By Cars.com EditorsOctober 5, 2016
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The all-new 2017 Jaguar XE luxury sports sedan is a lotta fun to drive, but you gotta put up with a few significant drawbacks to get there.
The all new Jaguar XE, is a lot of fun to drive, but you got to put up with a few significant drawbacks to get there. First off about that driving, very, very good power here in the XE. A supercharged V6 in our test car, it's optional in the car.
Very good accelerator response, something that Jaguar doesn't probably get enough credit for, especially considering the accelerator lag that seems rampant among luxury cars of all stripes. Not so in the XE, the pedal responds immediately as soon as you hit it and lots and lots of power. Torque comes early, stays late. Very nice there. In terms of handling the XE's dynamics right up there with the best in this class, cars like the BMW 3 series, the Cadillac ATS. The nose hugs the line, steering is immediate, very lifelike response. You can slide the tail around as much or as little as you like very good dynamically there. And it really doesn't penalize you in terms of ride quality either. Very nice and settled over major bumps. Overall a very controlled chassis, comfortable for long trips even. So what about some of those limitations? Well, a major one is space both in the front seats and the rear seats, just not a ton of headroom in the XE below the moon roof in our test car, which by the way opens a whopping that much. Down lower you get a very wraparound cockpit here and larger drivers are going to notice, especially versus some competitors like the Audi A4, there's a very big center tunnel here, which inhibits kind of knee room, leg room to kind of stretch out there. The door is over here. Just an odd mix of kind of material surfaces here. The window sill, where arms would often go is actually sloped outward, not a real comfortable position there to rest your arms. Visibility, very low windows around you. The windshield rake doesn't make it very, very high to see out of, and the rear window, very small, even when you flip down the rear head restraints, just not a great view straight out back. Now also, you don't have to look around very far to see where Jaguar did a lot of cost cutting in terms of interior materials, competitors like the BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C class have a very nice level of consistency from top to bottom. You get below arm and elbow level here in the XE. Not very hard to see where there's a lot of cheaper, kind of lower budget plastics. Now, one area Jaguar does win in the XE, trunk space. About 16 cubic feet overall. That's more like a midsize sedan not a compact sports sedan. So the XE, not a bad effort from a brand that hasn't had a car in this class in nearly a decade. Certain competitors hit it out of the park in some areas, from the roominess of the Audi A4, to the outright quality of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and warts certainly show up in comparison for the XE but, fire it up and drive down a twisty road, and this Jaguar redeems itself in a very big way. How much that matters to you will determine how much you should consider one of these.