The last time Jaguar tried to make an entry-level sedan it was called the X-Type and it was a terrible disaster. It wasn’t a good car and it did not sell very well, but that was back in the day when Ford owned Jag.
Want engine choices? You’re in luck.
This is a car that will require you to do some homework if you want one because it comes many different ways. For instance, you can get a 2-liter 4-cylinder turbo diesel under the hood, or a 2-liter turbo gas engine, or a gasoline 3-liter supercharged V6. You can get the XE in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Soon you’ll be able to get the XE in a manual transmission, but now it comes with an 8-speed automatic.
There’s no shortage of trim levels either.
There are 4 different trim levels, the base XE, the Premium, the Prestige and the R-Sport. What I have is the 3-liter supercharged Prestige with all-wheel drive. That combination puts out 340-horses, and you can shift that 8-speed from steering wheel paddles if you wish.
It’s classic Jaguar inside and out.
Although the XE is the least expensive Jag made with a base price under $35,000, it still has that classic Jaguar look and in fact, it looks like a scaled down XF. It is on the same platform as the new F-Pace, Jag’s first ever SUV, which ironically is the next review vehicle I have.
The XE exterior looks great with 19” wheels, dual exhaust, and the classic Jag hood and grille. Although you cannot tell it by looking, the body of the XE is 80% aluminum.
As you get in the driver’s seat, the interior has an elegance to it, but it is hard not to notice the lack of wood and aluminum trim. Everything sort of wraps around you with the door panels meeting the dash on both sides.
A large speedometer and tachometer are easy to see and read, and there is a configurable driver info and settings system between them. There are steering wheel controls for just about everything that allows you to keep your eyes on the road. Just above the dash is a heads-up display that gives you your speed and navigation system directions.
Jaguar’s updated technology is an improvement, but it’s not perfect.
Speaking of the navigation system, it is operated on a vivid 10.2” color touchscreen that operates everything but the climate control. This is a new system for Jag after years of complaints about the old system being slow. The new system is called InControl, and recognizes touch and swipe gestures for quick and easy operation of key vehicle functions. It’s your hub for the navigation, music, phone, climate, Bluetooth, and driver assistance systems.
To further reduce distraction, InControl features voice recognition for hands-free control. While the system is for sure faster, it’s also complex and you have to go through multiple screens to do some pretty simple things. For me, there are too many icons that could have been more clearly identified. You can replicate your smartphone on the screen if you wish. InControl is an improvement, but I’ve seen better systems to be honest.
The XE has a nice center console with the signature Jag pop-up transmission dial. Just below that are your settings for the Drive Control, which allows you to change from Standard, Eco, Dynamic, or Rain/Ice/Snow modes. Dynamic mode sharpens the throttle response, transmission shift patterns, stiffens the suspension, and really changes the way the XE drives, rides and handles.
The XE is comfortable for the front seat passengers but will be very tight for any back seat occupants, especially when it comes to legroom. The back seats fold down to make the already large trunk even bigger. No matter where you sit, you’ll notice the interior of the Jaguar is incredibly quiet.
At this trim level, you get a lot of standard features like power seats, heated steering wheel, keyless entry and start, power moonroof, and rear camera.
My review car options.
My review car has $8000 worth of options in several packages, including parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, Xenon headlights, an 825-watt Meridian sound system, headlight washers, the larger touchscreen I spoke of, and more.
The driving dynamics don’t disappoint.
Driving dynamics are terrific. The all-wheel system is unusual in that in normal driving 90 percent of the power goes to the rear wheels. In slippery conditions, it will reverse itself and send 90% of the power to the front wheels as needed. This car will be terrific for people who get a lot of wintry weather.
Acceleration with the 3-liter is pretty amazing. It handles great in tight turns, and it has terrific brakes. Ride quality, other than in Dynamic mode, is very luxury-car-like.
Fuel economy is 20 city and 29 highway miles for a combined average of 23 and when driven softly, it is doing more like 25.
Now let’s look at the math.
Here is the problem with this new batch of entry-level luxury cars…as I told you, the base price is $34,990. Equipped like this one, the MSRP is North of $57,000, which is going to dash the dreams of some people. Plus, you are getting really close to the next model up, the XF-which is an excellent car. Probably somewhere between the base and this one is the perfect XE, perhaps something in the mid $40,000 range like an XE Premium with the 2-liter gas turbo engine.
I like the XE a lot, and I love the fact that it has a 5-year/60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty and during that time, Jaguar pays for all scheduled maintenance.