Jaguar XE buyer’s guide
FROM £14,000 Compact exec is a fine choice as a second-hand premium family car
How cool compact exec can be yours from £14,000
JAGUAR has a rich history of building luxurious saloons, but when it has tried to cater for the mass market with smaller models it generally hasn’t done so well.
Indeed, before the XE arrived three years ago, the brand’s only real attempt at downsizing was the X-type, which never sold as strongly as intended.
In the X-type era the firm was owned by Ford, but since Tata took over a decade ago Jaguar’s approach has changed, and so has the market. The cars are better than ever but, with saloons falling out of favour as buyers migrate to SUVS, the XE competes in a shrinking segment that’s dominated by some very talented contenders – so should you consider buying one?
THE first XES were delivered in June 2015, and while there was a 335bhp supercharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol edition (the XE S) topping the range, virtually all models featured an Ingenium four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine. The petrol version came in 197bhp or 237bhp forms, and the diesel was produced in 161bhp or 178bhp guises.
Just five months later revisions were announced, with a bigger 10.2-inch touchscreen becoming optional, plus four-wheel drive on the high-powered diesel engine, which could be selected with a manual or automatic gearbox.
In February 2017 a 295bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine was added to the range, the 3.0-litre V6 S was upgraded to 375bhp and a 237bhp twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel arrived, badged 25d.
WE wouldn’t steer you away from any engine, and while both manuals and autos are good, most buyers want the latter. As a result, if you buy a manual XE you may have trouble selling it on later – and the petrol engine wasn’t offered with a manual in any case.
The entry-level SE features cruise control, 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, cloth trim, automatic lights and wipers, and navigation. Prestige adds leather and heated front seats, while the R-sport has bi-xenon headlights, sport suspension and sportier styling inside and out. Portfolio spec also has electrically adjustable front seats, an upgraded multimedia system and a soft-touch dash. All XES feature AEB, but a spare wheel is an optional extra.
JAGUAR’S biggest problem is the existence of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-class, all of which are available with a wide range of engines
and in saloon or estate form. They’re all well equipped, solidly built, safe and good to drive; while the Mercedes and BMW are rear-wheel drive, the Audi is front-wheel drive, although the latter two are available with four-wheel drive. Also consider the sharply styled Mazda 6 and the hybrid Lexus GS.
THE XE has been crowned Best Compact Executive Car at our New Car Awards on three consecutive occasions (2015-17), and impresses with its sharp looks and even sharper handling. With its efficient engines, refinement and comfort, there’s lots to love about Jag’s smallest saloon.
Practicality could be better – the rear seats and boot can’t match the room in some rivals – but the XE isn’t poor in this respect; it’s just beaten elsewhere.
If you make a list of the pros and cons of the Jag, you will find some shortcomings. However, live with one for a while and you’re likely to forget these quickly, because this junior exec saloon is a fine all-rounder.