2020 Jaguar XE long-term test review: report 5

Jaguar’s smallest saloon, the XE, has been updated for 2020. So, should you consider choosing it over its German rivals? We’ve added one to our long-term test fleet to find out...

LT Jaguar XE in heart-shaped picture frame

The car Jaguar XE 2.0 D180 SE R-Dynamic AWD auto Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here To see if Jaguar’s recently refreshed executive car impresses or frustrates when you live with it every day

Needs to Combine fun handling with relaxing cruising manners and a prestige feel with low running costs

Miles 5238 List price £39,475 Target Price £36,957 Price as tested £47,410 Official economy 46.4mpg Test economy 34.6mpg 

10 April 2020 – Rare treat

They say you don’t fully appreciate something until it’s gone, and whoever ‘they’ are, it turns out I should have listened. Yes, I’ve always enjoyed my daily drives in the XE, but I didn’t realise quite how much until I suddenly had to leave it parked up most of the time.

With the UK now on lockdown and the government telling us to limit ourselves to essential travel, I can only justify a single outing a week, to the nearest supermarket. Yet even this four-mile round trip – during which I never get above 30mph – reminds me of what I’m missing on the other six days.

The XE’s steering is beautifully weighted and wonderfully precise, qualities that are just as welcome when you’re manoeuvring at low speed as they are when tackling a favourite B-road. Meanwhile, the suspension strikes a great balance between comfort and control, taking the sting out of potholes without ever letting things become bouncy.

LT Jaguar XE parked at supermarket

It’s not all good news; I’ve mentioned before that the 2.0-litre diesel engine sounds gruff when cold, and after a week switched off it’s obviously pretty damn Baltic. What’s more, these short, occasional trips have taken their toll on my average fuel economy, bringing it down from the low 40s to the mid 30s, at least according to the trip computer.

Overall, though, it’s the quality of the driving experience that stands out. The XE may sell in tiny numbers compared with its German rivals, but if you’re looking for a saloon that can make even the most mundane journey enjoyable, it should definitely be on your shortlist.

Stay safe everyone, and I’ll see you out on the road on the other side of this nightmare.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more on our long-term Jaguar XE >>

See more long-term test cars >>

Also consider