Driven: Jaguar XE SE 2016 Review
After testing the new Jaguar XE SE for 6 days, here is what we make of this impressive executive saloon car.
What Is The Jaguar XE SE All About?
The Jaguar XE was famously launched back in 2015 by being helicopter-lifted over the streets of London, showing the car off in a unique and extreme way.
The XE is the entry-level Jaguar that is chasing the market sector currently owned by the Germans with the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. The XE is currently available in 5 trim levels in the UK; the SE, Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio, and S. The car we have on test is the base model SE.
The exterior design of the XE, even in SE spec, is appealing. But things get noticeably more attractive once you move up the trim levels with bigger wheels and sporty body kits. In SE trim the car looks very sophisticated and has the perfect look for a business saloon.
The XE that we had on test was powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine. This creates 163hp and 380Nm of torque. This power goes through a 6-speed manual gearbox. The car will get from 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds and will do a top speed of 132mph. The most outstanding statistic about this car is that Jaguar say it will do a combined economy figure of 75mpg, whilst only creating 99g/km of CO2. Not bad at all.
How Does It Drive?
Using the car’s keyless entry system, you can enter the car simply with the key in your pocket. The moment you get inside the XE you will notice that the driving position is very low, yet for someone 6-foot tall or more the headroom isn’t great. The good side to this is that it creates a kind of sporty cabin feel, making you feel all wrapped up inside. You can start the car with the touch of a button, leaving the key safely in your pocket.
Moving off in the car, the Jaguar provides a fantastic first driving impression. The Jaguar demonstrates an almost unbelievable smoothness to its ride quality. Perhaps in the SE’s case it’s helped by the large profile tyres sitting on the smaller wheels, but the car laps up the potholes in the road and irons out all the creases and divots, resulting in a smooth ride from the off.
Initially, the 163hp diesel engine felt slow to perform, but really it does have plenty of power, you just have to work the accelerator a little harder to make the most out of it. The 2.0-litre engine matched with the close ratio 6-speed gearbox works especially well moving the car along at great pace, but of course it does mean you are shifting gears frequently. Some will enjoy the connection with the driver experience where others will opt for the automatic option, so really everyone can be pleased.
The steering weight and feel in the car is at a nice balance; you get a good sense of what is going on underneath you, but it doesn’t feel like a chore to drive. In the corners the car feels fun to drive and the steering setup gives you great confidence. While driving on the motorway the car is pleasant and well-behaved taking little effort to maintain your lane position.
The economy of the car is incredible for the size of it. In fact, the car can’t be far off rivalling city cars for miles-per-gallon performance. On the motorway, cruising at 70mph, I have seen excess of 80mpg figures shown on the instant readout. Even with 6 days of testing and over 400 miles covered, I only got through 3/4 of a tank a diesel. The XE has proven itself to be a very efficient car which could be key to its success in the business end of the market, not to mention the low CO2 figures bringing the ownership cost of the car down even further.
The daily driving of the XE is made easier and more enjoyable by the technology that has been added onto the car. The car features JaguarDrive Control which allows you to adjust the driving characteristics of the car to suit you. For most of the testing I had the car in Dynamic mode making the car feel sportier and more enjoyable to drive. Other stand out features include Autonomous Emergency Braking, giving you peace of mind that if you fail to spot something in your way then the car, in the right conditions, can auto-brake and avoid the collision for you.
What Is It Like Inside?
Inside the Jaguar XE is less exciting than I expected but makes up for it with outstanding practicalities. The SE model has cloth seats which of course don’t look as premium as the more expensive trim levels, but do have a warm touch and long standing durability. The dashboard layout is simplified and easy on the eyes. At night, all the buttons and dials are lit with a unique light blue colour creating a stylish interior look.
The steering wheel and dial setup are not too dissimilar from what you would experience in other Jaguar models and are of course one of the big features that remind you that you are sitting in a Jaguar.
The XE’s entertainment system is very well designed. The unit has an 8-inch touch-screen and offers great functionality with good graphics. However, there were times where I did feel that the screen didn’t respond as fast as I would have liked it to. The system does offer some impressive visual representations of how efficiently you are driving the car. Not only does this information look fancy but it is also great to educate the driver on how they can get the most out of their fuel economy.
Owning a Jaguar is typically an emotional decision. Being an economy focused business saloon does take away some of that excitement for sure, but it’s not all gone. The Jaguar’s look, specifically from the front, will certainly turn heads and will encourage purchases where other brands may look a little boring.
The diesel engine and manual gearbox performs well with regards to speed and economy, but this Jaguar can still bite and has enough performance to keep you satisfied without costing you at the pumps.
After 6 days of testing the Jaguar XE SE. I learnt a lot about the car and for an entry-level Jaguar in base spec the package you get is brilliant. With the 2.0-litre diesel engine I can see this car being a fantastic competitor in the company car market. It ticks all the right boxes in relation to MPG and CO2 emissions but also meets the driver’s needs providing a brilliant level of ride quality, making travelling the country just that little bit easier.
Jaguar XE SE 2016
- Price: £34,695
- Engine: 2.0-litre Diesel
- Power: 163PS
- Torque: 380Nm
- Transmission: 6 speed Manual
- 0-62mph: 7.9 Seconds
- Top speed: 132mph
- Weight: 1,435kg
- Economy: 75mpg
- CO2: 99g/km
Author: Paul Hadley