Driving

Jaguar XE review

Manufacturer price from:£31,505
What Car? Target Price:£28,970
Search new deals
Jaguar XE
Review continues below...
10 Dec 2015 10:46 | Last updated: 12 Nov 2018 15:29

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Jaguar XE saloon performance

The diesel XE range kicks off with a 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel that provides acceptable, albeit rather lacklustre, performance. It has fairly long gearing that blunts its performance, so overtaking requires you to think well ahead. That said, it will still sit at low revs without labouring and is decently responsive beyond 2000rpm.

The 178bhp version is more like it, pulling more eagerly from low revs to feel usefully quicker, if not as quick as the BMW 320d or Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190. Still, it’s our pick of the XE engines. Four-wheel drive is available with it, but since the rear-wheel-drive car is cheaper and more efficient, we wouldn’t bother.

It’s a bit pricey, but if you need more pep, there’s an even higher-powered engine. This has the same 2.0-litre capacity but power has been boosted to 237bhp. With its mid-range welly plus four-wheel drive as standard, it whips you from 0-62mph in a brisk 6.1sec.

Watch the next video

As for petrols, the entry-level 2.0-litre 197bhp unit performs well and is worth a look if you’re a private buyer who doesn’t do a high mileage. That engine is also available with 247bhp or 296bhp.

While we're yet to drive the 247bhp version, it's usefully quicker than the 197bhp engine on paper. At the top of the range is the 296bhp, which offers commute-slaying pace that will easily see off all the other XEs in a drag race. However, other range-topping petrol rivals, such as the BMW 340i, are quicker.

It's also worth being aware that these petrols are likely to shed value quicker than the more popular diesels.

Jaguar XE saloon ride

Avoid the R-Sport, Landmark and 300 Sport versions – which come on lower, stiffer suspension than cheaper models – and the XE is a really comfortable car. The ride is firm but supple enough to take the sting out of potholes in town and wonderfully settled on the motorway.

You can add optional adaptive shock absorbers, but the standard suspension is so good that we’d recommend you save your money. This is a bonus over the BMW 3 Series, which needs its optional adaptive suspension to deliver the best blend of ride and handling.

Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE saloon handling

Look no further if you’re after a sporty executive car. The XE handles superbly, darting into bends and staying flat and composed through all manner of twists and turns.

It also grips well, and the steering on rear-wheel-drive versions is sharp and precise. On four-wheel-drive XEs, it doesn't respond or weight up quite as consistently, but it’s still very good.

While the lowered R-Sport models have the sharpest handling, it isn’t worth the compromise this brings in ride comfort over the fluid-feeling standard XE versions, so we'd avoid this trim.

Likewise, the standard suspension is good enough that you don’t need to bother with the optional adaptive shock absorbers.

Jaguar XE saloon refinement

The 161bhp diesel engine is smooth enough, and although the 178bhp and 237bhp versions sound a bit more guttural when revved, they’re no more vocal than the equivalent engines in the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Mind you, nothing in the class is as smooth and creamy as Audi’s 2.0 TDI 190 or 3.0 TDI 218 diesel in the A4. And the XE’s stop/start system is terrible, with a pronounced twang as the engine rumbles back into life.

The higher-powered 2.0-litre petrol engines rev willingly and smoothly, and any engine noise drops to a background murmur once you’re up to cruising speed.

Avoid the biggest wheels and road noise isn’t much of an issue, while wind noise is perfectly acceptable, even at higher speeds.

The six-speed manual gearbox isn't the slickest, so, despite the purchase price and company car tax savings it brings, we’d still rather have the eight-speed automatic. True, this is a bit slow both off the line and when shifting gears, but it’s smooth in all but hard use and makes the XE more relaxing to drive for high-mileage drivers or anyone who spends lots of time in stop-start traffic.

open the gallery269 Images
There are 7 trims available for the XE saloon. Click to see details.See all versions
SV Project 8
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£149,995
View Trim
SE
Entry-level SE trim gets more than just the essentials. It comes with 17in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, an 8.0in touchscreen sat-nav system, rear parking sensors, cruise control, automa...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£28,970
Average Saving £2,535
View Trim
OUR PICK
Prestige
This is our favourite trim, because it combines a luxurious-feeling interior with a reasonable price. It comes with all the kit that the generously equipped SE version gets and adds heated leather...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£29,887
Average Saving £2,618
View Trim
R-Sport
Comes with all the comforts of Prestige trim, but adds 18in alloys, xenon headlights, a bodykit and sports seats. It also has lowered and stiffened suspension for even tighter body control, but thi...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£31,309
Average Saving £2,746
View Trim
Portfolio
Portfolio models come with lots of luxury equipment, including higher-quality leather upholstery than other XEs, full-electric seat adjustment and the superb Meridian sound system. They’re on the p...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£31,906
Average Saving £2,799
View Trim
Landmark Edition
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£33,821
Average Saving £2,944
View Trim
300 Sport
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£41,990
Average Saving £3,650
View Trim