Jaguar XE 20d Prestige is one impressive small cat
The Jaguar XE is Jaguar’s first real attempt to take on the all-conquering Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series with a small, rear-wheel drive sedan that is the Jaguar XE. Jaguar introduced the X-Type a few years back, but that was only offered in front and all-wheel drive and wasn’t considered a true rival to other compact prestige offerings.
We’re testing the Jaguar XE in Prestige trim with the 2.0 litre diesel engine.
What we like:
- Gorgeous design throughout
- Build quality
Not so much:
- Tight head and rear legroom
- Rear seat only suitable for two
- Diesel engine can be a little noisy
- Could offer more equipment
Price and Equipment
The Jaguar XE range has been priced sharply, and opens with the XE Prestige 20t from $60,400 and climbs all the way to the raunchy XE S with a 3.0 litre supercharged petrol V6 that is priced from $105,350.
Standard equipment includes Xenon headlights, a Meridian sound system, satellite navigation, reversing camera, blind spot monitoring, leather trim, LED ambient lighting, rear cross traffic alert and leather trim.
Our test car featured a self-parking system ($1,580), sliding panoramic roof ($1,800) and 18inch alloys ($600) bringing the total retail price up $66,780.
The Jaguar XE cabin is fresh, modern if a little conservatively styled. All amenities are easy to use, including the touchscreen infotainment system and the plastics, metallic trims and leather are all top notch, belying the $60k price tag. The Meridian stereo is powerful and deliver rich, quality sound and at night, the blue/green LED lighting adds a cosmopolitan touch.
Fit and finish are excellent too, with all trim fitting snugly together. Perhaps the key drawback to the Jaguar XE’s interior is the packaging. A low, swooping roofline makes for tight headroom all round and that rear-drive layout translates to restricted legroom for the two outer passengers, and although there are belts provided for three in the rear, there isn’t sufficient space for a third person to sit in the rear bench. The seats themselves are comfortable though, delivering excellent under thigh and back support. Somewhat disappointingly, seat cooling and heating are not fitted as standard, a luxury that may further sweeten the XE deal.
The boot is 450 litres in capacity.
The XE’s cockpit feels expensive, it feels luxurious and it feels premium. Perhaps most importantly, and as a point of difference for Jaguar, the cabin doesn’t feel German, it doesn’t feel Swedish and it doesn’t feel Japanese. The Jaguar XE feels distinctly English, and this further adds to the car’s charm and point of difference.
Engine and Transmission
Diesel versions of the Jaguar XE are powered by a 2.0 litre turbo diesel that produces 132kW @ 4000rpm and 430Nm @ 1750-2500rpm. Performance is strong throughout the broad powerband and the diesel delivers strong and athletic performance. Jaguar claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.8 seconds and this certainly felt realistic.
While the engine is a strong performer, it is a little noisy, and that diesel clatter is always present, both in and outside of the vehicle. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic which worked through the gears quickly and efficiently and the transmission also offers the driver the option of changing gears manually by way of steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Combined fuel consumption is rated at 4.2 litres per 100 kilometres, however during the test week we averaged 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres.
On The Road
On the road the XE is handles neatly and predictably. The steering and suspension are tuned with a sports focus, but this does not impact ride quality or passenger comfort. Show the XE a challenging country road and the small Jaguar tackles corners with poise, class and agility.
In sum, a truly rewarding drive.
The Jaguar XE Prestige is fitted with dual front, side and curtain airbags along with traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert as standard.
All Jaguar models are covered by a three year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Jaguar XE 20d Prestige Specs
Make and model: Jaguar XE 20d Prestige
Engine type: 1999cc turbo diesel four-cylinder engine
Power: 132kW @ 4000rpm
Torque: 430Nm @ 1750-2500rpm
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 4.2 litres (combined)
Dimensions: 4672mm long, 1850mm wide, 1416mm high and 2835mm wheelbase
Steering: Rack and pinion
Country of Origin: England
Options: Self-parking system ($1,580), sliding panoramic roof ($1,800) and 18inch alloys ($600)