2017 Jaguar XE Review

2017 Jaguar XE - The new 2017 Jaguar XE sports sedan is set to challenge venerable German cars in its class..


Prices: $34,900-$46,500

The new 2017 Jaguar XE compact sports sedan has the goods to challenge established German rivals such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

 Jaguar long has offered sexy cars. Most buyers it is seeking with the XE likely have forgotten or are unaware of the old reliability problems Jaguar had before Ford bought it in 1990. Ford tore down the automaker's old plant and then poured money into it.

Financial circumstances caused Ford to sell Jaguar to India's Tata Motors in 2008. Tata is a large outfit that has maintained a "hands-off" policy in letting Jaguar be on its own and continue operations in England.

Smart move. Jaguar has come up with very competitive models such as the XE. It's expanding its lineup with this car, which is an especially important one for the automaker because it will draw younger buyers. Jaguar hopes such buyers will purchase its costlier models as they get older and more affluent.

The XE sure looks like a Jaguar, with its sweeping silhouette, long hood, short rear, strong rising waistline and athletic stance. It has a leg up on rivals with its weight-saving aluminum construction.

I found while testing the XE that its handy size makes it comfortable in crowded urban driving near downtown Chicago.

The XE could cruise all day at 85 m.p.h., but my test drive mostly was in the moderately heavy to heavy traffic that most XE buyers are expected to encounter.

I also drove the car on a large simulated race course marked by pylons, where it displayed almost sports car moves.

The electric power steering has the right amount of quickness, and the smooth ride is almost a Jaguar trademark. The ride is largely due to such things as a double wishbone front suspension and a rear suspension with an integral link system that delivers lateral and longitudinal stiffness for precise handling and a supple ride.   

Engines range from the 20d (turbocharged 180-horsepower four-cylinder diesel), 25t (turbo 240-horsepower gas four-cylinder)  and 35t (supercharged 340-horsepower gas V-6).

Trim levels are XE, XE Premium, XE Prestige and XE R-Sport. Rear- or all-wheel drive are offered.

Most list prices range from $34,900 to $41,700. However, Jaguar also offers an extra-sporty $46,500 R-Sport version. Its features include large front air intakes, satin chrome side vents, side sills and a discreet rear spoiler. No more horsepower, though.

The XE has a smooth, responsive eight-speed automatic transmission. It has Jaguar's console-mounted rotary shifter, which doesn't like gear changes to be rushed. Steering wheel paddles can be used for quick manual shifts.

The transmission shifted smoothly in Drive mode virtually all the time, but momentarily hesitated  between gears in slow bumper-to-bumper traffic when I accelerated a little, then quickly backed off the gas--and then accelerated again. With eight speeds, the transmission apparently was wondering what gear I wanted to be in.

I drove the 340-horsepower R-Sport to see how it fared during typical crowded urban/suburban driving. I wondered how docile this car is, considering it does  0-60 m.p.h. in 4.9 seconds and tops out at an electronically-limited 155 m.p.h.

No matter what the speed, the lush-life interior has fine-grain leathers and details such as contrasting twin-needle stitching. There's a choice of gloss black, textured aluminum and wood veneers for a hand-crafted feel

A new InControl infotainment system features an 8-inch capacitive touch screen that's easy to use. The "InControl Touch" supports Bluetooth, audio streaming and USB connectivity.

 Sound systems are a big deal to many luxury car buyers. The XE has two Meridan audio systems which have unique algorithms that tailor sound experience to the interior's acoustics. Systems range from 380-watt, 11 speaker systems to 825-watt, 14 speaker systems with stereo and surround-sound processors.

Heaven forbid an XE driver has an accident, but safety systems include adaptive cruise control, closing vehicle sensing, blind spot monitoring, semi-automated parallel and perpendicular park assist--and reverse traffic detection.

The XE accompanies Jaguar's first SUV, the F-Pace, and a redesigned XF sedan. Jaguar thus may be getting a better seat at the table.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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