Inside the 2015 Jaguar XE

We've taken a look around the 2015 Jaguar XE, and consider how the interior compares to its main rivals...

Inside the 2015 Jaguar XE

The Jaguar XE is slightly longer and wider than a BMW 3 Series, but a fraction lower. In fact, if you consider all the exterior measurements we have so far, the Jaguar XE sits comfortably within the extremes of the German built opposition (see below).

Jaguar says it has worked hard to maximise interior space and quality in the XE, knowing that customers in the class often have only one car and expect it to be able to carry the whole family just as often as it takes a single person on a business trip.

However, although Jaguar has not yet released exact interior measurements, it does admit that it hasn’t chased best-in-class figures, instead preferring to aim to be among the class best as well as offering what they consider a more evocative design.

On board, anyone familiar with the layout from the Jaguar XF and Jaguar XJ will be immediately at home. The driving position is familiar, as is the styling and switchgear, from the rising automatic gearlever dial through to the steering wheel.

Although the digital display and infotainment functions are described as all-new, when the system isn’t fired up the look is no great departure from what’s gone before. We’ve yet to try the system itself, but the screen is surrounded by familiar buttons.

Elsewhere on the dash and around the gearlever there are more buttons, which may surprise anyone familiar with the German manufacturers’ (and Volvo’s) push to reduce the complexity of their vehicles’ layouts. Storage space, meanwhile, is typically good for the class.

Although we weren’t allowed a tape measure to check, our experience suggests that legroom up front and in the back is decent in comparison to rivals - although the rear space owes much to the heavily sculpted backs of the front seats that cleverly give extra kneeroom.

Headroom in the back is also aided by a heavily sculpted roof lining, but the result is considerably more accommodating than the plunging roofline might suggest when you are outside the car.

Boot space is decent, at 455 litres. It looks decent enough, but is 25 litres less than offered by the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.

However, the rear seats can be split 40/20/40 to allow for maximum versatility, and there is the option of a powered tailgate - something Jaguar says no rival in the class offers.

Our chance to sit in the XE came when we were inside a dark factory, with little natural light. Combined with the dark trim of the car, this lent the cabin an enclosed feeling - although the suspicion must be that the panoramic roof combined with daylight would do much to lift this.

Overall, on this first, brief, evidence the interior of the Jaguar XE has what it takes to stand up to scrutiny against the slightly bland but functional BMW 3 Series and ageing Audi A4, a result that will please Jaguar given it has targeted class leadership in other areas, including the way the XE rides and handles, runnings cost, residual values and design.

However, the new Mercedes C-Class is the car that sets the class standard for interior quality, comfort and technology - and we suspect it will retain that crown even after the XE is launched. We hope to test the car early in 2015 to find out for sure.

Jaguar XE length - 4686mm
(Audi A4 4701mm, BMW 3 Series 4624mm and Mercedes C-Class 4686mm)

Jaguar XE width including mirrors - 2075mm
(Audi 2040mm, BMW 2031mm, Mercedes 2020mm)

Jaguar XE height - 1416mm
(Audi 1427mm, BMW 1429mm, Mercedes 1442mm)

Jaguar XE wheelbase - 2835mm
(Audi 2808mm, BMW 2810mm, Mercedes 2840mm)

Jaguar XE boot space - 455 litres
(Audi, BMW and Mercedes all 480 litres).