, 2018 - 13:30

Key facts 

Warranty : 
3-years / Unlimited miles
Boot size: 
455 litres
Width: 
2,075mm
Length: 
4,672mm
Height: 
1,416mm
Tax : 
Tax: From £165 to £830 in the first year and £140 thereafter

Best Jaguar XE for... 

Jaguar XE SE 2.0 diesel 163PS RWD Manual
This entry-level model is not only the cheapest to buy outright, it is also one of the cheapest to run, returning over 55mpg on the combined cycle. Best for families: Jaguar XE Portfolio 2.0 diesel 180PS AWD Auto A mid-ranged diesel engine blends power and performance, while all-wheel-drive offers assurance in tricky driving conditions. This Portfolio trim also includes plenty of interior niceties, including leather seats.
Jaguar XE 300 Sport 2.0 petrol 300PS AWD Auto
With 300hp and a 0-60mph sprint time of just 5.4 seconds, this is currently the most potent models of the 'standard' XE range. The 300 Sport trim level also adds 19-inch alloys and bespoke racing touches inside and out.

Jaguar XE History 

  • 2015 The Jaguar XE is launched. It instantly proves a hit with the motoring press, winning the Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year for three years running in 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • 2018 Jaguar adds an extensive advanced safety system, gesture controlled boot and a raft of technological updates 
  • 2019 Jaguar adds two special editions to the range (Sport and Landmark Edition) but phases out the potent 3.0-litre V6 engine found in previous S-badged models

Understanding Jaguar XE car names 

  • XE
  • Engine
    2.0-litre petrol
  • Trim
    SE
  • Gearbox
    Six speed
  • Engine
    There are three petrol and three diesel engines on offer, all of which are from the same 2.0-litre Ingenium family.
  • Trim
    There are four core trim levels offered: SE, Prestige, Portfolio and R-Sport, each with increasing levels of luxury and exterior niceties. Land Mark Edition and 300 Sport add further bespoke elements and command a higher price.
  • Gearbox
    6-speed shows that the car has six gears. Customers can choose between a standard manual transmission and an eight-speed ZF automatic box.

Jaguar XE Engines 

163PS, 180PS and 240PS diesel and 200PS, 250PS and 300PS petrol

There is not a great deal separating the lower-powered diesel engines, with only minor discrepancies between performance, emissions and fuel economy figures.

However, the 180PS (178bhp) unit feels better suited to this type of car, thanks to the slight increase in power and torque, and it doesn't feel like it has to work so hard to usher the vehicle along the road.

Push the 163PS diesel hard, which you will have to do to get the most out of it, and it starts to sound harsh and coarse. This mid-range diesel engine is also available with all-wheel-drive when picked with an automatic gearbox, while entry level receives rear-wheel-drive only.

Praise should be heaped on the eight-speed automatic transmission at this point because it is very good. It rarely gets muddled and seems to shift smoothly under normal driving conditions.

Flick it into 'manual' mode and pull on the race-inspired paddles situated behind the steering wheel and it offers fast gear swaps that suit a blast along a favoured back road.

The most powerful diesel engine (240PS) is only available with all-wheel-drive and features twin-turbocharging technology to deliver a mightily impressive 500Nm of torque. If you're thinking of towing caravans and loaded trailers, this will most certainly be the engine to plump for.

Again, the lower powered 200PS petrol engine feels like it doesn't quite have the grunt to hustle this low-slung executive saloon along the road, with the 250PS and 300PS versions being the engines to go for if you're looking for a more suitable driver's machine.

Unfortunately, Jaguar has seen fit to phase out its fantastic V6 offering, which pinched an engine from the F-Type and offered a proper alternative to the six-cylinder Autobahn-stormers from Germany.

Instead, customers will have to go the whole hog and stump up for the 592bhp XE SV Project 8 or hope that Jaguar sees fit to replace the XE S with something suitably entertaining.

Jaguar XE Trims 

SE, Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport, Landmark Edition, 300 Sport

The Jaguar XE has become more generously specified as the years have past, with plenty of additional kit added as standard since its original 2015 launch date.

Now, even if you opt for the entry level SE models, you'll receive the 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calls, DAB radio and the ability to access smartphone apps via Jaguar's InControl App.

Navigation is also thrown into the package, while occupants will find a USB input for iPod integration or device charging.

Granted, the seats will be covered in a 'premium' fabric, as opposed to the luxurious hides in more expensive models, but the interior still feels like a sumptuous place to sit, with plenty of chrome effect surfaces and a solid-feeling dashboard in place. There's also a rear parking aid to make life a little easier at the supermarket, and cruise control with intelligent speed limiter.

Unfortunately the exterior does lack those additional touches that really set off the dramatic styling of the XE, with the smaller 17-inch tyres showing just a tad too much rubber and the standard grille not quite living up to the menacing road presence of the one found on R-Sport versions.

Step up Prestige and you'll be treated to full-grained leather seats, an armrest at the rear with twin cup holders, ambient lighting and heated front seats.

The previously mentioned R-Sport goes heavy on the exterior niceties, with a bespoke body kit that lends it a more aggressive presence, 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels and a special R-Sport branded leather steering wheel. Sports suspension also comes as standard in rear wheel drive models, which firms up the ride and gives a more dynamic driving experience.

Portfolio is arguably the pinnacle of the range and comes fitted with a premium sound system from Meridian, chrome radiator grille, 18-inch alloy wheels and grained Windsor leather seats inside.

That said, there are still plenty of expensive options that can easily be ticked when perusing a brochure in the showroom.

These include a head-up display (£1,350), an advance parking assist pack with surround camera (£1,160) and the most powerful Navigation Pro with 825W Meridian Surround System (£2,020).

There is also a clever Dual View touchscreen display that can be optioned, which allows the passenger to see a different screen to the driver when on the move, theoretically allowing occupants to enjoy visual media without distracting others.

Naturally, Jaguar also tempts buyers with an enormous alloy wheel range, privacy glass, metallic paints, panoramic roofs and carbon fibre veneers that all start to add up.

The test car we drove for a week featured over £10,000 worth of optional extras, which is why some of the special edition models could be tempting.

A Landmark Edition, for example, gathers a collection of premium and sporty additions, bundling them into a fixed cost, while the 300 Sport goes heavy on the racing touches, such as bespoke sports seats, painted brake calipers and 300 Sport stitching throughout the interior.

Jaguar XE Reliability and warranty 

Jaguar has drastically improved its reliability ratings over previous years, although it has recently slipped down the Auto Express Driver Power Survey.

Finishing near the top in 2015, it dropped to 12th in 2017, behind BMW. It beat Audi and Mercedes, though. Plus, the XE finished 25th out of the top 75 key new cars.

The three-year/unlimited mileage warranty will also provide additional peace of mind to those business users thinking of piling on the miles in the first few years of ownership.

Plus, there is the option of fixed price service plans, which could be worth looking into, as Jaguar repairs and servicing fees definitely aren't cheap.

However, Jaguar owners typically praise the service they receive from the dealer network.

Used Jaguar XE 

The Jaguar XE has proved a popular vehicle for business users and those that benefit from a company car scheme and as a result, the used car market is buoyant with excellent, nearly new models.

A 2016 XE Prestige 163PS diesel model with less than 20,000 miles on the clock can be picked up for as little as £18,500, which represents an enormous saving over the £32,505 new prices.

We also found an excellent 2016 3.0-litre V6 'S' model with less than 5,000 miles on the clock for just over £30,000, which is less than a brand new entry-level SE diesel.

In our opinion, the XE S is one of the most fun 'hot' saloons that money can buy at the moment and with such tempting used prices, it would be rude not to.