Jaguar XE Review logo

Jaguar XE Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2015
      Body type
      Premium
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Jaguar's sporty German saloon alternative ”

Best bits

  • Fine looks, inside and out
  • Excellent standard equipment levels, even on the entry-level S model 
  • Tax-cheating turbodiesel  

Not so great

  • No plug-in hybrid or smooth 6-cylinder engines
  • Fiddly infotainment
  • Rear seat space isn’t generous

Read by

Jaguar XE side

Overall verdict

Jaguar XE front interior

On the inside

Jaguar XE backright exterior

Driving

Jaguar XE left exterior

How much does it cost to run

Jaguar XE frontleft exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Ubiquity in the premium class plays to the Jaguar XE’s favour, as people looking for a sporting, enjoyable to drive alternative to the 3 Series, A4 and C-Class are well served by Jaguar’s stylish XE. The marketplace might be dwindling overall, and Jaguar’s impact on overall sales in it very marginal indeed, but the XE is a good choice if you dare to be different, and enjoy your driving."

Jaguar XE side

The BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class might be the most obvious choices in the mid-sized executive saloon marketplace, but that trio aren’t the only contenders. Back in 2015 Jaguar added the XE, its take on a smart, sporty and posh saloon, giving buyers bored of the usual suspects in this class, something fresh and new to consider.


It’s arguably the only genuinely premium badged competitor now, with Lexus (in Europe, at least) having called time on the IS saloon, leaving the Jaguar as the last stand against the omnipresent German premium saloons. 


That’s a big ask, because not only is that traditional fleet-buyer’s volume heartland being diminished by customers shifting from traditional saloons to SUVs, but the XE’s now five years old (in 2020), and while a good facelift in 2019 brought new equipment and an enhanced engine range the XE trails its key rivals for breadth of choice. That’s particularly evident in the plug-in hybrid area, where the XE has no presence, nor is there a more practical estate version.      


Among its rivals the XE can also count a number of more mainstream brands with upmarket aspirations, cars like the VW Passat, Volvo S60, Mazda 6 and more besides all offering alternatives to it, while newcomers, Tesla, offers its all-electric Model 3, which is proving hugely disruptive, attracting the sort of global sales Jaguar can only dream of. 


The XE might be a small-part player in the market it competes in, then, but it remains a relevant one, which underlines how impressive a job Jaguar had done with it when it was first revealed. Its relative rarity counts for it, the Jaguar XE being a far more considered choice among the market norm, and one which also comes without some of the negative stereotypes associated with its rivals. Add in too that the XE is among the finest to drive in the class and it’s still an appealing car. 


That facelift in 2019 was successful, too, freshening up the XE’s looks, distancing it from its larger XF relation, giving it a sharper bolder look, particularly around the front, as well as adding more standard equipment and rationalising the engine line up. 


With the pre-facelifted XE Jaguar had some fun with it, adding the XE SV Project 8, a mad 300 unit limited run model which added a 600PS 5.0-litre V8, wild aero and some uncompromising track-focussed suspension to go out and set lap records, but it’s highly unlikely Jaguar will be repeating that stunt. 


The fastest XE is the P300, a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol model with, somewhat unsurprisingly, 300PS, though the most relevant XE, and the one you’ll buy with company money, is the D180. That entry-level diesel benefits from being RDE2 (Real Driving Emissions step 2) compliant, which saves not just the first year VED diesel supplement, but also 4% off the BIK (Benefit in Kind) taxation rate, which will appeal to the number-crunching fleet buyers out there. 


There’s more to the XE than the potential for sensible numbers though, as it’s an enjoyable, satisfying drive, that mixes engagement and comfort commendably, in a good-looking saloon car package.   


Is the Jaguar XE right for you?

Bored of BMWs, underwhelmed by Audis and Mercedes, then the XE might be just the thing. 


Seriously, though, with the choice in this marketplace so dominated by that trio, the Jaguar XE really is a welcome additional choice for those buyers who might have run countless German saloons and be wanting something, anything, a bit different, but still wearing an upmarket badge. 


The BMW 3 Series has always been hailed as the driver’s choice in this marketplace, but when the XE arrived that top spot was seriously challenged, the XE appealing on the road, and behind the wheel. That remains the case, even if the BMW 3 Series has been replaced in the time the XE has been around, the Jaguar remains a fine-driving choice against it, and its other two rivals.  

What’s the best Jaguar XE model/engine to choose?

Jaguar’s diesel engines once trailed its rivals, but time has seen the company develop them impressively, making the 180PS 2.0-litre turbodiesel a fine choice in the XE. It’ll return good economy and emissions, as well as decent performance, too. That’s the engine we’d pick, then, the transmission decision taken away from us, with only an eight-speed automatic available.There are rear- or four-wheel drive options, with rear-wheel drive getting better economy so that is the obvious choice, too.


As to trims, Jaguar offers the XE as XE S, and XE R-Dynamic, with XE S being a bit more restrained and dignified, and the R-Dynamic getting a more sporting look and feel, thanks to more overt styling and sports suspension. To that you can add S, SE and HSE trim levels, with all being comprehensively specified with things like 12-way electric seats, sat nav with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making that base S appealing, unless you can’t live without Keyless Entry, which comes as standard with the SE.  


What other cars are similar to the Jaguar XE?

We’ve covered that above, but it’s improbable that you’ll be looking at an XE without having the sporty BMW 3 Series, comfortable Audi A4 and luxurious Mercedes-Benz C-Class on your list, while there’s a good chance you might be considering a Volkswagen Passat or Volvo S60, too. 

Learn more

Jaguar XE front interior

On the inside

Jaguar XE backright exterior

Driving

Jaguar XE left exterior

How much does it cost to run

Jaguar XE frontleft exterior

Prices, versions and specification