2018 Jaguar XE

2018 Jaguar XE Review

The Jaguar XE muscles its way into garages through style, driving experience and modern tech.
star edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

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.



what's new

For 2018, the Jaguar XE gets an upgraded four-cylinder engine and new driver assistance features. There's also a new top-trim S model with a supercharged V6 engine and a limited-run Portfolio model loaded with Jaguar's latest entertainment and connected technology.


we recommend

The XE range is broad enough to satisfy most buyers, from those just looking for a classy European sport sedan to those who enjoy courting traffic violations. We think the Prestige hits the sweet spot, offering the luxury features you expect in a Jaguar sedan — leather upholstery, heated seats, navigation, premium sound system — without ascending to the high-performance realms of the upper trims. Those who thirst for more performance can order the Prestige with a V6 engine, and you can even option the driver assistance features that come standard on the higher trim levels.




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.



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.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2017 Jaguar XE 35t R-Sport (supercharged 3.0L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

driving

Our test track observations are limited to the R-Sport, but the XE range is pretty varied. In general, we think the Jag is one of the top performing cars in its class.

acceleration

Jaguar claims zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds for the 380-hp XE S. We clocked an all-wheel-drive V6 R-Sport at 5.1 seconds in our testing. That's a quick, though typical, time for a small sedan with an upgrade engine. In general, the V6 is strong and smooth, and sounds sporting when you lay into it.

braking

In our testing, an all-wheel-drive V6 R-Sport slowed from 60 to zero mph in 116 feet, a respectable result. The Jag remains stable on panic stops from higher speeds. Around town, the pedal feels firm and easy to modulate.

handling

We found the all-wheel-drive V6 R-Sport very easy to control on our test track, with near instant and noticeable reactions. Brake-actuated torque vectoring helps keep the car turned and heading in the desired path of travel. The front end is very "pointy," and the car moves freely and willingly.

drivability

The XE's 340-hp V6 engine delivers silky smooth, effortless power that is pleasantly different in character compared with its competitors. If there's one disappointment, it's the unrefined automatic stop-start system that draws too much attention to itself.

comfort

The XE feels snug and intimate from the driver's seat. The supportive seat adjusts enough to accommodate taller drivers, and the ride quality remains comfortable on a variety of road surfaces.

seat comfort

Supportive driver seat and multiple adjustment capabilities mean drivers of all sizes should be able to find a comfortable position. Sport seats on the top-trim S even offer side bolster adjustments.

ride comfort

Jaguar knows how to tune a suspension. The XE maintains control and composure around corners, with a well-damped ride that soaks up bumps and never punishes you for its athleticism. The adaptive suspension's improvement on ride comfort and handling is well worth the extra cost.

interior

The cabin is attractive but lacks the visual flair that makes other Jags special. Cabin materials and assembly don't feel up to par with the competition. Rear-seat room is also disappointing.

utility

Small luxury sedans aren't known for their utility, so expectations are low. The XE's 15.9-cubic-foot trunk would seem to be among the biggest in the class, but it's actually a bit narrow. The trunk space offered in most competitors is more doable for day-to-day use.

technology

The 10-inch touchscreen has impressively quick processing speed and responds well to inputs. Its widescreen layout aids in functionality and gives it a modern look. Additional driver assistance features enhance already useful driver aids.

audio & navigation

The XE has three available audio systems, including a 17-speaker surround system. Navigation comes standard on the Prestige but is optional on the base XE and Premium. The base 8-inch touchscreen is nice but is smaller and slower to respond, with less advanced graphics, than the 10-inch option.

smartphone integration

Jaguar InControl Apps allow use of smartphone apps through the touchscreen display. Limited number of apps and popular ones, such as Pandora and Spotify, are absent, but includes iHeartRadio, Stitcher, parking and city-guidance apps. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

driver aids

Standard features include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and rear cross-traffic alert. You can enhance them with adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, parking assist and a surround-view camera system.

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.