I was lucky enough to have the 2017 Jaguar XE 20t to use over Christmas. It was a car I was already fond of, but after spending an extended period of time with it, that fondness developed into something a bit more…like a friend with benefits.
The charms of the Jaguar XE become more apparent the more time you spend with it.
From it’s restrained good looks, to the beautiful cabin, and the genuinely sporty drive experience, the XE is an accomplished car that makes you look forward to driving it.
It’s a sweet little unit that pumps out a healthy 147kW and 280Nm.
It doesn’t mind revving hard and has a nice note to it both from inside and outside the cabin. It piles on pace at a surprising rate and will nail 100km/h in a respectable 7.7 seconds.
It’s reasonably frugal although I couldn’t match Jaguar’s claim of 7.5 litres of premium unleaded per 100km.
It may have had a lot to do with the Melbourne Christmas gridlock that had the city at a crawl - the best figure I saw was 9.6 litres per 100km.
Once out of the city the Jaguar shows you what it’s all about. It just loves a corner.
It has a beautiful balance and always seems poised and ready to slingshot you through any corner at pretty much any speed.
The suspension tune is about as good as it gets.
It’s taut and firm, yet remarkably compliant all at the same time, providing a wonderfully luxurious ride while remaining planted and sure footed.
Usually there’s a payoff somewhere - either the ride is poor and harsh making it great in corners but horrible for your spine, or it’s soft and wallowy making for a plush ride but terrible handling.
The Jaguar straddles this divide and gives you the best of both worlds.
The rear wheel drive XE is a lightweight in its class tipping the scales at 1476kg - all thanks to its mainly aluminum construction.
Inside it’s a class act. Jaguar designers call it the “Riva Hoop” - a band that runs around the cabin and sits between the top of the dash and the bottom of the windscreen - it’s in all modern day Jags from the baby XE to the big daddy XJ.
It creates a bit of an optical illusion making you think it’s deeper and longer than it actually is, which results in a real feeling of spaciousness.
Which is good because it’s not actually that big inside.
The front seats provide plenty of room to move, it’s the back seats that suffer - it’s pretty tight for headroom and legroom, it is however about the same amount of space you’d get in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 3 Series.
The finish is first class. The leather is sumptuous and soft, the stitching intricate and the layout is pampering and comfortable.
The XE swallows you up surrounding you in beautiful materials befitting of a prestige car.
It’s a great place be, and unlike Jaguar’s of old, a thoroughly modern affair.
The big 10.2″ screen adds to the beauty and it works really well too. Jaguar’s latest infotainment system, InControl Touch Pro has come along in leaps and bounds…it all just makes sense and operates at lightning fast speeds.
I think it’s fair to say Jaguar can proudly wear the handling crown, can match it with anything when it comes to luxury, and it’s prettier than anything else on the road.
It asks nothing of you except for you to immerse yourself in it and enjoy - a true friend with benefits!
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Jaguar XE 20t
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder developing 147kW and 280Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Warranty: Three years
Safety: Five stars
Origin: United Kingdom
Price: from $60,400