It’s a matter of fact that the Jaguar XE has been lagging in its sales behind the usual German suspects in this small and medium sedan segment.
Mercedes, BMW and Audi are the familiar brands to head to when buying a smart-looking sedan with a splash of luxury. The C-Class, 3 Series and A4 have all been smart options for a reliable and upmarket option for the best blend of business and casual use.
Jaguar launched the smaller XE sedan in 2015, and has been tweaking this sedan to find the ideal model to take on these usual suspects.
I believe that now, in 2022, the latest iteration of the XE has finally been perfected. From its price, build quality, ride and post-purchase care, it’s now peaking my interest the most in this segment.
Is this finally the sedan you can buy not just with your head, but with your heart too? Let me explain why you should change from the Sauerkraut and Bratwurst and go for the full English Breakfast instead.
Build Quality4.7 out of 5.
I had some gripes with the exterior finish on the original XE. It sat a little too high from its wheel, and some models didn’t even come with any finishers on the exhaust exits.
However, in 2022, that’s all changed. There’s been a serious commitment to build quality at Jaguar, and it really lifts the perception I have of the brand - even against key rivals like Mercedes.
To be honest, the build quality of the current generation C-Class felt lacking for a brand that’s renowned for its high standards. Meaning, the high bar set by the new XE felt like an obvious step above what most brands are offering in this segment.
Whether it was the embossed Jaguar logos on the headrests, the ‘Made in Coventry’ labels on the seats, the high-quality screens or tight shut lines between panels, I was utterly impressed.
The only thing I’d change is the glossy black plastic around the shifter. Over time this is just going to show scratches, dust and fingerprints, and might not last as long as the other materials found in this cabin.
Value for Money4 out of 5.
After being told that I was jumping into the P300 AWD R-Dynamic Black trim of the XE, I thought that with all those names this thing was for sure going to be a sniff under $100,000. Most likely it was going to have some serious options on it (and it did - around $5,000 worth), it was going to be quick and of course, luxurious.
To my legitimate surprise, pricing for this exact model starts from $64,704 before on-road costs. This one had a ‘Technology Pack’, consisting of a wireless charger, smart rear view mirror (a camera feed replacing your rear view vision mirror), a heads-up display and a 10” touch pro duo screen. On top of that, it had a sliding panoramic glass roof, privacy glass, and strangely a 40:20:40 folding rear seat option. With all this, you’re out the door at $69,874 before on-road costs.
For under $80,000, you’re getting an AWD sedan with a relatively punchy four-cylinder, producing 221kW and 400Nm and capable of hitting 100km/h in 5.9 seconds. Not to mention that this is one of the better looking sedans you can buy too. It’s certainly more visually appealing than the non-sporty trims of the German alternatives.
Overall, you’re likely in a position where buying a premium sedan like this is a regular occurrence. Thanks to a reasonable asking price, competitive 5-year warranty and what feels like a complete package, Jaguar should see an uptick in sales.
Although, option-phobic buyers might get spooked by how some features like wireless phone charging and a heads up display are locked behind a paywall.
Maintenance4 out of 5.
Jaguar and Land Rover finally realised that they need to reassure new and existing customers that they are committed to long-term ownership of their vehicles.
It’s no secret that the British marque isn’t known for long-lasting reliability. However, just last year, the warranty period had finally been upped to 5 years/unlimited kilometers and 5 years of Roadside Assist.
Add on that you can prepay for 5 services up to 102,000kms for a fairly reasonable $1950, and there isn’t a solid reason as to why the Jaguar, now, would be a worse long-term purchase than its competitors. It’s actually a better offering than BMW’s measly 3-year warranty.
This will most likely be the section some buyers will look deeper into before buying, but what I can say is that under a 5-year lease period, at least you won’t be out of pocket for anything that may go wrong while still paying to use this luxury sedan.
Noise Level4.3 out of 5.
Spending extended periods of time in the XE was certainly a relaxing experience. Although, if you’re chasing a little bit of Jaguar engine sound, you won’t really find it here.
Starting with the interior, it’s mostly quiet and shielded from exterior sound. There’s certainly a little bit of noticeable tire roar and a faint bit of turbocharger whoosh that enters the cabin. Outside that, it’s the traditional sedan experience. Thanks to having the boot being separate from the actual cabin, your isolation from the outside world feels a lot more enhanced than a small SUV equivalent (in price).
The Meridian speaker system is a very welcome upgrade in the XE, adding plenty of power and clarity to your sound. It makes music and phone calls as clear as they should be.
However, the four-cylinder petrol motor doesn’t deliver in the sound department. Those real exhaust exits produce a mediocre sound, and under heavy acceleration, that engine isn’t really as spine-tingling as the XE could be.
It does ‘luxury car’ really well, but it doesn’t sound as sporty as you might have hoped in Dynamic mode. Google the Jaguar XE Project 8, and you’ll see what this car is truly capable of with a ridiculous motor stuffed under the bonnet.
Braking4.2 out of 5.
Dynamic driving in the XE was certainly supported by a capable set of brakes. Measuring in at 355mm and 325mm for the front and rear brakes respectively, there wasn’t a moment where the XE felt heavy under braking.
Weighing in at just under 1700kg, this is not a lightweight sedan, but it’s far from being overweight too.
Brake feel was well-tuned to feather under heavy acceleration and when charging into tight corners. Additionally, autonomous emergency braking made itself known on the highway heading to our filming location. I was in complete control to avoid the upcoming obstacle, but it was refreshing to see the XE spot a potential hazard and prepare to brake just in case I wasn’t paying attention.
Acceleration/Power3.8 out of 5.
0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds isn’t blisteringly quick, but it’s more than capable for daily driving and a bit of back road fun.
This 2.0L turbocharged petrol four cylinder, producing 221kW at 5,500rpm and 400Nm at 1,500-4,500rpm, is very reminiscent of a high powered hot-hatch power plant.
There’s a wider torque band here, but this still means you start dropping down the torque range while chasing peak power as that rev needle climbs higher.
However, thanks to a longitudinal, set-back placement and an AWD system, this Jag feels brisk getting up to speed.
Look, I’m disappointed that you can’t get a 6-cylinder turbocharged option in this sedan anymore. And forget ever getting your hands on another V8 model - that’s reserved for the ultra-exclusive Project 8. Mid-range acceleration feels immediate, although there is an obvious lag when stomping on the gas pedal when not in Dynamic mode.
This means we’re left with the four-cylinder trim of the XE. This is fast, but not fast enough to threaten your licence’s shelf life.
Gear Shifting4.4 out of 5.
The 8-speed automatic transmission in the Jag is just as good as you’d find it across Jaguar/Land Rovers latest range of cars.
I found that lagging shifts and holding gears weren’t a problem for this sedan.
Instead, it offered the best change between luxury and dynamic driving. For day-to-day driving, the buttery smooth shifts offered by this 8-speed allow you to relax and focus on other things like that meeting you’re probably driving to in the XE.
When you need to engage those gorgeous true-aluminium shifter paddles on the steering wheel, you are met with re-assuring shifts that help liven up this daily-driver.
Shifts ‘bang’ after pulling back on these sizable metal paddles, with a sense of immediacy that encourages you to keep exploring the rev-range, rather than just become unenthused.
Better yet, unlike some competitors, when in ‘manual’ mode, the car won’t shift for you when you hit redline. This means trips to the track could be on the cards if you’re feeling like the commute to the office is getting a little grey.
Suspension & Handling4.3 out of 5.
Low-down weight distribution, all-wheel drive and weighing in at a reasonable 1690kg - it’s a formula for success when it comes to Jaguar XE’s handling.
It’s a capable chassis, which only made me wish even more we might get to see a little more power being produced under the bonnet in the near future. Only to further take advantage of what we know the XE’s chassis is capable of…looking at you XE Project 8.
Suspension does a fair job at combating awkward patches in the road, even if it’s riding around on 20-inch alloys. There are some exceptions - hit a pothole just that bit too hard, and you’ll notice those larger wheels via a loud thump. Otherwise, it’s a very enjoyable ride for long driving stints.
Under dynamic settings, the car does a fantastic job at feeling cohesive through corners. The longer wheelbase compared to a fast hatch gives you a preferable driving characteristic under pressure. Additionally, the longitudinal engine placement helps with a proper weight distribution on the nose.
Even in the wet, the XE inspired confidence via the AWD system. Despite all four wheels being powered, I never hit an obvious moment of understeer.
Fuel Efficiency4.2 out of 5.
The obvious advantage of having a four cylinder petrol motor is the reduced fuel consumption figures.
With a claimed 6.8L/100km figure and a real world 11L/100km figure as tested by yours truly, it’s not going to be terribly expensive to fuel up.
If you’re like me and clambering for a louder and more obnoxious engine choice, at least the XE’s powerplant will make the most sense when daily driving.
Interior Design4.5 out of 5.
This really is where Jaguar has nailed the brief for a luxury sports-inspired sedan. Those attractive design cues on the exterior follow through to the interior.
A two-step dashboard design gives you more of a sense of sitting lower in the car. This can be a trap some sedans can fall into by feeling like you’re sitting a little too high off the ground.
Count them - there are 7 screens in this car. No, this isn’t ‘Pimp My Ride’, instead Jaguar has incorporated a lot of screens in this sedan. There are the classic infotainment and driver’s display screens. However you can also count the full-colour head’s up display, and 3 screens for the climate controls (2 on the dials and one in the centre).
Finally, you top it off with the rear vision mirror, which also has an option to run a camera feed via the mirror.
It certainly feels like a car out of 2022 with this level of screen integration. Although, we could have done without the centre climate control screen, which I found to be a little unnecessary. It didn’t really add much other than removing physical buttons.
Old school luxury is done right here too. There is wonderfully stitched leather, high-quality metal and soft-touch materials. The seat design, wheel design and dash layout feature a special blend between old and new school luxury.
Boot Size & Comfort4.2 out of 5.
I had the XE during a week of finalising my move into a new house. I don’t personally own a car and a trip to IKEA wasn’t going to cut it on the back of a motorbike.
That’s where the XE came in. It was surprisingly practical! Folding the rear seats down proved to be a little less intuitive than what I would have preferred, but once folded you had more than enough space for many daily activities.
No, it’s not a replacement for the work ute, or the 7-seat family hauler. But, it was showing itself to be practical and enough space for daily activities, like large trips to the shops and carrying around any additional passengers. Although, taller items won’t fit back here, and it’s far from being a replacement for a taller SUV if that’s what you need.
The only problem comes in the form of carrying three people plus maximising the space available in this car. That’s when taller passengers will feel tight inside this car as that roofline starts to encroach on tall-torsed individuals.
When not moving items from IKEA, the XE is surprisingly comfortable in the rear seat space department. The second row seats aren’t an afterthought, rather there has been an obvious careful attention to detail when it came to sculpting in the head liner and the area behind the driver/front passengers seats.
For four people, a roof box and a fully loaded boot, I could see a trip to the snow being possible. This is especially the case if you opted for that 40:20:40 folding seat option.
Features4 out of 5.
Jaguar still has an issue with an extensive options list, but it’s recently been dramatically reduced. The stuff that matters is mainly standard on this car. Although, some creature comforts still cost money, which can be a little annoying to those already accustomed to using them (like a heads up display and wireless charger for your phone).
The over-the-air updates via Jaguar’s infotainment system are a large plus for future-proof updates to this car. These include the recently integrated wireless Apple CarPlay feature.
- 2.0L Inline Turbo-Charged Petrol 4 cylinder Turbo-Charged Petrol
- 221kW @ 5,500rpm
- 400Nm @ 1,500 - 4,500rpm
- 8-speed Automatic Transmission
- 10" Touchscreen
- Interactive Driver Display
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Meridian Sound System - 400W, 13 speakers incl Subwoofer
- DAB+ Radio
- Satellite Navigation
- Wireless Device Charging (Option)
- Head-up Display (Option)
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Keyless Entry
- Push Button Start
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- Emergency Braking
- Blind Spot Assist
- Clear Exit Monitor
- Lane Keep Assist
- Front and Rear Parking Aid
- Rear Collision Monitor
- Rear Traffic Monitor
- Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Speed Limiter
- Trailer Stability Assist (TSA)
- Driver Condition Monitor
- Interior front door handles with separate locking switches
- Power operated child locks
- Seat belt reminder
- Passive front head restraints
- Rear ISOFIX
- Valet Mode
- 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds
- Drive modes
- Paddle Shifters
- Keyless Entry/Exit and Start/Stop
- Rear View Camera Mirror (option)
- Puddle Lamp Lights
- 3D Surround View Camera
- R-Dynamic Branded Steering Wheel
- Jaguar Logo Embossed in Front Headrests
Should you buy one?
I came to the conclusion that this is the next sedan you should buy if you’ve already been around the block with the German competitors.
Try something different if you dare, and you’re going to be rewarded with the better looking and more luxurious-feeling alternative.
Yes, options are a little pricey and it’s going to be more of a mental hurdle for some to sign on to buy a Jaguar. However, you’re going to be driving something that’ll evoke a little more emotion into your daily drive rather than just being another German badge on the road.
It’ll turn heads in the right way, it’ll make you feel special when you drive it, and it’s a near-perfect example of what you should expect in a non-performance orientated upmarket sedan.
About the author Cameron is our resident car expert. Aside being a source of knowledge about the automotive industry, he has also driven a wide variety of cars. From Porsche 911 GT2 RS's, through to a 1998 Toyota RAV4, Cameron has not only seen it all, but has most likely driven it.
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|Drive Type||Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)|
|ANCAP Safety Rating||5 Stars|
|Fuel Consumption||6.9 L/100km|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||63 L|
|Engine||4 Cylinder 2.0L|
|Max Power||221kW @ 5500rpm|
|Max Torque||400Nm @ 1500-4500rpm|
|Country of Manufacture||United Kingdom|
|Manufacturer Warranty||3 year(s)|
|Release date||Nov 2020|
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