Walking up to this particular Jaguar, I felt a sense of urgency to run up and jump in the driver seat and go off and have fun, but I didn't. Instead, I entered in the Jaguar and was greeted by a warm seat getting all toasty for me on this cold and chilly Friday morning. Hillary, who is an automotive consultant for Jaguar of Cherry Hill, was already in the passenger seat telling me all of the little details about the XE I was about to drive. As I examined the interior in front of me I noticed there was a dial you had to use to change the gears. Fancy I thought. After I had selected "D" by turning the dial, we set off. Instantly, the exhaust greeted me like a long lost friend I haven't seen in a while.
The XE set off quite nimble getting out of the dealership, but when I was driving towards the highway I was given a sudden surprise, I had driven over a decent size pothole near entering the I-295 entrance. The suspension and 18 inch wheels absorbed it like it was nothing but I had already cringed at the noise of the tire going in and out of the road hazard. No worries though. Upon entering the highway I opened up the flood gates after pushing in the dial and turning it to "S" for Sport mode. The throttle made the car catapult with it's 340 horsepower supercharged 3.0L V6 at a linear, but yet very fast speed in which I was unaware of until I looked at the speedometer. The dual-clutch transmission shifted gears faster than making the clack noise after clicking the paddle-shifters. And before I knew it, the exit came up to get off the highway.
I found a nice road where I was able to test the XE's capabilities in "S" mode and they did not disappoint. The steering was sharp and light. The all-wheel drive added with the torque vectoring technology Jaguar put in helped me get in and out of corners with little to no under steering. The car stayed planted to the ground which gave me more confidence in the XE than I thought possible. The electronically-assisted steering felt natural and almost not there. Subtle is a better word. The suspension in "S" kept the car well-balanced that reduces it's body-roll to naught. There was no tire squeal going into the corners but the cat threw me back in my seat after accelerating. Going into those roads with the Jaguar felt like riding on the back of an animal in how it can quickly get to a turn, stop, turn, and quickly exit to the next corner. The agility making the left, right, left, right turns felt like the car was hopping elegantly from side to side but yet stayed in a straight line avoiding objects in it's way. After the road came to an end we headed back to the dealer.
Now the Jaguar XE doesn't go without any faults or quirks and issues that I find a bit annoying. The main quirk I have with it is also one of it's luxurious features and that is its wind screen. It is heated by the same type of wire you see in the rear window that acts as the defroster. The XE at one point was fogging up because I didn't have it on so Hillary showed me how to turn it on and the fog went away almost instantly and evenly. But the problem is that I have is with the wire. You cannot help but to notice them and when you try to ignore them, they are very interfering with what I am seeing out the front of the car. The wires are thinner than the back windows' but they were visible enough to be annoyed. Now I know this technology is young but I cannot wait for it to get to the point where the wires are pretty much invisible. Another problem was the brakes while waiting at a red light. You really have to have your foot down on the pedal to ensure the car will not move. In any of my cars, I rarely have to put pressure on my pedal for the car to stay still. On the XE, I had it happen a couple of times where my foot was down but the car still slowly moved forward. I was not a big fan of that. My last little problem was with the steering wheel. For me, it just felt unnatural with it being heated and that was just it. Now I know these are not actually problems but they are things that can get intolerable. Th only 2 solutions I can make and do are keeping the heated steering wheel off and plant my foot on the brake harder while sitting at a stop light. As for the windshield, it is up to Jaguar and the rest of the engineers of the world.
What I really enjoyed most was the exhaust, suspension, and interior. Mainly the interior. It is so simple but yet elegant. The gear selector is the coolest gadget of all about it. It elevates down after shutting the car off and elevates up when you start the car. Another little amazing do-dad Jaguar put in the car that I never noticed is the pulsing engine start and stop button. It pulses 71 times within a minute just like the heart of an actual jaguar. How spectacular is that? It's the little things I can see and appreciate.
This particular XE is based at $45,000 and some odd change but after options, the total price tested is a little over $51,000. That is comparable to the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Acura TLX, and BMW 3 Series. For me, if I were to choose my next car, it would be tough decision between two of the four on this review. People who have read any of my previous articles know which car I am talking about not liking. I have yet to drive the new 3 series so I have no right to make a comparison between it and the Giulia, and the XE. But for the sake of some of the XE's quirks I like the Giulia more. I can deal without the wired windscreen, heated steering wheel, and even the pulsing button to have an aesthetic looking interior that just flows and blends together. I can deal with a turbocharged four pot and a slower shifting gearbox.
But if I was given the keys to the Jag, I would never think twice before driving off down the road without looking back.