JAGUAR LAUNCHES SMALL XE LUXURY SEDAN FOR 2017
By Tom Crosby
Jaguar is one of those automotive brands that’s achieved iconic status worldwide for quality and performance.
The XE is an all new compact luxury sports sedan with instantly addictive performance pleasure that will convert test drivers into customers. It joins the F-Pace, an SUV, as a second new 2017 Jaguar offering by owner Tata Motors.
We drove the subtly attractive and powerful XE 35t AWD R-Sport, top dog over three lower trims – base, Premium and Prestige. The 35t is the most powerful of three engine choices – two gasoline and one diesel – and there are all-wheel or rear-wheel drive choices as well.
Outside, minimal chrome and options including $550 for an Italian Racing Red metallic paint job helping highlight ten-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels, elliptical grille between cats-eye headlights and lower dual air dams.
The beltline rises slightly, ending above a trunk that expands to 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats folded and contains a spare tire. It’s a sports car masquerading as a sedan.
A Driver Assistance Package ($3,200) flush with safety features, a Technology Package ($2,700) that included a 10.2-inch capacitive touch screen, manual only navigation and Wi-Fi, and a $550 heads-up display with speed limits rounded out our options. The dashboard screen’s four standard quadrants – audio, climate, phone and navigation – are chosen by touch or a knob for extensive drill-downs.
Typical Jaguar style means premium perforated leather seats, tight quality fit-and-finish with a black and white color theme, contrast stitching everywhere and flawless sounding Meridian 380-watt audio system. Sporty front seats are comfortable and heated, along with a heated steering wheel.
Entry and exit may challenge taller adults and rear seats are scrunched, especially when six-footers or taller adjust front seats for comfort – a trait found in many sports cars.
Overall, the cabin meets Jaguar standards of luxury and comfort. That said, there are some things Jaguar can improve, like extending driver visors and notching the console cover for charging cords.
However, glitches are minor once the drive begins boasting a smooth, bump-absorbing ride and handling that instantly interprets and responds to steering wheel movements.
The stop/start function is jerky but underway, the supercharged engine requires constant attention as it seeks to demonstrate its prowess with acceleration responses that quickly enter speeding-ticket territory. The heads-up display keeps eyes on the road while noting the disparity between vehicle speed and posted speed limits.
LIKES: Looks, handling, quiet, ride, comfort
DISLIKES: Jerky stop/start, no voice navigation, rear seat space
BOTTOM LINE: Built for those who love driving a sports car
- Base price w/destination fee $52,695 ($60,135 as tested)
- Curb weight 3,795 lbs.
- Wheelbase 111.6 inches
- Length 183.9 inches
- Width 77.4 inches
- Engine specs 3.0-liter, DOHC, V-6, w/supercharger
- Horsepower 340-hp at 6,500 rpm
- Torque 332-lbs.-ft. at 4,500
- Transmission 8-speed ZF automatic w/manual paddles
- EPA Rating 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy
- Range 16.6-gallons, premium unleaded required
- Performance 0-60 in about 5 seconds