Jaguar XE saloon review
“The Jaguar XE is a stylish and affordable small executive car that's one of the best in its class”
- Low running costs
- Comfortable ride
- Smart interior
- Small engine range
- Limited rear passenger space
- Smaller boot than rivals
The Jaguar XE represents the British-founded, Indian-owned brand’s second attempt at a compact executive car. Since it launched, it has faced a monumental struggle against the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, but a major refresh for 2019 has given the XE more tools than ever to take them on.
The three German brands were first forced to take notice the very day the Jaguar XE was unveiled. Sharing many of its design cues with the popular Jaguar XF, it was quickly apparent the XE would be a strong performer in all key areas. It’s a compact luxury car that’s good enough to tempt customers away from popular German brands without involving any compromises. Other rivals for the XE include the Volkswagen Arteon, Lexus IS and Alfa Romeo Giulia. Its 2019 redesign gave it more assertive looks, with new LED lights and bodywork that seemed to make the XE appear wider and more stylish.
The XE shouldn’t cost too much to run, thanks to a 2.0-litre D180 diesel engine that can return up to 50.7mpg and has low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) for the company-car drivers who make up a large proportion of XE owners. The D180 can also be fitted with four-wheel drive, but this sees running costs increase substantially.
The petrol lineup kicks off with the P250, which has 247bhp and gets from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. It can’t match its diesel equivalent for economy, but returns up to 36.2mpg.
There’s also a P300 version of the 2.0-litre petrol with 296bhp and four-wheel drive, which gets from 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds. Like every facelifted Jaguar XE it comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
The XE’s interior is full of character, with design flourishes to help it stand out against rivals. For the facelift, there's been a real attention to quality too, with more upmarket materials used than before. You can also replace the traditional instrument panel with a configurable 12.3-inch screen as part of the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system that comes as standard in SE trims and above. It’s shared with the electric Jaguar I-Pace and includes a lower screen for the climate controls.
Standard equipment impresses, too, with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and dual-zone climate control all featuring. There are plenty of convenience features, including automatic lights and wipers, cruise control and advanced parking aids.
While interior comfort is a strong suit, the XE’s isn’t especially generous on space in the rear, with tight leg and headroom for adults. And while it’s hardly mean, the 455-litre boot also falls behind the 480 litres you get in its main rivals.
In independent Euro NCAP crash-testing, the XE earned a five-star rating, with impressive results in each category. Its strong performance was helped by autonomous emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition and lane-keeping assistance technology.
It might be up against some of the world’s toughest rivals, but the Jaguar XE still shines as an impressive all-rounder with plenty of desirable features, particularly after its mid-life facelift. It’s cheaper than many of its rivals, offers reasonable running costs with most engines and is likely to hold its value well.