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Used Jaguar XE long-term test review

We love 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 review
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Mark Pearson
12 Oct 2018 10:01

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  Official economy 54.4mpg Emissions 137g/km CO2 0-62mph 6.1sec Top speed 155mph Power 237bhp Insurance group 32E

12th October - Welcome to the pleasuredome

A few years ago, I ran a Jaguar XF Sportbrake as a long-termer and it was such a popular car among my colleagues here at What Car? HQ that I rarely got to drive it. Although it was reasonably good on the road and quite a capacious loadlugger, I think a great deal of that popularity had to do with how it looked: it had that quality that all the best Jaguars have of being exquisitely proportioned and wonderfully pleasing to the eye, especially your neighbour’s.

I thought it very smart and good-looking, but when its smaller sibling the XE first appeared in 2015 I thought it so much more handsome that quite soon I didn’t really care if the BMW 3 Series drove better or the Audi A4 was more refined, this was the only compact executive car for me.

Now, and for the next four months, I do actually have an XE on my driveway, a 2017 car with 9000 miles on the clock. I picked ours up from Lookers in west London, where handover coordinator Anthony Cross showed me around the car. It took him quite some time to do it, too, as there’s a lot to show off in that well-equipped interior and this XE has rather a lot of extras, of which more later. Bought this way, it should be noted, our car also comes with Jaguar’s excellent used car warranty, which carried off top honours at our Used Car of the Year Awards, and which offers two years of cover as well as some very comprehensive breakdown plans.

Used Jaguar XE

 

As with all our used long-termers, our task will be to see not only how the Jag stands up to our varied long-term use, but also to see if buying one used makes more sense than buying a lesser car new. Well ours is certainly a humdinger. It has the most powerful of the three 2.0-litre diesel options, the twin-turbocharged 237bhp engine, and goes by the name 2.0 240 R-Sport. With this engine under the bonnet the Jag’s a real flyer: 0 to 62mph takes just 6.1 seconds and it’ll reach a top speed of 155mph.

Perhaps more importantly, there’s oodles of torque, and, matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it should in theory make for wonderfully stress-free motoring, with plenty of power always available for those situations where haste becomes a priority over everything but arrival. To help back up that power - and to make sure you do arrive safely - our car with this powerful engine option has all-wheel drive as standard, a clever system that drives the rear wheels most of the time but apportions power to the front wheels too as and when it feels imminent slippage and senses they need some help. Our car also gets a lowered and stiffer suspension as part of the R-Sport trim, and in Firenze Red and on 19in black alloy wheels it looks, well, arresting is definitely the word.

Used Jaguar XE

 

But there’s an elephant in the room with this car. You see the on-the-road price for a new 2.0 240 R-Sport XE is £40,125, which is up at the top end of the compact executive price spectrum and enough to buy you something from near the bottom of the larger executive or luxury (think XF, 5 Series and Merc E-Class) pile. Fair enough – plenty of good things come in small packages - but as I hinted at earlier somewhere along the way our XE was optioned with over £17,000 worth of extras, enough to push its initial purchase price up to an eye-watering £57,000. It could well be that whoever drove it first had the most expensive XE in the world, but the good news – or the bad news, if you are that first owner – is that, such are the ravages of first-year depreciation and the way the market values the worth of all those options, our Jag would actually only be worth around £32,000 now. So that’s an £8000 saving on the standard car, and considerably more than that on a similarly equipped one, and that’s definitely worth having.

So, what’s it like? Well the interior’s lovely, lavishly leathered and with an electrically adjustable driving position (our driver’s seat has the further option of 14-way adjustability) that lets you sit low like a racer and yet cossets like a luxury car. Those seats are supportive and comfortable, and they’re electrically heated, as are the rear seats – another one of those options. The dash features digital instruments and there’s a head-up display, and there’s a large 10.2in touchscreen with a dual-view feature (another option) that allows driver and front seat passenger to view different functions on the same screen. Those more interested in listening than viewing can seek solace in an 825W Meridian surround sound system with 17 speakers which is - yup, you guessed it - another option.

Used Jaguar XE

In fact to list all the options on our car would take an article at least as long as this one, so you’ll have to wait for future reports for a comprehensive review. Indeed with so much added tech you may wonder if the car can actually move at all, but suffice it to say that when you want it to this Jag really shifts. It’s in the driving that it’s always scored over its rivals, with its finely balanced steering and handling, and although it’s early days this one hasn’t disappointed yet. So, provided my colleagues don’t get overexcited and I can hang on to the keys this time, I’m looking forward to the next few months.  

More on our Jaguar XE here

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