First launched in 2015, this is the mid-life facelift of the Jaguar XE. Now if you aren’t familiar with how this Tata-owned British carmaker names its cars, well, right on top is the XJ. Then you have the XF. And finally you have this, the XE. The XE competes against the likes of the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class. So, it clearly doesn’t have it easy. But, as you will find out during the course of this story, it is a formidable car. Here then, are five things that work in its favour and two that don’t.
Now, if you like good looking cars, like I do, then the XE is a no brainer. Now, you wouldn’t buy it with your eyes closed, but with them wide open, because it is a beautiful car. In fact, it is the best looking car in its class in my opinion.
Now, with the facelift, this look has been enhanced further with the new headlamps, the aggressive looking bumper, and lots of black chrome all around.
It looks right in profile too. The reasonably long hood, the comparatively short boot, and minimal overhang give the XE an old school sportscar stance, which you would have to agree, is difficult to argue against.
The engine under the Jag’s hood is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol. It makes almost 250 horsepower. And when you are not gunning it, it is quiet and smooth and friendly and very likeable indeed. And all you can hear inside the cabin is tyre noise, even at three digit speeds. The eight-speed automatic gearbox works beautifully with it as well, lending the XE a seamless and effortless feel.
And when you shift to Dynamic, and stamp on the throttle, you fall for the XE even more. The engine sounds great. It dials up the revs effortlessly. And the acceleration the XE packs in when you are ‘going for it’, literally has the world going past you at an awesomely enjoyable pace.
Then you get to a winding road. And you are already looking at down payment and EMI options, because now you really want this one. To begin with, the steering is quick, it is responsive, and it gets the car to do exactly what you want.
The XE also feels beautifully balanced around corners. The turn-in is sharp and predictable; it doesn’t roll around too much, and the grip levels are pretty high too. And with it being rear wheel drive, there’s a sense of purity and engagement to its handling that really makes you want one. It has great brakes too. The power and the bite are fantastic. And the brakes are easy to modulate as well.
Effortless Daily Driver
Now here’s the thing about the XE - it is really good dynamically, but that hasn’t taken away from the car’s everyday easy to live with nature. The ride for starters, particularly at low speeds is absorbent and quiet. And unless you hit a squared out bump, the car just rolls over and flattens most things in its path. It doesn’t skip or bob around either. And at higher speeds, over undulations, there’s no undue wallowing or side to side movement. The XE remains planted all along.
The steering meanwhile, at least in the Eco and Comfort mode, remains quick, but it is light. And that means piloting the car in the city, or making three-point turns is a breeze. And finally, the visibility, especially over the hood is fantastic too. The low dash helps, as do the raised edge lines of the hood, and the relatively slim A-pillar.
This is the top-spec SE trim. And as standard, it gets electrically powered front seats with the driver’s seat getting a memory function as well. The steering is adjustable for both reach and rake and it has many controls including those to work the audio system, the voice commands and the cruise control. The steering adjustment though, has to be done manually.
The XE also gets wireless charging, a two-zone climate control system with rear AC vents, a sunroof, a reversing camera, and front and rear parking sensors. There’s auto headlamp and wiper, and decent set of storage spaces as well. There’s a glove box, you have usable pockets on all four doors, and a boot that can house a full-size suitcase and maybe a carry-on bag alongside.
And there’s an infotainment system. A large 10-inch touchscreen that not only plays songs for you, but it can also help you navigate, respond to voice commands, show you a movie when you aren’t driving, and connect to your phone via Bluetooth.
The instrumentation is a TFT unit as well. And not only can you access a plethora of data on it, it also changes colour depending on the driving mode you choose. Of which, there are three - Eco, Comfort and Sport. And the modes essentially change the throttle response, the steering effort, and mildly the engine and gearbox character as well.
On the safety front, there’s ESP and six airbags besides ABS and EBD of course. The XE, part of Jaguar’s LED headlamp setup, also gets an intelligent high beam function. And there’s lane change warning as well.
The XE has an ordinary looking interior. Now, when I say ordinary, I mean by class standards. If you were to compare it to say the City or the Ciaz, of course it looks outstanding. But compared to the C-class and the 3-series, not so much.
Also, the operability of the switches and the rollers and the buttons lack that tactile, positive, well-engineered feel you get in some of the German cars.
Now, if we were to look at the XE as a four seater, it would get a pass. And a handsome one at that. It has acceptable head, knee and shoulder room. And the seats - both front and back - are nice too. These are cushy, supportive, and good to spend long hours in.
But as a five seater, especially when you consider the rear middle seat, the XE isn’t all that great. You have the high and wide transmission tunnel which robs you of legroom. And the middle seat’s back is more plank like than a couch.
I don’t know if you could tell, but I really like the XE. It costs around Rs 55 lakh in Mumbai which is a fair price for the car because it is fun and easy to drive, it has good visibility, it has light controls, and the performance it packs in with that engine is really likeable.
Yes, it has its shortcomings. Its interiors don’t feel special compared to the competition, and it could do with a little more space at the rear. But if you like a good looking car that’s also good to drive, well the XE is the answer.