Funny thing about review vehicles is personal perception. I personally prefer not to know too much about the vehicle I am testing prior to getting behind the wheel, I want to garner my own first impressions rather than being swayed by another. Most of the time this works well for me, however, with the new Jaguar XE, not so much.
My big ‘issue’ was in its handling, it’s just too damned good. I returned the vehicle with a big smile on my face telling the Jaguar PR guy how well I thought it managed to send power to the rear wheels while still ‘pulling’ around the corners. The blank expression alone should have been the giveaway. I was convinced that this rear-wheel-drive sedan was AWD!
Now that’s off my chest, I’ll continue. The Jaguar XE hit the streets around 2015 and made quite an impact. Smaller than it’s XF sibling but carrying many of its styling traits, the XE sits in the small Sedan area yet packs quite the punch. The XE sits on the JLR, largely aluminium modular platform (shared with nameplates that span the brand’s range), it’s respectively lightweight and very firm, something that translates well into the vehicle’s performance.
Aesthetically, the new 2020 model has received a respectable amount of improvements inside and out, including F-Type inspired taillights, satin chrome side vents and an interior more in line with the XF and Velar, however, my P300 Eiger Grey, R-Dynamic HSE model came with all the Jaguar trimmings.
20-inch, 10 spoke paws that dig deep into the corners, with red brake calipers to help you stop in style. Privacy glass, Matrix headlights, animated indicators, metal treadplates and R-Dynamic logos where necessary. Inside, 10-inch touch pro dual screens, 360-degree parking assist, sports seats that are contrast-stitched, Clearsight rearview mirror (the one with that magically puts the reversing camera image in the mirror) and 16-way adjustable and a feeling of achievement thrown in for free.
Under the bonnet sits a 2L turbo 4-cylinder engine that produces 221kW of power and 400Nm of torque. 0-100km/h comes to you in a reported 5.9 seconds while when just purring, fuel efficiencies are 6.7 L/100km and gasses are 153g/km.
The 8-speed box shifts quickly, either automatically or via the satin chrome paddles and the pick up, even from a standing start is great, but it’s when the XE is on the move that it impressed me most.
Sporting the R-Dynamic badge, it certainly lives up to its name. There’s a refinement to the way it handles freeway driving but a sense of mongrel when you slot it into sport and attack the corners. It’s playful and exciting yet oh so controllable, thanks to Jaguar’s All Surface Progress Control and impressive Dynamic Stability Control. It corrects where necessary but the drive is, well, dynamic.
I had control of the XE for around a week and for my small family of three, it suited our purposes nicely. It’s very attractive when at rest on the driveway, is roomy enough for trips (even longer ones) providing some family members don’t require too much legroom and more than impressive in the sporty department, once all your chores are done and you want to spend some time quality alone time – it really is built to exceed.