We were given a Jaguar XE to review and to give it a thorough test we took it to Luton Hoo Hotel on the Bedfordshire, Herefordshire border to put it through its paces.
Just looking at this sports saloon and its pleasing streamlined stylish body gives a clue of what lies within. Jaguar have excelled themselves with this model, the interior is comfortable and spacious with gloss black finishes to the door trims and their signature ‘Riva Hoop’ sweeping above the instrument panel and taking pride of place in the sweep of the fascia is the 8 inch touchscreen infotainment system – apologies here for such a ghastly word but I suppose it explains what this does – which brings fast access to all the car’s features and functions. And on the automatic models, which our car was, is Jaguar’s unique rotary drive selector which rises up from the central console – a particular favourite of ours.
The first test for the infotainment system, before any journey commences these days, is to set the navigation system. This can sometimes be quite a challenge as I do like to think that these devices should be set using common sense and without the need to resort to the manual – unfortunately with some car models this is not the case – however after just a few wrong steps, I had set our destination and our journey could begin.
Immediately another innovative feature of the Jaguar XE is evident, the laser head-up display. This must be one of the most useful devices ever developed by the automotive industry and one that we have only come across to date on the Rolls Royce Ghost, long wheel base model and the Phanton Coupé and on a top of the range Audi. So Jaguar to include this system in the XE will make this model a real winner.
So to explain what the laser head-up display does – a high contrast colour image is projected directly in the driver’s line of sight, in fact it appears to hover over the bonnet at a distance of about 2 metres. This virtual image displays such useful information as the speed at which you are travelling alongside the actual speed limit on that stretch of road, turn by turn navigation instructions and traffic signs. With this information in your sight at all times it allows the driver’s eyes to remain focused on the road ahead which is where they should be and not distracted by instrumentation.
Our journey north to Luton Hoo required us to travel on the M3 and so had to endure the notorious, and what seems to be endless, 50 mph 12 mile stretch from Fleet Services to M25. The Jaguar XE’s laser head-up display is invaluable under these conditions when the law requires you to keep to a constant speed. Being able to watch your speed constantly without having to keep looking down at the speedometer allows the driver to keep steadily within the lane which is particularly useful when sandwiched between a huge lorry on one side and a car on the other, all travelling at the same speed.
In addition to the laser head-up display a further aid to road safety and ease of use for the infotainement, is the voice control system, which makes the system even easier by responding to plain speech commands without the need to navigate down through the menus which again allows the driver to keep his/her eyes on the road.
So within minutes of setting off on our journey to Luton Hoo it was possible to envisage this car becoming a global best-seller. It is very stylish with a high specification, and is an absolute pleasure to drive, and the road holding and handling were also impressive.
The competition to the Jaguar XE is the Audi A4, and BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class, and, whilst they too offer high specifications and performance, they do not really compete with the stylish looks of this elegant Jaguar XE and ceratinly not the price.
Jaguar hope that, as well as offering better value than its rivals by a combination of ‘state of the art’ technology and stylish design, the XE will transform Jaguar from being a popular but small-scale car maker into a global player to rival its German rivals. If they achieve this goal it will bring a paradigm shift in the global automotive industry. One more ‘feather in the hat’ of its owners, TATA.
At a starting price of £26,995 for the basic petrol version, rising to £44,870 for the top of the range S model, the 2 litre Diesel SE Automatic which we were driving starts at an impressive £31,525 which would probably makes it the best seller of all the models and represents amazing value.
We arrived at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa relaxed after a three hour journey having been directed there by one of the best navigation systems I have come across. Guests arrive at this magnificent hotel by all means of transport including by heliocopter, the favoured mode of the seriously wealthy, and nobody would feel anything less than proud to arrive in a Jaguar XE.
For those who like to know the details here are Jaguar’s own specifications:-
• Aluminium-intensive monocoque – the first in its class
• Dynamic design, classic rear-drive stance
• Smallest, lightest, stiffest Jaguar saloon
• Most aerodynamic Jaguar ever: Cd 0.26
• Double wishbone and Integral Link suspension for precise handling and a
• High-efficiency 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel: 163PS; 75mpg, 99g/km CO2
• Supercharged 3.0-litre V6: 340PS; 0-60mph: 4.9s
• Six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions
• Electric power steering delivers benchmark response with CO2 savings of
up to three per cent
• Intuitive new InControl infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen
• World debut of Jaguar All Surface Progress Control: a revolutionary system that maximises
low-speed traction in adverse conditions
• Jaguar Drive Control with Eco, Normal, Winter and Dynamic modes
• Forward facing stereo camera technology enables autonomous emergency braking, lane
departure warning and traffic sign recognition
• Sat Nav as standard across the whole XE range
• Optional Laser Head-Up Display generates high-contrast colour images
• Deployable bonnet delivers enhanced pedestrian protection
• Pricing in UK starts from £26,995 on the road
Chrissy Jarman, Features Editor and Researcher
Chrissy studied at Southampton University and gained her degree in Fine Arts and Valuation