Jaguar has a lot riding on its 2017 model year products with the launch of the F-Type SVR supercar and the F-Pace crossover, but it’s the 2017 Jaguar XE that will likely turn out to be the most critical to the brand in terms of both its heritage and future sales.
The 2017 Jaguar XE went on sale earlier this year standing as the entry-level sedan for Jaguar slotting below the XF and XJ, but the most important role for the XE will be stealing sales away from the competition. Not only is the 2017 Jaguar XE tasked with going toe-to-toe with the BMW 3 Series, but it also competes in a segment that also includes the Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. To see where Jaguar fits in against these well-established nameplates, I was able to spend a week in a 2017 Jaguar XE decked out with the performance of the 35t AWD drivetrain and the luxury of the Prestige trim level.
2017 Jaguar XE Exterior:
Visually, the 2017 Jaguar XE looks like a scaled down version of the stunning Jaguar XF with its upright grille, cat-like headlights its sculpted body lines. In standard form, the overall styling of the 2017 Jaguar XE is more understated than its competitors, but that can easily be changed by opting for the aggressive R-Sport trim level or some added options as this tester had. This particular car had a sinister look to it with the $550 Ammonite Grey paint job, the $350 Black Design Package (which added gloss black accents to the grille, fender vents and side window moldings), the $1,000 blacked-out Venom five-spoke, 19-inch wheels and the optional Bi-Xenon headlights with the stylish “J-Blade” LED daytime running lights.
2017 Jaguar XE Interior:
Like the exterior, the cabin design of the 2017 Jaguar XE clean and uncluttered, but this is where you can really tell the XE’s price point. The main touch points like the seats, steering wheel, center console and shift lever are all high quality, but everything else is a bit disappointing. Worse yet, there are only a few differences in materials between a base XE and a fully loaded version of the sedan, which can literally cost twice as much. As a driver’s car, the cabin is canted toward the driver’s seat, and there is a good amount of room for the front occupants; the same can’t be said for the rear seat, but that is just par for the course among the XE’s competitive set. The 2017 Jaguar XE does have a sizeable trunk, however, thanks mostly to its squared-off rear haunches. One of the oddest parts of the XE’s interior is the multi-tiered front door panels, which places the seat memory controls in a place where the power window controls would be more intuitive.
As much as it sounds like I didn’t like the inside of the 2017 Jaguar XE, that just isn’t the case. The seats are comfortable yet supportive for sportier driving, and Jaguar did a lot of work to make the interior very quiet. The Prestige trim levels adds features such as navigation, keyless entry, power-adjustable steering column, power front seat lumbar support, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, upgraded leather seats with contrasting stitching and Jaguar InControl Apps. Options include the $2,400 Vision Package Xenon headlights, Auto High Beam Assist, front and rear parking aids and Blind Spot Monitor with Reverse Traffic Detection and the $2,700 Technology Package with an upgraded 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro display screen, integrated Wi-Fi hotspot and the 17-speaker, 825-watt Meridian Digital Surround Sound System. The Jaguar InControl infotainment system has a high-quality display screen, but it takes a while to get used to and it doesn’t offer modern plug-in apps such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2017 Jaguar XE Performance:
No matter what price range we are talking about, luxury buyers expect to get plenty of choices when it comes to selecting their next vehicle, and the powertrain options available on the 2017 Jaguar XE allow this sedan to fit in with just about any taste and budget. Those looking at bang for the buck can opt for the 240-horsepower XE 25t with its turbocharged four-cylinder while eco-friendly buyers have the diesel-powered, 42-mpg XE20d, but for buyers looking for the best performance, the XE 35t is the way to go. This model is powered by the same 3.0-liter supercharged and direct-injected V6 found under the hood of the F-Type, and it produces 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque allowing the sedan to accelerate from 0-60 mph in five seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph.
This engine lacks the rumble from the exhaust that has come to define other Jaguars and purists will complain that there is no option for a manual transmission, but you have to drive the 2017 Jaguar XE to appreciate it. As you would expect from a car wanting to be mentioned in the same breath as the BMW 3 Series, the 2017 Jaguar XE is an absolute blast to drive. The suspension is setup allows this car to carve corners like a champ without feeling too rough in normal driving, and the brakes and electric power steering are extremely responsive. The engine is paired to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic, and the optional torque vectoring all-wheel drive is able to send up to 90 percent of the engine’s torque to the front wheels for optimal traction in all weather conditions.
The four-mode JaguarDrive Control system allows drivers to fine tune the driving dynamic of the XE with the Standard, Eco, Dynamic or Rain/Ice/Snow mode each giving steering and throttle different sensations, but it’s the Eco mode that helps the XE get anywhere close to its EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway**.
2017 Jaguar XE Safety:
Starting with a sturdy structure made of aluminum, the 2017 Jaguar XE protects its occupants with a safe and rigid passenger compartment without making the car feel overweight. The 2017 Jaguar XE has yet to be tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but this sporty sedan is available with all of the latest safety technologies like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Surround Camera System, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Keep Assist, radar-based Adaptive Cruise Control.
2017 Jaguar XE Overall:
Jaguar might be late to the compact sport sedan party, but the 2017 Jaguar XE has definitely been worth the wait, and the current five-model lineup makes Jaguar stronger than ever. Only time will tell how this baby Jag will truly impact the growing premium small car, but the updated lineup is definitely paying off as Jaguar has been seeing some of its best sales figures in more than a decade. The price point for the 2017 Jaguar XE starts at $34,900* for a base XE 25t and tops out at more than $65,000 if you check every single option box on the XE 35t R-Sport, and while the 2017 Jaguar XE 35t AWD is priced right in the middle of the XE lineup starting at $48,100, this XE 35t AWD Prestige had an as-tested price of $57,845.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Jaguar dealership and test drive the 2017 Jaguar XE today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.