Jaguar XE review: Not what you’d expect from an executive saloon

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When you think of Jaguar cars, you think of prestige and large, refined saloons – and from the outside at least, the new Jaguar XE continues the trend. Released in September last year, the Jaguar XE offers a classic combination of performance and luxury, but adds modern design like sharp headlights, a grand-looking grill and a powerful diesel engine. But what about the in-car technology and connectivity? To find out how the Jaguar’s new executive saloon compares in the tech stakes, read our Jaguar XE review below:

Jaguar XE 2016 review

Driver assistance and safety 3/5

The Jaguar XE is a fast sports coupe, and the driving position is low and close to the road. It’s a seating position that’s perfect for driving, but it can make manoeuvring the vehicle a little difficult. And that’s where the Jaguar XE’s optional £530 Parking Pack comes into play.

Unlike many other cars in this executive saloon category, the Jaguar we’re testing doesn’t have semi-autonomous parking, but it does come with a couple of helpful aids. Front and rear cameras use a wide-angle lens to help you get a good view of the area immediately around the car, and the Jaguar overlays yellow guidelines on its 8in centre-mounted screen to show you where the car will end up.


Both of these systems work in conjunction with proximity sensors, so the closer you get to another car, the more frequently they beep. The Jaguar XE also displays guidelines to indicate your closeness to another car: yellow is fine, while red lines and a continuous noise mean you’re getting too close.

If you find the cameras distracting, the Jaguar XE lets you swap them with a top-down, graphic view. Just like before, the Jaguar XE warns of closing objects with yellow lines, with audible indicators and red lines keeping you safe from collisions.

In practice, the system worked well, and the audible warnings along with the visual stimuli made me confident when getting the car in and out of some particularly tight spots.

In addition to parking assistance, the Jaguar XE comes with a range of features to make driving safer. There’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and lane departure warning as standard, and Jaguar’s decision to provide blind-spot detection as standard – via lights in the car’s wing mirrors – is welcome too. 

UI and controls 2/5

The model we used was fitted with Jaguar’s InControl Touch infotainment system, one step below the 10.2in InControl Touch Pro system. The InControl Touch system is fitted as standard on all Jaguar XEs and comes with an 8in screen. From a driver’s point of view, this screen is legible, but get closer and you’ll soon see jagged lines and pixels on curved objects and text. It isn’t the last word in sharpness.

Still, the Jaguar XE’s display is at least bright, and offers punchy colours in the dim light of the Jaguar’s luxurious interior. In the overcast to sunny conditions I tested it in, I found it easy to read and reflections weren’t a problem.


However, that’s where the positives end. Startup time is surprisingly slow (around eight seconds, typically) and when the Jaguar’s UI eventually hoves into view it isn’t worth the wait. It looks crude compared with what I’ve seen in other cars such as the Volvo XC90 and even the cheaper Golf GTE.

The first screen you see is split into four quarters, providing quick shortcuts to the the system’s core functions – Media, Climate control, Phone and Navigation.

Alas, it isn’t the most responsive of touchscreens, with almost all actions accompanied by a short, irritating delay. While fairly unobtrusive on the XE’s less graphically intense menu screens, the lag is harder to ignore when using the car’s music and navigation systems, but I’ll get to those later.

If you don’t want to use the laggy touchscreen, there are shortcut buttons – the touchscreen has four on each side, giving you quick access to the car’s core functions – which are large and easy to press with an outstretched finger. They feel cheap, however, and lack the sophistication you’d expect from a Jaguar.[gallery:4]

To keep your eyes on the road, Jaguar also places many of the car’s functions on the steering wheel. When combined with other buttons and the car’s paddle shifters, the steering wheel looks daunting and very busy, but I soon became accustomed to using it without looking. 

In the same way, the Jaguar’s voice control system is far from intuitive at first, but useful once you understand it. Unlike the Golf GTE, which highlights the commands you can speak on screen, you have to memorise the commands, but once I’d read through the tutorial and memorised a few of them it worked reasonably well.

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