Follow Us:

The sportier car

The Jaguar XE slays with looks and tech but loses out on space.

DHIRAM SHAH | New Delhi |

Each time we come across a new Jaguar, we reserve our excitement because it isn’t an F-Type. And we’ve made peace with the fact that what we could expect would be structural improvements and an odd surprise here and there. And that’s just what the all-new 2020 Jaguar XE brings to the fore. This here’s a car that focuses on the comforts and premium-ness of the cabin. It could be a good bet when you’re placed alongside the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series at the starting line. We took the 2-litre petrol version for a spin and gained insights on what the mission of the Jaguar XE could be, in the Indian subcontinent.

Nothing looks sportier: The aforementioned competition could never even dream of getting out of their design grids to try something as radically unsettling as the XE. The 4- door configuration automatically puts it into the consideration set of Indian buyers, but there’s so much more to look forward to. As has been a trend with most cars that bear the suffix ‘2020’ on them, the grille of the XE has gone taller and visibly wider. Meaner looking headlamps upfront are slimmer but sharper and add character to the front of the car. The full LED headlamps also add an LED graphic element that animatedly signals other drivers, when the indicators are on. The air-vents are placed higher than we’re used to seeing in most cases. The rear headlamps are slimmer as well and the bumper has been revamped with cool air vents.

High on tech, high on luxury, low on space: It’s forgiven if you believe that every 4-door sedan is built to accommodate four people of any size. The XE looks promising like that, but only from the outside. My 6-foot frame didn’t fit in naturally in the rear seats. The leather and fabric employed throughout the cabin add a touch of premium pride to the ensemble. You can customize the cabin to suit your whims and Jaguar spoils you with a spread of high-quality leathers and color themes. The tech is ample and impressive within that cabin and you can feel its influence right from the steering wheel to the center stack. And we mention the center stack because it has undone the touchscreen debacle from the car’s predecessor to bring back tangible knobs that help the driver stay focused on the road ahead. Safety over clutter, always.

The climate control and driving modes can be toggled form here. Both, the steering wheel and the gear-shifter have gone slimmer and look more modern and sportier. What really takes the cake is the technology behind the dualscreen In Control Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. The Meridian Sound System is impressive and can connect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You have wireless charging, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and blindspot monitoring as well.

Comfort and control behind the wheel: Driving the Jaguar XE can be blissful if you haven’t tried anything better, in this segment. Everything feels sporty as soon as you grab the wheel and the seats welcome you with a secure hug. The suspension of the car will keep you close to the ground, which is a welcome shot of confidence around tricky turns. With 247 horsepower, 269 pound-feet of torque, and 8-speed transmission, you get the Jaguar Drive Control technology that offers four main drive modes, from ECO to raindrive. I found the Electric-Assist PowerAssisted steering (EPAS) incredible when it came to driving assistance provided behind the wheel, especially at higher speeds. The gear-shift response isn’t the kind you’d expect from an Audi A4 or a BMW, but the steering is light and connects with the driver well.

Conclusion: If you’ve been waiting for the 2020 Jaguar XE then there’s ample for you to look forward to. If you’re new to the category, take the new BMW 3 Series or an Audi A4 for a spin first. If it’s the sporty good looks you want, then the XE takes the cake but picking a car that’s more agile and spacious for the Indian family of four, then the others seem like better bets.