After testing the Jaguar XE SE for 6 days, here is how we spent our time testing the car.
Day 1 – First Impressions
Waiting for the car to arrive I was excited to see exactly how this entry level Jag would fit in. The words ‘affordable’ and ‘Jaguar’ aren’t something that typically go together, until now. The car that I was waiting for was the Jaguar XE in SE spec, this is the lowest spec and in some ways it is the purest way to test an entry level car.
Looking at the front of the car, it was an absolute beauty. The Jaguar grille and headlights are the first thing that capture your attention. Even this base spec car has an aggressive look. From the side and the back the aggressiveness certainly wanes; the wheels on the test model had a certain Jaguar executive look, where some may prefer larger, sportier wheels. Getting around to the rear of the car, the boot lid has a seductive built-in spoiler lip that is just enough to bring back a bit of a sporty edge and the rear lights also give the car a few more bonus points, from me anyway.
Day 2 – Lifestyle Video Shoot
One of our videographers, Sam Mowels, wanted to create a lifestyle video with the car whilst we had it. It seemed a very fitting idea, so we went for it. The shoot took around 5 hours to film, start to finish. Waiting for the sun to rise we took the car to Frankley reservoir. The weather was windy and brutally cold so it wasn’t ideal to be standing out in the elements. Despite this, we set the car up and waited for the sun to rise. Once the sun had come up it was quite a nice setting, seeing the open water in the background on a frosty morning. We took a couple of static shots and also some panning shots on the roads surrounding the reservoir.
After around an hour we headed back into the city centre to start the lifestyle shoot. The shoot started at an apartment with ceiling to floor windows that meant we could overlook the Jaguar XE SE when it was parked outside. We then moved location to location around town, filming a mixture of rolling shots and stills.
Day 3 – On A Day-To-Day Basis
I had looked forward to testing the Jaguar XE SE for some time and being able to have a day running around in the car was a great pleasure. The driving position did feel a little low in the car to start with but after a day or so of driving around I got used to how it felt and actually quite liked it. My initial thoughts on using the 2.0-litre 4 cylinder diesel engine were of disappointment, but after a while I learned that this was my error. The 2.0-litre engine just needs a little more rev and it rockets along very well for a car this size. The 6-speed gearbox was very nice and the gear ratios were very well matched to the 163bhp engine.
Driving around on the weekend I learned that living with the Jaguar XE SE is a great experience. Considering the car is called an entry level car, this isn’t really a true reflection of the cars capabilities. It is really well rounded as a base, but has lots of great features such as an electrically operated boot lid, Xenon headlights and a feature-rich infotainment system.
Day 4 – Fun Behind The Wheel
For most of the day the car was parked up on the drive until the evening came and I had an excuse to get out in it. By now, I’m actually quite fond of the car. The Jaguar XE, even in the base SE spec, is a great package. The car is a great comfortable cruiser when you just want to go from A to B, but also the car can be great fun to drive when you properly get your foot down. The fact that the car is rear wheel drive means that putting the car into corners is fun also, the steering feeling is nicely balanced. I can only imagine what the sporty XE S feels like.
Day 5 – Jaguar XE Motorway Cruise
The XE is brilliant on the motorway and I can certainly see this car being a big hit for business people that spend their lives on the motorway and living at service stations. Once cruising on the motorway at 70mph the MPG figures of this car with the 2.0-litre diesel engine are at a sweet spot. In fact, the MPG figures during my entire test have been great.
The car was very comfortable, quiet and had little vibration on the motorway, these are all great traits of mile munchers. My trip took me around 3 hours doing an 130-mile round trip and I jumped out of the car feeling very impressed by the time I finished.
Day 6 – Night Time Shoot
For the last day with the car we had a night time shoot booked in. We wanted to try and create nice photography of the car and also had a final scene for the lifestyle video that Sam was creating. The final scene was just arriving home in the dark and turning the lights off in the apartment. This was soon wrapped up in around 30 minutes. Next, we had a guest photographer meeting up with us in the evening; Will Aron drove from Wales to joins us for the evening. We took a selection of pictures in different areas around town before arriving at our final location to do some light painting with the car. The light painting involved setting the car up in a dark environment then carrying out long exposure photography whilst lighting the car using torch light. It is never certain that you will get a good shot, but we like to give it a go.
It had been a great week with the car, and in the no-frills SE spec the car is a serious contender to the saloon market and will, without a doubt, give BMW and Audi something to worry about.