In-depth reviews

Jaguar XE review

The Jaguar XE is a small saloon that delivers a fine balance between performance, efficiency and luxury

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£32,815 to £153,730
  • Great to drive
  • Smart interior
  • Up-to-date infotainment
  • Slightly cramped rear seats
  • Smaller boot than rivals
  • Rivals offer better engines

Make a list of the pros and cons of the Jaguar XE and you'll find that it just about matches its rivals in every area – especially since its 2019 update. However, an objective assessment can’t get across just how good Jaguar’s junior executive saloon feels. It really is a brilliant all-rounder.

It looks great, is comfortable, fun to drive when the mood takes you and has a certain X-factor that the usual German rivals – BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 – fail to match. It's no wonder that we named it our Compact Executive Car of the Year for three years running in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

It’s not perfect – it can feel cramped in the back, for example – but overall the XE is a fine ownership prospect, with a range of good engines and a marked improvement in quality over its previous iteration.

The formula for the Jaguar XE is just right, and that means it's one of the best compact executive saloons for sale in the UK today. A comprehensive update for 2019 saw a useful jump forward in interior quality, on-board technology and a simplified engine and trim range – all of which have helped to keep the Jaguar competitive against its major rivals.

In this fiercely competitive class, the Jaguar XE takes on the German trio of the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series (the latter being our current Best Compact Executive at the 2019 New Car Awards), as well as some other alternative choices, including the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Lexus IS and Volvo S60.

The XE was an instant hit for Jaguar when it arrived in 2015, while an update in 2019 helped it to maintain its position near the front of the executive car field. While rivals offer estate, coupe and hatchback variants of their standard models, the XE comes in just one body style, a four-door saloon.

• Best executive cars to buy now

There are two basic models in the Jaguar XE range, S and R-Dynamic. However, there are specification packs available for both, with the former available as S, SE and HSE and the latter as R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE and R-Dynamic HSE. There are three engines available – two petrols and one diesel. All are four-cylinder units; the D180 diesel is available either as a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car, while the P250 and P300 petrols are rear- and four-wheel-drive, respectively.

Whichever model you choose, the XE delivers an engaging driving experience. It's not quite on a par with a BMW 3 Series, but it's very close, with fast, sharp steering and an agile feel. In addition, the XE is pretty comfortable for cruising. The suspension is designed to work with larger wheels, so the ride isn't too choppy if you pick larger rims, however the models with smaller wheels are positively luxurious.

Prices for the XE start at just over £34,000, while the highest-spec cars break the £40k barrier. The current flagship, the P300 R-Dynamic HSE, weighs in at nearly £47,000 and is the fastest model in the line-up if you discount the Project 8. That model gets a supercharged V8 packing 592bhp, plus bespoke bodywork and carbon fibre additions to produce a track-focused special.

For an alternative review of the latest Jaguar XE Saloon visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 S 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £32,815

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 S 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £32,815

Fastest

  • Name
    5.0 Supercharged V8 SV Project 8 Touring 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £153,730

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