'Jaguar's baby saloon has had a facelift' - Test driving the new XE

Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, lets us in on the secrets behind Jaguar's new baby saloon, the XE.


Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, lets us in on the secrets behind Jaguar's new baby saloon, the XE.

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

Jaguar’s baby saloon, the XE, has had a facelift. While it may not look very different, inside it’s all new, with a load of tech that’s standard at entry level. There’s a simplified choice of engines and equipment, making decisions easier in the dealership.


The new XE looks very similar to the old XE: only new bumpers and lights distinguish it. We tested a bright blue model with tan leather interior, which was a pretty swish combo. The XE is in fact one of the most handsome saloons on the market: in our opinion it’s better looking than the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class which it competes against.

Inside is where all the changes lie, however, and here it looks like a very different car.


This is where all the improvements are. Although the new XE is pricier (by about £2,000) than the previous version, you get a load of new kit as standard, including Apple CarPlay, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera.

If you order the Touch Pro Duo set-up, you get the swanky two touchscreens that are in the new electric I-Pace SUV; they control satnav, ventilation, music, phone, driving modes and more.

You can also order ClearSight, which for a few hundred pounds transforms the reflection in your rear-view mirror into a live feed from the rear-mounted camera, giving a wider, clearer view.

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The important question here is: is a saloon the right choice for you? Few people other than those choosing a company car buy a saloon the days, preferring SUVs, hatchbacks or estates. But saloons often look better, and always handle better, than SUVs, with big boots and plenty of room for four adults inside. If you don’t have kids, or at least don’t require a big tailgate for a pram system any more, it’s worth trying out a saloon.

The XE has electrically adjusting leather seats as standard, and an enormous boot for suitcases or a month’s shop. It’s also incredibly quiet inside on the motorway.


You have the choice of a diesel engine (the D180) or one of two petrols (P250 and P300). There’s only one gearbox: an eight-speed automatic, but you can choose rear-wheel drive, for more sporty handling, or all-wheel drive for extra grip on slippery surfaces like wet grass.

We’d suggest the P250 as the pick of the bunch - it’s fast (0-60mph in 6.2 seconds), smooth, quiet and more economical than the P300; the diesel sounds gruff and has little appeal. The numbers, by the way, denote the power output of each engine.


The XE starts at £33,915, which puts it up there with the BMW 3-Series, a well specified Land Rover Evoque, the Volvo S60… it’s worth trying a few different makes, models and body shapes. For example, compare an XE with a top-spec Volvo XC40: one’s a saloon and one’s a baby SUV, but a small, active family who like their creature comforts would be happy in either. The choice is yours.

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