Entry-level though it might be, the 2022 Jaguar XE R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD packs some serious credentials on paper. Trent Nikolic samples Jaguar’s saloon that promises to deliver bespoke English luxury on a smart budget.
- Engine and gearbox are excellent
- Exterior design is classy
- Entry grade doesn’t feel entry
- Heated and cooled seats standard please
- Second row is tight
- Boot a little awkward to load and unload
Following the streamlining of its range, the Jaguar XE is now a very simple, two-model affair and the 2022 Jaguar XE R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD we’re testing here, is the effective entry-level model. It certainly feels more premium than that, though. And, for brevity, we’ll call it the Jaguar XE, henceforth.
This used to be a significant segment globally. Luxury medium sedans were once the battleground for buyers with a budget who were looking to step up from smaller, more affordable cars as their jobs and salaries allowed. Things have changed now, with luxury SUVs the preferred weapons of choice, good, bad or otherwise.
Still, the luxury sedan makes a lot of sense as the driver’s option. Stylish, well specified, and engaging to drive, they still make a lot of sense.
Starting from $68,679 before on-road costs, our Jaguar XE tester is sensibly optioned with the as-tested price sitting at $73,849 before on-road costs. We say sensibly, because in the Jaguar world, it’s easy for options pricing to get right out of hand.
Our test car feels premium and well executed, and anything but an entry level model, without the asking price blowing out. You could even forgo the panoramic roof, and the fancy rear seat, to save even more cash. Still, this is a premium feeling car, without it costing an exorbitant amount.
The Jaguar XE has a tough row to hoe, too, punching on with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo and now Genesis, just to name a few. The hearts and minds of the medium luxury sedan buyers are well catered for, there’s no doubt about that.
What the XE does promise though is a stylish exterior, quality interior, engaging driving experience, and that dash of British panache that promise to give it a unique appeal in this age-old segment.
In stunning Bluefire Blue, our tester looks beautiful from any angle, and stands out in the general flow of otherwise grey commuter traffic. Jaguar has a long history of building beautiful sedans and saloons and the current XE carries that tradition on.
The grille is aggressive, as are the headlights, but there’s an elegance to the design as well. It’s not all bonnet bulges and faux aggression.
Fitted standard with the black exterior pack, the XE R-Design gets a slightly under the radar, stealth bomber appearance, which suits the drivelines perfectly. There’s a raft of gloss black trim around the exterior, along with dual tail pipes. Premium LEDs are standard up front, and deliver the angry cat light signature, along with animated rear indicators.
Our tester rolls on beautiful (stay well away from gutters) gloss black 19-inch rims, and 225/40 R19 rubber for a spot-on appearance without the wheels being overly big. Red brake calipers won’t be for everyone, but we reckon they work well with the sporty aspiration.
|Key details||2022 Jaguar XE R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD|
|Price (MSRP)||$68,679 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Bluefire Blue|
|Options||Technology Pack – $2160
Panoramic Roof – $1900
Privacy Glass – $650
40:20:40 rear seat – $460
|Price as tested||$73,849 plus on-road costs|
|Rivals||BMW 3 Series | Mercedes-Benz C-Class | Alfa Romeo Giulia|
A Jaguar cabin needs to feel like a special, premium place to be – and my feelings about the white interior aside – the Jaguar XE is exactly that. I don’t have an issue with what the pale interior looks like. It looks beautiful… when it’s brand new.
Buyers with kids and weekend sport warriors need not apply. I always worry when I see a cabin that is this stark, that it’s going to get very dirty very quickly, no matter how fussy you are. In Jaguar-speak, our tester has Light Oyster perforated leather sports seats with contrasting ebony trim.
The seats themselves are comfortable and provide plenty of electric adjustment so nearly everyone will be able to get comfortable. We’d like to see heating and cooling standard rather than optional, however.
Even the tallest Drive testers had no issues getting comfortable behind the wheel. Keep in mind though, that tall occupants up front, will eat into legroom for passengers in the second row. Visibility is excellent from all four main seats, and both driver and front seat passenger have a commanding view of the road ahead.
Jaguar has moved away from a rotary dial gear selector, instead going back to a conventional lever, and it does nothing to clutter up the centre console. There’s a smallish, but useful storage console at the elbow point, and two cupholders next to that behind the shifter.
The door pockets are useful for most day-to-day items, too. There’s also a 5.5-inch screen below the infotainment screen, which operates the climate control system, and it’s easy enough to use, even on the move.
Our test Jaguar XE featured the wireless charger, which sits neatly ahead of the shift lever. I don’t love wireless chargers given how much they can heat up a smartphone, but the charge pad does prevent your phone from sliding all over the place. The sunroof was also optional on our test car, and while I’m not a huge fan of sunroofs in general, this one didn’t eat into headroom too much, so that gets a tick.
Onto the second row again, while legroom can be tight, the seat itself is comfortable and neatly sculpted, and you can knock over a long road trip easily back there. So long as the driver and front seat passenger aren’t super tall as mentioned.
Second row occupants get air vents, but no other controls. Visibility out the back window is decent, and you don’t feel like the roof is closing in on you.
The boot is just under par in terms of the class itself, and it’s a bit tight which may provide some insight into why so many buyers prefer SUVs. Offering 410 litres, it’s still useful and will suit plenty of buyers, but if you carry really large items often, you might find it a little on the small side.
|2022 Jaguar XE R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD|
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Jaguar XE steps up to the brand’s latest infotainment platform found in other members of the Jaguar Land Rover family. The system works, and works reliably. We found Bluetooth to work well for us on test, and the provision for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a near-expected feature in 2022.
Some have opined that the lack of wireless smartphone connectivity is a negative, but I prefer a cabled connection where available.
The Meridian sound system features 400 watts, and 13 speakers, with plenty of punchy sound response. You also get DAB radio, an interactive driver display, dynamic volume control, a second generation activity key, and over the air update capability.
Our test XE was fitted with the Technology Pack, which costs $2160 and adds a wireless charger, smart rear view mirror, head-up display, and an upgraded ‘twin view’ 10-inch touchscreen that can show different images to left and right seat occupants.
The screen itself was clear and responsive for us on test, and was visible in every light condition we tested through. It’s responsive to inputs and doesn’t lag while it waits for a command to action. Even getting in, the system pre-loads before you start the car so that’s instantly ready for your first input without having to boot up.
The driver gets an excellent 12.3-inch interactive display, which is bright and can be customised to suit your preferred layout. The chunky steering wheel gets the usual array of buttons and controls along with paddle shifters, and the gauge layout can be traditional in that it can display two round dials at the outer edges with mapping in between them for example.
There’s a bit to work out in terms of vehicle control, displays and switchgear, but once you do become familiar with it, the Jaguar system is an easy one to navigate.
Safety & Technology
Tested back in 2015, the Jaguar XE received a full five-star ANCAP safety rating at the time, as you’d expect of the segment and price point. There’s a long list of standard safety equipment in line with that test result.
Stability control, all surface progress control, torque vectoring by braking, emergency brake assist, speed sensitive steering, 3D surround camera with forward traffic detection and forward vehicle guidance, adaptive cruise control with forward alert, queue assist, intelligent emergency braking with low speed manoeuvre assist, blind spot assist with vehicle sensing, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, driver fatigue monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, adaptive speed limiter, and tyre pressure monitoring are all standard.
There are also power operated child locks, and two rear ISOFIX points at the outboard seats.
|2022 Jaguar XE R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD|
|ANCAP rating||Five stars (tested 2015)|
|Safety report||Link to ANCAP report|
Value for Money
Our knock on Jaguar value for money largely revolves around the cost of the options. On paper, the standard vehicle is rarely what we would call exorbitantly overpriced, but the cost of select options can start to blow the price out pretty quickly. However, this Jaguar XE on test felt like it could have cost a whole lot more than it does. That’s a good thing the way we see it.
Starting from less than 70 grand before on-road costs, the options added, brought the price up to $73,849 before on-road costs. When you factor in the stylish design, quality cabin, and the driving experience, that makes this XE present as good value for money. Likewise, the servicing costs, which at $1350 for five years or 102,000km, are well within what we’d call the optimum range for a luxury car.
|At a glance||2022 Jaguar XE R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 16,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1350 (5 years)|
On test, we used an indicated 8.2L/100km against the official claim of 6.8L/100km. Two things to note here. The official claim is frugal. And secondly, our real world return is impressive, given we didn’t try at all to hypermile at any time during our testing period.
We knocked over a decent highway run, but the real world return is a decent one, in a segment where contenders with similar performance can often be a fair bit thirstier. Once again, modern turbocharging and engineering comes to the fore.
Fuel Consumption – brought to you by bp
|Fuel Usage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||6.8L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||8.2L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||63L|
We get behind the wheel of any Jaguar and expect it to feel sporty – whether that is fair or not – and the good news is the XE doesn’t disappoint.
The four-cylinder turbo petrol engine and gearbox are an excellent pairing, once again displaying the quality of the eight-speed automatic. There’s all-wheel drive beneath the skin, too, but the XE behaves predominantly like a rear-wheel drive car, sending drive to the front wheels when it detects it needs to.
A punchy 221kW and 400Nm are more than adequate for this segment and to get the 1690kg XE moving either off the mark or when you want to add some speed on the move. Peak torque is on offer from just 1500rpm, once again illustrating just how effective the modern, small capacity turbocharged engine can be in the real world.
You can of course access faster, more powerful sedans in this segment, but you don’t need that extra pace. 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds is more than swift enough to feel like you’re moving rapidly.
The eight-speed automatic is smooth, decisive and precise no matter how easily, or how enthusiastically, you’re driving. It finds the gear it wants and stays there, never hunting up and down through the ratios and never feeling choppy or slow to react.
A relaxed commute is as enjoyable as a rapid weekend country run along a twisty back road. The Jaguar XE is always a fun platform to drive.
Ride quality is another strong point. Direct steering means you can pick your line and fire through it, but if you do encounter mid corner ruts and bumps the XE is rarely unsettled. If it does take a hit, it settles quickly and gets back to the job of heading where you’re sending it.
The whole experience is smooth and composed, encouraging you to have some fun on the right road, without breaking the speed limit. Just like a good sporty sedan should.
The Jaguar XE is sharper through corners than you might expect, aided no doubt by the AWD system at the limit, but largely a result of the quality of the platform itself. This is a well sorted sedan, that handles the power on offer easily and with composure, and is both balanced and solid on the road.
|Key details||2022 Jaguar XE R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||221kW @ 5500rpm|
|Torque||400Nm @ 1500-4500rpm|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Eight-speed torque convertor automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||130.8kW/t|
Jaguar’s XE sits in a strange no-man’s land in a segment where BMW and Mercedes-Benz get the Euro attention.
Audi and Volvo are also scrapping for mass market attention now, too, with Genesis and Alfa Romeo also staking their claim. And yet, despite flying under the radar to some extent, Jaguar XE provides a stylish and credible alternative for those wanting a classy saloon with a smattering of English attention to detail.
The Jaguar brand carries with it the weight of history – both good and bad – and the current XE is a worthy flag bearer. Sedans don’t get the love they should, but any time behind the wheel of a car like the Jaguar XE is a potent reminder of why we shouldn’t all just rush to the nearest SUV.
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