Out on the road, the XE is a joy to drive. It's as smooth as a Jaguar should be, but it's also nimble and responsive. The diesel engine is quiet, but you'll really feel the 318 pound-feet of torque under your foot. The XE diesel moves out smartly from a stop, or when you're passing on the freeway.
Every once in a while, a car comes along that I really don't want to give back at the end of my test week. The 2017 Jaguar XE is one of those cars, and I'll explain why.
Diesel engines have dropped in popularity in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, but Jaguar's diesel engines use a proven emissions control system that meets all relevant standards. Jaguar uses a product called Diesel Exhaust Fluid that is available at any auto parts store. The fluid is sprayed into the exhaust stream, where it mixes with the exhaust gases and burns up harmful emissions in the catalytic converter. A year's supply of DEF costs less than $20, and you can fill the tank yourself. It's as easy as topping off the washer fluid.
With that out of the way, let me tell you about the Jag XE. This is Jaguar's compact sedan, but you wouldn't know it. The XE feels bigger inside, like a mid-size. When you get in the XE, it's all top-shelf luxury. The seats are supportive and comfortable, with 6 levels of heating and cooling in the front row, and heated seats are available in the back, too. I had the R-Sport trim level, which features red and black leather seats and a racing-inspired interior, which was tastefully done and quite appealing.
The XE features an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment interface as standard equipment, but the R-Design trim upgrades that to a 10.2-inch screen with enhanced navigation, voice control, and split-screen capabilities. Climate controls are easy to use, mounted right under the touchscreen.
Out on the road, the XE is a joy to drive. It's as smooth as a Jaguar should be, but it's also nimble and responsive. The diesel engine is quiet, but you'll really feel the 318 pound-feet of torque under your foot. The XE diesel moves out smartly from a stop, or when you're passing on the freeway. The test car also came with Jaguar's AWD system, which sends most engine power to the rear wheels under dry conditions, but which can send up to 90% of power to the front wheels when required.
One of the best things about the Jaguar XE is the small range in price between the most basic car possible and the top of the line. To buy the least expensive XE, you're looking at about $35,895. But you can get into the diesel starting at $37,395, and if you go all-in with the options, you can get the XE as I tested it for $49,995. Compared to other European compact luxury sedans, that's an attractive proposition.
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD
Base price: $37,395
Price as tested: $49,995
Type: Four-door compact sedan
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo-diesel (180 hp, 318 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 30/40
Road noise: Very Quiet
Curb weight: 3320 pounds
Final assembly: Castle Bromwich, England