There is always a quest to be noticed and recognised. While few get it handed down to them, the rest have to slog it. Either ways, own a Jaguar and you are bound to get noticed as well as recognised. Proof? The entire neighborhood now knows me as the guy who has the Jaguar. Or rather had! You see like its feline counterpart, cars made by Jaguar too are elusive and exude a sense of premiumness, something its German counterparts sometimes fail to convey. The entry point into the Jaguar fold is the XE and while the car has been around since last year, it was only recently that the diesel trim was introduced. We got to sample the car and here is what we think of it.
First impressions are the best or so they say. I believe it is true with the Jaguar XE. It doesn’t look like a scaled down version of the XF and that is a good thing in itself. The wide grille, those LED projector headlights, the air intakes on the side and the kink in the hood – all come together to give this car a unique identity. I dare say that this is one of the best looking cars in its segment. The 17-inch multi-spoke alloys though look small and bigger tyres would have just taken the appeal a notch higher. The tail section of the XE is inspired by the very desirable F-Type but obviously have been toned down for use in the XE. Still they look sexy and the LED theme lights up the parking lot like nothing.
The cabin is not as flamboyant as the exterior and while it still seems luxurious, its no patch on the outside. The dual tone interior with beige being the central theme welcomes the driver with a powered seat with memory function while the front passenger only gets electrical assistance. The side bolsters hug the occupants of both the front seats very well. The meter console is the usual speedo and odometer fare but in between there is a screen that also displays many other functions like the mode selected, tell tale lights as well as average efficiency and range. The steering wheel feels nice to hold but could have been a tad slimmer. The 8-inch touchscreen has vivid colours and also physical buttons. However, it isn’t placed as conveniently as some of its rivals do. If it were placed a tad higher up, the driver would not have to take his eyes off the road while operating it. There is no Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto functionality dialled in. The Meridian sound system is satisfactory to the ears though.
Move over to the rear and you realise that there isn’t much space there. The XE, Jaguar says is a 5-seater but at best can seat four. The middle hump along with the AC vents prevent a fifth passenger from finding the right amount of comfort. Speaking of which, this 6ft plus reviewer avoided the back seat most of the times that he could. It has less head room and comparitively lower leg room too. In fact, Donald (the one who shot these brilliant pictures) too faced ingress and egress issues, what with the seats being set a tad lower than the front ones. Boot space is decent enough to fit two big suitcases and a few smaller bags. There is a 16-inch space saver strapped on to the base of the boot.
Engine and transmission
Jaguar has now adopted the 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine for use in almost all of its cars. This 180PS/430Nm engine can mask the speed of the vehicle very well. Travel at around 150kmph and the Jaguar still feels as if it is doing 100kmph. However, the engine is not really an enthusiast’s delight and instead concentrates on efficiency. On that count, it delivers 14.1kmpl in the city and 18.8kmpl on the highway. The transmission in the meanwhile bring in modes like Normal, Eco, Snow, Sport and Rain. The throttle sensitivity as well as the engine mapping changes according to the mode selected. This tester was enchanted with the Eco mode as unlike other cars, it doesn’t bog down the engine considerably and can still make decent progress in town. The gains of course is in the fuel efficiency.
The gearbox is eager to downshift but not as eager to shift up. There are paddle shifters given that up the excitement a bit but it is advisable to let the 8-speed automatic transmission decide the best gear and shifting point. The diesel engine could also do with some insulation under the hood.
Ride and handling
The steering wheel of the Jaguar is simply too good. It has been calibrated nicely and places the car precisely where you want it to be. The handling as a result feels connected and is enjoyable. The tester feels that the XE petrol was a more driver’s car than the diesel because of the grunt it had. The car has been stiffly sprung and it shows in the way it goes over potholes. There is a bit of the noise filtering into the cabin and unlike the new Audi A4 that keeps you kind of isolated from the happenings, the Jaguar does tell you what it went through. High speed ride quality though is better and with all the seats full, the Jaguar doesn’t bottom down.
All being said, the tester wonders why hasn’t Jaguar given the option of auto hold in the XE diesel. Every single time you come to a halt in traffic, either keep the brakes pressed or shift to the Park mode.
Attention seeker is what this Jaguar is all about. Want to be noticed? Go and buy the XE diesel and it will definitely get you those eyeballs. In the process, lesser visits to the fuel pump as well as connected handling with this sedan are a given. The trade-offs will be a slightly less spacious rear seat and a engine which isn’t an enthusiast’s delight. However, at Rs 58 lakh on-road, the Jaguar sits square against the BMW 320d and the Audi A4. Which one is the better choice of the three? That’s a question to deal with another day.
What we liked in the Jaguar XE
Efficiency, handling and those looks
What we didn’t like so much
Lack of outright punch from the engine, seating at the rear and engine NVH
Trivia: Jaguar gives you a three year warranty with the car but the company will offer you warranty for the fourth and fifth year for about a lakh rupees more.
Images by Donald Dsouza