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Saturday, May 5, 2018

2018 Jaguar XE Review

2018 Jaguar XE Review
The 2018 Jaguar XE is the other, other compact luxury sedan. It aims high, and mostly delivers.

The 2018 Jaguar XE compact sedan improves on last year’s new car with a new engine and technology.


After a full model year in the U.S., the 2018 Jaguar XE gets incremental improvements to the range. Jaguar introduced a new turbo-4 this year, good for 247 horsepower and bumped the XE S model from 340 hp to 380 hp with the supercharged V-6.

The XE is still gunning for the BMW 3-Series, and hits the target in many respects, falling just short in others. Jaguar’s promise of a true sport sedan is fulfilled by the XE’s rear-wheel drive, lightweight body, and newly available 380 hp in the S line’s supercharged V-6.

This all adds up to a package that works well, mostly. We rate it 7.4 out of 10, for solid ride quality and handling. 

Jaguar XE Styling and Performance
The XE brings a sense of subdued style with an exterior form that draws on its Bavarian rival while smoothing the overall silhouette and profile. There isn’t much flash to the XE’s trim, though top models get a mesh grille, chrome fender vents and big front air intakes. R-Sport models get their own body kit and wheels.

Inside, the story is the same, with function taking the front seat. Avoiding some of the glitz that past Jaguars (and even the current XJ) have scattered throughout their cabins, the XE’s interior is adorned with plenty of gloss-black trim and just enough soft-touch material to feel expensive. As the centerpiece of its interior landscape, the XE features a responsive 8.0-inch touchscreen, which can be expanded to 10.2 inches with a full 12.3-inch virtual gauge cluster as a new option for 2018.

The 2018 XE is a performance high-achiever in all trims, with acceleration that ranges from good to mental, and with refined road manners.

The base model is fitted with the brand’s new 2.0-liter turbo-4, good for 247 hp and a 0-60 mph run in less than 6-seconds. Jaguar’s plucky turbodiesel returns this year, with 180 hp and accelerates to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. The gruff but powerful 3.0 liter supercharged V-6 engine is also back, still sporting 340 hp, which will push the XE to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

New for 2018, the XE is available in S trim, which bumps the already adequate power of the V6 to 380 hp. All models are available with all-wheel drive, and all powerplants come connected to a smooth-shifting 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission

The XE’s Adaptive Dynamics, which allows driver customization of engine and suspension settings, is available on all trims and standard on the S. The car is stable and poised at highway speeds and happily chews up miles when the roads get curvy—the XE is a dream on the road.

Jaguar XE comfort, safety, and features
The XE measures 183.9 inches long, and rides  on a 111.6-inch wheelbase. Those numbers work well for a sporty ride but won’t win over back seat passengers. Seating up front is supportive and comfortable, and it’s available in synthetic or full-leather wrappers depending on trim level. The XE suffers from a common affliction in this class, it lacks a reasonably sized back seat. Many passengers, even smaller sized ones, will find head and knee room lacking and awkwardly shaped door sills that make for difficult entry and exit.

The base model 2018 XE comes in at $36,720 with destination fee. Options and trim level additions quickly drive the price well over $50,000. Tack on another $2,500 for all-wheel drive on any model. All cars come with plenty of standard equipment and a good warranty/service plan combo.Upgraded trims add navigation, larger wheels, a host of safety and driver-assist tech, and more powerful audio systems, to name a few.

Jaguar’s InControl infotainment system returns in all XEs this year, with the standard version measuring 8.0 inches corner to corner. Bluetooth audio and USB connectivity are standard as well. The Pro model steps up to 10.2 inches this year, adding a 12.3-inch virtual gauge cluster with the ability to display full-screen navigation and other detail. SD card navigation, mobile hotspot, remote start and locking/unlocking are included in the Pro upgrade.

Styling
The Jaguar XE is a great-looking sedan that takes no risks on styling.

The 2018 Jaguar XE is proportionate and handsome, but as with most in this class, the design is a pretty standard affair.

We rate the XE a 7 for styling. While it creates a more lasting visual impression than an 3-Series, we still miss some of the visual drama that adorned Jaguars of the past. 

Where the 3-Series has set the sport sedan styling bar for years, the XE raises that bar. In this car, Jaguar has a look that muscular and also elegant. Distinct, large grille and air intake fixtures give the XE an unmistakable Jaguar-esque appearance, while profile and rear views show off a subdued and sweeping design that bests the 3-Series at its own game.

Inside, three trim choices are available: aluminum, wood, or piano-black, rounding out a muted, sporty look that sidesteps the glam of Jaguar’s XJ and XF sedans. A rotary transmission control dominates the center console, and gauges styled like those on the F-Type are framed by a thick steering wheel.

Performance
The Jaguar XE shines with the best of the competition with incredible ride and handling.

Three engines, rear- and all-wheel drive configurations, and solid handling gives the XE more than enough street cred to compete with the heavy hitters in its class.

We give the XE an 8 for performance, thanks to its solid engine choices, fine transmission and road manners.

Jaguar XE Drivetrains

Now in its second year, the XE’s engine lineup still clocks in at three choices. The entry-level four-cylinder has been replaced by another powerplant of the same size, producing 247 hp over last year’s 240 hp. We haven’t had an opportunity to test this configuration yet, but we’ll update this section once we do.

A 2.0-liter turbodiesel carries over from 2017, offering a more relaxed pace and better fuel economy. Based on the same Ingenium architecture as its gas-sipping cousin, the diesel powerplant is smooth and quiet and is well-matched to the 8-speed transmission.

Jaguar’s flagship engine in the 2018 XE is its 3.0-liter supercharged V-6. With 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque on tap, the big V-6 idles like an old-school V-8, low and burbling. With a romp on the throttle, the V-6-equipped XE will run up to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s properly fast, but it gets better: the 2018 XE S offers a power bump to 380 hp.

Ride and Handling
Suspension geometry and components are a repeat from 2017, and that’s a good thing. The lightweight aluminum body and perfectly weighted electric power steering nearly best top contenders in the class, though we still slightly favor Cadillac and BMW in this regard.

Thanks to the assortment of wheel sizes, ride and handling dynamics for the XE can vary greatly. Our consensus is that the XE has exceptional freeway tracking, like the ATS, and has a fluid graceful feel that elevates it above the second-tier players in this price and size niche.

All models are planted and consistent at speed, with ride quality that is perfectly damped and tuned for the various wheel sizes offered on the XE. This is a completely different animal than vintage Jags and can make models from even 10 years ago feel a bit sloppy. There's a bit of bounding baked into a standard suspension that refuses to clamp down harshly on the road; its tires are just soft enough to smooth the edges of almost everything it encounters. An adaptive suspension package is offered; we'll update these driving impressions once we've spent more time with it.

Comfort & Quality
The 2018 Jaguar XE is enough car to quickly haul four people around, but only just.

Built on the same basic architecture as the larger, more expensive XF, the Jaguar XE is a chopped-down version of the big sedan. This adds up to a package that wins for a sport sedan but punishes anyone forced to ride in the back seat for any length of time.

We’ve rated the XE a 7 for comfort and quality. The front seats are great and storage is ample and useful, but in other respects, interior room is just average.

None of that is unique to the XE in its class: the C-Class and ATS are lacking too.

We have no gripes with the front seats. Bolstered and padded where it matters, the seats are nicely matched to the car’s athletic abilities. Base models get pleasant synthetic leather trim, while upgraded trim and options packages offer real leather and heated or cooled seats.

The back seat is tight, and the shape of the rear door opening makes entry and exit comical to watch. On this shorter-wheelbase sedan, the rear door cuts are small at the bottom and wide at the top. Shoulders slip in easily; feet, not so much. Once inside, a reasonably sized 6-foot adult can sit behind themselves, but we're not promising any grand vistas or excesses of head or knee room.

Trunk space is reasonably sized at 15.9 cubic feet and is a standard shape to maximize utility. Interior storage space is adequate for all the usual “stuff”, from smartphones to spare change.

We took issue with the well-constructed, but almost under-styled, interior. Some fiddly control placements annoy us—why are the window switches up high on the door caps, and the door lock button down low—the opposite of what we expect?

Safety
The XE’s crash test data is not available yet, but there is plenty room for more standard safety tech.

Since neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the Jaguar XE, we're holding off on assigning it a safety score. 

All XE sedans get the usual airbags and stability control.

The XE does not offer a rearview camera as a standard feature, something that is available standard on many non-luxury sedans.

Other driver-assist and active safety equipment is optional, including blind-spot monitors, parking assist, head-up display, adaptive cruise, and forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking.

We’ll update this page when more data is available.

Features
Base models are missing some key features, but Jaguar's service plan can't be beat.

The XE is available in a variety of trim and powertrain choices, with all- or rear-wheel drive available on nearly all models.

We give the XE an 8 out of 10 for its vast options list, useful infotainment, and its warranty and service plan. 

The new turbo-4 and existing diesel models come in all- and rear-wheel drive and are now offered in R-Sport trim. V-6 models are not offered in base trim, starting in Premium and topping out with a limited Portfolio edition.

Base pricing clocks in at $36,720, with destination, for the rear-drive turbo-4 model, with AWD bumping the price by $2,500. Diesel and V-6 models start at $38,220 and $43,520, respectively.

Base models get 17-inch wheels; power features; cruise control; automatic climate control; eight-way power front seats; fixed rear seat; paddle shift controls; synthetic leather; sunroof; LED taillights; and keyless ignition. At this level, there's no rearview camera, no leather, no split-folding rear seat, but all cars come with Jaguar EliteCare, which offers bumper-to-bumper warranty and maintenance for 5 years or 60,000 miles. It's a serious reason to consider Jaguar above its luxury rivals.

Jaguar XE option packages
Other features are bundled into those trim packages. Premium models get a folding rear seat; rearview camera; a 380-watt audio system with 11 speakers; and 18- or 19-inch wheels, depending on whether they're fitted with or 4-cylinder or the 6-cylinder.

The Prestige package is the one we'd start with. It adds navigation with voice control; metallic trim; leather; power front seats; heated steering wheel; keyless entry; 18-inch wheels (4-cylinders); 19-inch wheels (V-6); and heated front seats.

The spicier R-Sport adds blind-spot monitors; parking sensors; forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking; lane-departure warnings with active lane control; satellite radio; automatic high beams; LED daytime running lights; sport seats; an R-Sport front and rear bumpers and side sills.

Notable options in packages include heated seats, steering wheel, and windshield (base and Premium); blind-spot monitors and parking sensors (Premium and Prestige); cooled front and heated rear seats and a power gesture trunklid (Prestige and R-Sport); surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise, and parking assist (R-Sport); and InControl Touch Pro with 825-watt audio (Prestige and R-Sport).

Stand-alone options include a rearview camera; satellite radio; InControl Touch navigation; a head-up display; and adaptive driving modes.

Jaguar XE Infotainment and Audio
A responsive 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard in XE models for 2018. Bluetooth with audio streaming and USB connectivity are included. The InControl Pro bumps the screen size to 10.2 inches and adds navigation, mobile hotspot, and remote vehicle control features via a mobile app. Included with InControl Pro for 2018 is a new 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster, which delivers full-screen navigation and customizable gauges in front of the driver.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have not yet made their way into the firmware for 2018, but audio streaming is available directly from apps on a connected smartphone.

The InControl systems are intuitive and responsive to touches and swipes. We've experienced glitchy Bluetooth streaming, stiff radio toggles on the steering wheel, and thin and reedy sound from the Meridian sound systems. We give it credit for big displays and lots of functions; just double-step the smartphone systems and we'll be happy.

Fuel Economy
The Jaguar XE offers a diesel that's reasonably quick and great on fuel.

The XE’s three engine configurations deliver competitive fuel economy across the board.

We’ve rated the 2018 XE 7 out of 10 for its outstanding diesel fuel economy and moderately stingy gas engines. 

2018’s new turbo-4 delivers 25 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined. The diesel powerplant is good for an impressive 30/40/34 mpg rating while maintaining a decent level of performance. V-6 models see 20/29/23 mpg ratings, which are competitive in-class. All-wheel drive pushes those numbers downward a bit, but not far enough to lose a competitive edge.

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