- Smooth driving experience
- Comfortable interior
- Low engine noise
- Excellent equipment
Jaguar's compact saloon is maturing six years after it was first introduced in 2015 to replace the X-Type.
The XE R-Dynamic has been refreshed over those years, and it now comprises more than a dozen models using the same 4-door saloon body. Variations on the models include petrol or diesel engines in rear or all-wheel-drive, and five trim levels from standard to highly sporty, as befits Jaguar's heritage.
It still makes sense if you drive a lot of miles to choose a turbo-diesel, and the Ingenium unit made by Jaguar in the West Midlands is one of the best.
With a mild-hybrid system to provide added smoothness and boost, the powertrain is surprisingly strong for an engine of fractionally under 2.0 litres.
We occasionally saw over 50mpg returned, mostly at steady motorway speed but also on main roads, and only when you started working the eight automatic/ manual gears did the consumption worsen.
The good pull of the engine and electric motor gave it a very respectable acceleration from rest or when overtaking in the intermediate gears. With eight gears working for you too, the motorway stretch was effortless and economical.
Changes were quick and clean with no hesitation or jerkiness, and the power steering imparted a lot of feedback as well as being positive at any speed.
Our car had larger brakes as part of the dynamic package, and they really slowed the car without drama, while the parking brake securely held it when required.
The XE already has one of the best handling characteristics thanks to its unitary body and lightweight suspension components, but the dynamic package also aids traction control in any weather conditions.
The car was only rear-wheel drive, but you would hardly know it because the XE just held on well to corners and communicated what each 19-inch diameter and wide wheel was doing.
Despite this sharpness of responses, the suspension smoothed out the worst roads and really soaked up the ridges and broken tarmac like a much bigger car with a longer wheelbase would.
Practicality and Equipment
The seats were a perfect match to the suspension, well shaped and highly supporting, even in the back, although leg and headroom in the rear was tight for those above average height.
Once inside, the front interior has everything conveniently in reach. The seat's electric adjustment range was very wide, and with the manually adjusted column it was possible to get a very good driving position.
Visibility was generally very good to the sides and to the front with excellent wipers, very bright headlights and a reversing camera and sensors. Radar warnings on the door mirrors also help with any potential blind spots.
Noise levels were low, with the most noticeable noise coming from the tyres on course surfaces. The engine was muted most of the time unless you pushed through to the intermediate gears.
The major control layout was very good, and the climate control was comprehensive and quiet, backed up by powered windows and a truly enormous sunroof. The solar attenuating windscreen is part of the technology pack and worth having to keep the interior cooler.
Overall, the Jaguar XE oozed refinement and sophistication and the more I drove it, the more I appreciated what a good package it was.
The R-Dynamic SE model driven here was fitted with some extras which included a larger sunroof, technology and dynamic handling packs, high contrast wheels, and upgraded sound system among other features. However, even the standard features available in the XE will make your drive enjoyable and entertaining.