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Best cars & vans

Jaguar XE - best executive cars

A facelift in 2019 keeps the Jaguar XE a highly competitive car in its segment with brilliant handling and a smart interior

2023 Jaguar XE - front tracking

The Jaguar XE was our Compact Executive Car of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2017 - no mean feat considering its rivals included the Alfa Romeo Guilia, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4

It won thanks to its class-leading handling, but now Jaguar has given the XE a refresh for 2019 to ensure it stays competitive against the new BMW 3 Series

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On the outside there’s a more aggressive front and rear end, while the headlights have had a small re-style. The interior benefits from a new steering wheel and high-quality materials, but it’s still slightly below its German rivals in terms of fit and finish. 

The refresh of the XE’s infotainment is a welcome addition. Jaguar’s Touch Pro Duo system (lifted from the I-Pace) is a £400 option and it gives you a 10.2-inch touchscreen and second touchscreen situated slightly lower on the centre console. This set-up feels nice to use with a mix of rotary dials and touchscreen useability, plus there’s now Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as standard. 

The biggest selling point of the Jaguar XE is the way it drives. The engines aren’t quite the best in class but the 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel goes from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds while offering decent fuel economy - and, in R-Dynamic S trim, it’s our pick of the range. There are more powerful petrol options with 247bhp and 296bhp, with the former getting rear-wheel and the more powerful motor getting four-wheel drive. The rear-wheel drive set up works best as it highlights the suppleness of the chassis and the overall sense of balance. 

An eight-speed automatic is the only gearbox option so if you’re dead-set on a manual, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The ZF ‘box is an excellent unit though, snappy when you’re using the paddles and effortlessly smooth when in full auto.

Best executive cars to buy 2019

  1. BMW 3 Series
  2. BMW 5 Series
  3. Mercedes C-Class
  4. Alfa Romeo Guilia
  5. Volvo S90
  6. Mercedes E-Class
  7. Jaguar XE
  8. Audi A6
  9. Jaguar XF
  10. Tesla Model 3
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