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2017 Jaguar XE Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Jaguar XE was new.


Performance: 8.4

The 2017 Jaguar XE has a range of engines to suit every driver, ranging from a base turbocharged four-cylinder up to a punchy supercharged V6. There's even a fuel-efficient turbodiesel. The XE has nimble handling, and a cushioned ride.

  • "It's a car engineered for the driver who wants to feel the road through the steering wheel and the seat of the pants. While many cars, including the vaunted BMW 3 Series, have moved toward being more comfortable and isolating, the Jag XE doubles down on driving dynamics." -- Edmunds
  • Without question, the XE is a solid offering from Jaguar. But at least from the cars offered for testing here, in the area of pure driving fun, it isn't quite the best in the segment." -- Jalopnik
  • "The XE drives like a maxi-Miata, only without so much body roll. It's rolling proof that soft cars aren't always sloppy and sporty models needn't be stiff." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 XE is available with a range of engines, starting with the base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 240 horsepower. A turbodiesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 180 horsepower is available in all trims. All but the base trim can be equipped with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that delivers 340 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with all engines.

With either the base engine or the V6, the XE gets 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That's below the fuel economy of rivals like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. The XE's optional turbodiesel engine delivers much better fuel economy estimates, getting 32 mpg city/42 mpg highway, which is comparable to a 3 Series with a turbodiesel engine.

Models with the optional V6 accelerate from a stop in a hurry, and the engine feels refined, even when you floor the gas pedal. The turbodiesel engine has enough power to satisfy most drivers, but it delivers more sedate acceleration off the line. The eight-speed automatic makes quick, smooth shifts, especially with the JaguarDrive Control system set to Dynamic mode. Reviewers have done little testing of the XE with the base engine.

  • "Like Jag's supercharged V8s, the XE's 340-hp engine upgrade delivers silky smooth, effortless power that is pleasantly different in character compared with those offered by competitors." -- Edmunds
  • "We'll start with the diesel. Even though it has 318 lb-ft of torque, the 20d doesn't back up the promise of the exterior design when it comes to straight-line performance. From a stop, there's a sizeable and annoying delay from throttle application and actual acceleration." -- Motor Trend
  • "When I put the eight-speed automatic transmission in Sport mode and switched Jaguar's Configurable Dynamics setting to Dynamic, the connection between accelerator and power delivery felt direct and immediate. It was if my right foot had a direct line to the driveshaft, without all the intervening engine control electronics and plumbing. Flooring it made the little XE leap forward with no hesitation." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

One of the XE's greatest strengths is its superb handling. It takes corners with ease, staying level and composed so you can feel confident taking them at speed. Not only is the XE nimble, but it has a comfortable ride as well. Even with larger optional wheels, it absorbs bumps in the road. All models come with JaguarDrive Control, which lets you choose from Normal, Eco, and Dynamic modes to fit your performance tastes. The base XE comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive and adaptive suspension are optional.

  • "Its superlative balance between sharp, engaging handling and a comfortable, composed ride is among the absolute best in the entry-level sport sedan segment. This is a car that sets out to make a connection with the driver in a way that competitors have increasingly failed to do." -- Edmunds
  • "Ride quality is a high point. Factory wheels on the XE range from 17 to 20 inches in diameter and, with the adaptive suspension and 18s, the XE takes on broken pavement, tar patches and rapid elevation changes with outstanding control. The 19s introduce a degree of chop, but even then, ride quality still shows a lot of polish." -- Cars.com
  • "Hitting that Goldilocks zone, the XE is stiff, but not too stiff for an everyday comfortable ride. In Dynamic mode, the adaptive suspension retains pliability, adding to the comfort while allowing some lean in hard cornering. It strikes an important balance between an elegant weekly commute car and a satisfying weekend backroads driver." -- CNET

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