Jaguar has a storied pedigree, of course. Yet its efforts at building a competitive small luxury sedan have largely floundered until now. The 2018 Jaguar XE muscles its way into garages that once hosted other European stalwarts, doing it through a combination of style, performance and modern technology.
Key to this success is a varied engine lineup. There's a punchy four-cylinder gas engine, a fuel-sipping diesel four-cylinder, and a supercharged V6 available in 340-horsepower and 380-hp configurations. Pair any of these with the XE's exemplary handling and steering, and you have a clear formula for a fun-to-drive small luxury sport sedan.
There's more to this Jag than high-octane antics, though. The XE also offers much of the latest in-car tech and connectivity (including a large touchscreen interface, a digital instrument/gauge cluster and smartphone app integration) as well as a full suite of driver assistance and aids.
About the only disappointment we can level at the XE is the mediocre quality of its cabin materials and its relatively cramped backseat. But if you can live with an interior that's subpar for the class yet still pretty nice, and you don't plan to shuttle around too many friends, the XE is among the most fun and responsive sedans you can find in this group.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Jaguar XE is available in base (XE), Premium, Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport, and S trim levels. The first three trims introduce increasing degrees of luxury, sport and convenience, while the Portfolio is a technology showcase. The R-Sport and S models are high-performance centerpieces. Three engines are available across the lineup, all paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All are also available in rear- or all-wheel drive.
Base XE models start with a choice of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine (the 25t) or a turbocharged 2.0-liter, diesel-fueled four-cylinder engine (the 20d). The gas engine makes 247 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, while the diesel is good for 180 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque. Standard features on the base XE model include 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, power front seats, dual-zone climate control, simulated leather (Luxtec) upholstery, Bluetooth and an 8-inch touchscreen media interface. The base XE also features driver-selectable drive modes suited for rain, ice and snow conditions.
Premium trims are available with either four-cylinder engine or an optional supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (340 hp, 332 lb-ft of torque) and build on the base XE features with auto-dimming side mirrors, driver seat and mirror memory settings, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, a rearview camera, and an upgraded 11-speaker Meridian sound system.
Prestige and R-Sport trims also get the choice of four-cylinder gas/diesel or V6 engines. Prestige upgrades include 18- or 19-inch wheels (depending on engine selection), keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats with additional adjustment, power-adjustable steering column and heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, a navigation system, and Jaguar's InControl apps, which enables control of various smartphone apps through the touchscreen interface.
Moving up to the R-Sport includes features such as unique 19- or 20-inch wheels and exterior trim, adaptive xenon headlights (with LED accent lights), automatic high beams, upgraded leather upholstery and panel trim, and satellite radio. A host of driver assistance aids are also standard, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, automatic emergency braking, and front and rear parking sensors.
The S trim is equipped similarly to the R-Sport but only offers the supercharged V6 engine (with power increased to 380 hp) and all-wheel drive. Specific features include 19-inch wheels, upgraded front seats, enhanced leather upholstery, and upgraded aluminum and metal cabin accents.
The limited-run Portfolio model is equipped similarly to the S trim; it comes in only a tan interior-white exterior color combination and showcases Jaguar's technology offerings. Standard features include a navigation system, a 10-inch touchscreen interface, a 12.3-inch digital instrument/gauge display, a 3G Wi-Fi connection, a head-up display, a Meridian surround-sound system, customizable ambient interior lighting and a hands-free opening trunk. Heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and the R-Sport's driver assistance features are also standard.
Many of the additional features found on the upper trim levels can be ordered as options on the lower trims. A Driver Assistance package, available for R-Sport and S trims, enhances the standard driver aids with adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree parking camera system and an automated parking system. Certain XE variants can also be ordered with an adaptive suspension.
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.