2020 Jaguar XE petrol review: Sporty and comfortable in a compact package

The new Jaguar XE has looks to kill for and at the same time has enough poke to tackle city as well as highway duties.

By:Updated: February 11, 2020 5:19:18 PM

A crowd has gathered on the roadside. It has barely been minutes since I parked my test car there. Worried about the safety of the car and with the fear that nothing untoward has happened, we rushed to the spot. Actually, we shouldn’t have bothered. The gathered Noida crowd was just mesmerised by the car. This is what Jaguars do to most people. We, journalists, aren’t an exception either. The first time I set my eyes on the refreshed XE and in this fetching Caldera red colour, it was love. If I wanted to just go ahead and buy a sedan in this segment just for looks, it has to be the new Jaguar XE. First impressions then are right. Amidst appreciative glances, we set off for the drive and subsequent shoot.

Design and interior

 

I have driven the Jaguar XE before but in diesel form. That vehicle seemed like it was already ageing. This new XE though, err…feels new. The all-LED headlights with those guidelines, the 17-inch alloys, the flowing roofline and the svelte rear end. There is no bad angle for viewing this Jag. Sitting inside the cabin, I can see how much of a change Jaguar has done to this car over the previous model. The new Jaguar XE boasts a refreshed cabin that includes touches of brushed aluminium, a touchscreen Touch Pro infotainment system that is quicker to respond, an interior swathed with leather and a new steering wheel. On the latter, there are fat paddle shifters too and these are definitely useful if you develop sporty intentions in the middle of the drive.

As far as the dials are concerned, there is a hint of sportiness to them – all-digital as well as the lane keep assist menu in the middle. The front seats are comfortable, however, I feel that for taller drivers, this isn’t ideal. You are seated real low here. There are memory functions for  the front seats on offer. At the rear, there is space only for two, with the transmission tunnel eating up the middle passenger space. I thought that it might not be a comfortable affair at the rear but then I was wrong. I was chauffeur-driven on the return and never once did I want to go to the front. No hemmed in perception or the roofline sitting too close to my head feeling. I though wish the rear AC was a tad more powerful.  The 445 litres boot space also looks accommodating, translating into ample space for weekend drives.

Engine and performance

As for the engine, it is a BS6, 2.0-litre turbo motor that is good for 250hp of power and a decent 365Nm. An 8-speed automatic gearbox is provided and there are drive modes too along with an engine start-stop function. Depending on the mode selected, the steering weight is altered and the engine’s shift points are changed. I drove it in Dynamic mode and the steering wheel felt tauter than what it was in Eco. Using the paddle shifters is the best approach in this mode. You get to dictate when the gears shift. Comfort means that the engine stays a tad lazy and upshifts early in the interest of efficiency. While I couldn’t test the vehicle for efficiency, expect it to deliver around 10kmpl overall, depending on the driving fashion. Power build-up is quite linear and there are no spikes or shoves in the back to speak of. Above 5,000rpm, there isn’t much juice left and if you’re an enthusiast, you will be left wanting. The exhaust note too doesn’t evoke any emotions. For an average Joe though, there isn’t much room to complain. In a nutshell, the new XE is a car you can have more fun with than some of its comeptitors.

Ride, handling and safety features

I quite liked the way the suspension has been tuned – more towards comfort. While the exterior screams racy, the suspension points toward comfort. Seated at the rear, I could barely make out expansion joints, ditches or potholes that the driver was putting it through. So a big thumbs-up from me to those looking to buy this as a chauffeur-driven vehicle. Just for the suspension and not exactly for the space (or the lack of it) on offer when compared to something like the new BMW 3 Series.

Safety-wise, Jaguar has got you covered with six airbags, low-speed cruise control, aforementioned lane assist and Park Assist. Visibility-wise, I feel the rear camera could have had a higher resolution but it still does a fair job.

Verdict

The refreshed Jaguar XE is a good car, complete with required features and has the finesse too. However, it doesn’t have a defined focus. The XE simply cannot decide whether to side with sportiness or plain comfort. In a world which is fast moving towards electrics, cars that can combine sportiness with comfort are going to be welcomed with open arms. In that sense, the XE will blend beautifully. However, pure enthusiasts might want to look elsewhere. The Rs 46.33 lakh, ex-showroom price is at par with rivals though. Speaking of which, the Jaguar XE will compete with the new BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. How it compares to them, well, warrants an answer some other day.

Images by Ayush Arya

 

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