JAGUAR JUMPS INTO LUXURY
SPORTS SEDAN SEGMENT WITH 2017 XE
I’ve always tended to look with favor on new Jaguars, even when they didn’t deserve such recognition.
You don’t have to go all that far back to come to a time when their technology (i.e., navigation and audio systems and the operation thereof) was at least a half-step, if not a full pace, behind that of their competitors, and they were late coming to market with convertibles with tops that automatically folded neatly into an enclosed compartment instead of requiring you to get out and snap in place a tonneau cover.
And then there were the issues like about how Aunt Jane once had a Jaguar and it was always in the shop.
But since Tata Motors bought the famed Brit brand from Ford in 2008, Jaguar seems to have undergone a product revitalization, an example of which is the F-Type coupe and convertible introduced in 2014 and featured in current television ads.
The droptop is unquestionably my favorite Jaguar and one of my favorite luxury cars period.
But Tata didn’t stop there.
With the 2017 Jaguar XE, the company dives into the thick of the compact luxury sedan segment by taking on the traditional leader of the class, BMW’s 3 Series, along with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and others. If you’re tired of browsing in Teutonic showrooms, the XE gives you a good reason to shop around.
The XE comes in four trim levels (Base, Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport) and with three different engines offered for each, starting with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (240 horsepower, 251pound-feet of torque) and including a 2.0-liter turbodiesel (180 hp, 318 lb.-ft).
The XE Prestige 35t model I had for the past week came with a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 that is shared with the F-Type and tops the power range at 340 hp and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. It scoots from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, according to company clockers, and I have no reasons to doubt their numbers. With optional all-wheel drive, it’s a tenth of a second quicker. (Times for the smaller-engine 25t model is 6.5 seconds and for the diesel 7.8.)
All the engines are mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted via steering wheel-mounted paddles or put in Sport mode for some extra punch.
Fuel efficiency for the four-banger is listed as 21 miles-per-gallon city, 30 highway, and 24 combined. For the 35t, it’s the same with RWD models and 20/29/23 with AWD. Jaguar hasn’t released numbers for the diesel and they aren’t available at www.fueleconomy.gov, but they’re expected to be better than those for the gasoline models.
I’ve always liked the exterior styling of Jaguars. They have a very distinctive look about them that sets them apart from their competitors. You never have to check out the badging to confirm it’s a Jaguar.
That’s certainly true with the 2017 XE. Though it doesn’t have traditional Jaguar cat leaping from the hood — the company opted instead to go with its other signature logo, the Growler, in the front grille, the all-new XE isn’t going to be confused with any other make from any other manufacturer.
Inside, the Jaguar XE has a distinctive look as well, thanks in part to the rotary dial gear selector that rises from the center console when the start/stop button is pushed. The cabin is uncluttered, which is both good and bad. It takes a bit of time to get used to how the various infotainment features are operated, and the navigation map kept asked me to log in to my account, which I didn’t have. Response to voice commands was about average. Overall, though, the systems aren’t overly complicated to operate, and they’re a big improvement over what Jaguar offered a decade or so ago.
The ambiance of the interior is very classy, and the front seat is rather cozy. The backseat? Well, three passengers supposedly fit back there, but I’d hate to be the person in the middle. Truck space is on the generous side with a capacity of 15.9 cubic feet.
Pricing for the XE 25t (2.0 turbo) starts at $34,900. MSRP for the diesel version is $36,400. The 35t (3.0 supercharged) starts at $41,700.
The 35t Prestige model I had included optional Vision (HID headlights, headlight power wash, high beat assist, front and rear park assist, blind spot detection and reverse traffic detection) and Technology (10.2-inch touchscreen, navigation, surround sound, and Wi-Fi) packages with a base price of $45,600. Add the destination and delivery and total charges were $46,595.
What I liked about the 2017 Jaguar XE 35t Prestige: It’s beautiful on the outside and comfortable on the inside. Especially when set in Dynamic and Sport mode, its responses are quick and deliver a true sports sedan performance.
What I didn’t like about the 2017 Jaguar XE 35t Prestige: The infotainment system could be simpler to operate. A dial to flip through radio stations, for instance, would be a good addition. Somehow, I hit something that turned off the radio, and it took a while to figure out how to get it back on. Kind of reminded me of the time several years back and I accidentally turned off the audio on a BMW and I ended up pulling over and stopping the car and turning off the engine to start all over to get it back on.
Would I buy this car: Yes. It’s at least worth a look, especially if you are looking for something distinct from the usual BMW-Mercedes-Audi mold.