Used Jaguar XE long-term test review

We've always admired the compact executive Jaguar XE, but how does it stack up as a used buy? We've got four months to find out if this is the cat that got the cream or a potential sourpuss...

Used Jaguar XE long-term test

The car 2017 Jaguar XE 2.0 240 R-Sport

Run by Mark Pearson, used cars deputy editor

Why it’s here To find out if buying a one-year-old compact executive Jag makes good sense, and to see if it’s a viable alternative to a new car with a less premium badge for the same money

Needs to Cope with a variety of uses, including daily commuting, motorway journeys, school runs and family life, as well as sprinkling a little Jaguar magic on the everyday, and proving itself against its executive rivals

Price when new £40,125 Price when new with all options £57,000 Price new now £41,930 Value on arrival £32,000 Miles on arrival 9950 Miles at end of test 12,995  Selected options Road Technology Pack (£2720), Pro Navigation Pack with 825W Meridian sound system (£2545), Advanced Parking Assist Pack with surround camera (£1610), black 19in wheels (£1255), Power Convenience Pack (£1125), 14-way electric front seats (£1050), adaptive dynamics (£840), climate front seats/heated rear seats (£804), 10.0in dual-view touchscreen (£625), Lane Keep Assist/driver condition monitor (£480), Cold Climate Pack (£455) Dealer price now £26,000 Private price now £22,400 Trade-in price £22,300 Official economy 47.9mpg Test economy 38.6mpg Total running costs £455 Insurance group 32E

22nd January – Exit, stage left

So the time has come to bid farewell to our XE, and it’s fair to say that whichever Jaguar model we’ve run here at What Car? as a long-termer it’s always been sad to say goodbye. 

That’s because Jaguar knows how to put on a good show. Even if there’s sometimes been the vague suspicion that its products may be less than well screwed together, or not quite as suave as one or two of its rivals under the skin, on the surface they’ve nearly always looked fantastic. The XE is no exception, but any doubts about the oily bits underneath can soon be dismissed – it’s always gone as good as it looks. 

Jaguar XE

You can imagine then with what glee I took delivery of our long-term car four months ago then, my mood made all the merrier by our 2.0 240 R-Sport model being one of the top versions, with a powerful diesel engine under the bonnet and a lavishly equipped interior complete with so many desirable options it actually added an extra £17,000 to the cost of the car when it was new. This extra theatricality meant our Jag would have cost the first owner around £57,000, which is a lot for an XE. However, our one-year-old version was probably worth around £32,000, which sounds more reasonable, while its current dealer price of around £26,000 is even better still.

To be honest, there were so many goodies on this car it would take me at least a dozen pages to list them all, but in my tenure I probably made most use of the comfortable 14-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, the adaptive dynamics that let you choose between a softer, more comfort-orientated ride or a sportier one, and the excellent Meridian 825w sound system. Certainly my passengers enjoyed the lavishly leathered and opulent interior, especially the heated rear seats, and I was also thankful for the heated steering wheel on cold mornings.

It was also good to drive, with plenty of oomph, and its steering and handling were both responsive enough to satisfy a keen driver. Its economy improved, too, having been initially handicapped by my nine-mile urban commute - I think its overall figure of 38.6mpg more than reasonable for the uses we put it to, and I was impressed by the near-50mpg economy on longer motorway journeys.

Jaguar XE

Perhaps more importantly, in my time with the car nothing went wrong or fell off or stopped working, despite the super-abundance of electrical kit, and by the time it left it still felt as solid and looked as good as a new car. Of course at this point I ought to mention the XE’s poor showing in our most recent reliability survey, where it finished one from bottom in the executive car class. We struck lucky with ours, it seems, although it’s interesting to note that Jaguars have a habit of either finishing near the top or at the bottom of similar reliability and customer satisfaction surveys.

And it wasn’t just reliable: it exuded charm. It took motorways in its stride, cheered up commutes and made humdrum journeys seem more exciting, just as a good Jag should. Indeed the only real criticisms I had of the car were an occasional hesitation in the gearbox when summoning power and the surprisingly cramped rear seat leg room, which put paid to anyone long of leg sitting behind a six-footer.

Jaguar XE

So, as good as it looks? Well, yes, if you can put up with those faults, the XE strikes me as a good used buy. I wouldn’t go for this top-spec all-wheel-drive R-Sport version, though; I’d choose the lesser diesel, the 2.0 180 version, in rear-wheel drive form, which would be cheaper to run and in some respects more refined. More simply equipped and more modestly priced, and without the threat of heavy depreciation, the XE would then deserve to be centre-stage, where any good Jag belongs.

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