Having reviewed quite a few of the Land Rover range over the last year, and being rather impressed with them all I was quite excited about the prospect of receiving an executive model from sister company Jaguar, who have for years been at the forefront of British built luxury and quality.
At first glance this Jaguar UK test car was plush looking, with certain elegance while the front end sculpture and headlights gave it a somewhat sleek and mysterious feel and indeed in the rear view mirror of other road users could look very menacing and intimidating, in a good way.
When the sun hit the “Black Cherry Premium” paint (a £1200 option) it reflected a deep, rich aurora and with the nineteen inch alloy wheels (£800 option), rear privacy glass and low roof line, this Jaguar XE certainly portrays an image of well thought out, high quality style.
Load space was pretty good considering the XE is a saloon, I was able to fit all of my camera equipment with ease and a week’s shopping and fold up buggy would be consumed with room for a few bottles of bubbly. The split/fold rear seats (£400 option) would be essential for those carrying golf clubs and came in handy on this test car during my time with it.
With restricted entry height, the XE boot is never going to fulfil the needs of busy family life and indeed this brings me inside the Jaguar and indeed the seating. The XE seating position is very low slung giving the appeal of a slightly sporty position with the huge comfort of the executive mile muncher that the XE really is.
Finished in “Brogue Leather” the inside of this test car would be a marmite choice for many however it kind of worked in a retro kind of way and would certainly appeal to those who think outside the box.
With heated seats and steering wheel the XE provided plenty of warmth in the midst of the winter storms during which I had the car. The seats were very comfortable with plenty of support and indeed the driving position I found was perfect. Getting into the car was a little awkward for me personally due to the very low roof line and it took me a few days to adapt so as not to bang my head getting in.
The rear seats do not provide much leg room however and indeed as a grown up family car this would render the XE a little cramp and impractical, however as a mile muncher for a business person with one passenger it is certainly ideal.
The cabin provides plenty of quality and is well put together as expected from Jaguar and with a tilt/slide panoramic roof (£1000 option) is airy and spacious. All of the controls within the cabin are easily within reach.
Infotainment on the XE is in abundance and the highlight feature for me was the 360 degree “birds eye” view of the car which was visible via the eight inch touch screen and indeed was provided via camera’s dotted around the outside of the car (£1450 option) that allowed you to see the front, rear and both sides and proved invaluable to me when parking.
The infotainment is borrowed from the Land Rover range and this is no bad thing as it comes with DAB Radio, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, USB & Aux input and reverse camera. All of this combined with a Meridian speaker system led for proper high quality music on my travels.
Engine wise this particular XE was equipped with a reasonably swift diesel engine combined to an eight speed automatic gearbox. The engine itself was a little noisy in my opinion however with 180bhp and 317lb/ft wafted along just fine and returned around 45mpg on the week that i had the vehicle over mixed driving.
With modern engines, emissions are all too important and as such effect the tax band that a car will fall into; this particular model costs just £30 per annum to tax. For such a big car, that goes pretty well, this is quite incredible and indeed is enhanced by offering varying driving modes which include eco, normal, dynamic and a rain/ice/snow modes.
These modes will adjust varying maps around the engine and gearbox to best optimise the driving style you have engaged, the Jaguar XE is also available in all wheel drive which I would love to test at some point with a not so economical petrol lump up front.
Driving the XE was an experience that I definitely will remember, due to light aluminium panelling the XE is weighted perfectly and the chassis is just something else when it comes to a decent B Road. For such a large car it drove as if it were on rails and I must say it did put a smile on my face. The gearbox was accurate also, even when in a hurry in dynamic mode it coped great.
Pricing starts at around £35,000 on the road while the test model with its plethora of options comes in at just shy of £46,000 on the road. Overall the Jaguar XE didn’t disappoint, it provided everything one would expect from the brand and drove fantastically, the only thing I would personally opt for would be the supercharged 3.0 V6 petrol engine equipped with the automatic transmission.
Words & Photos: Graham Curry