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Arval’s pick of the range:
Jaguar XE SE 163hp 2.0 diesel auto
The XE is Jaguar’s upper medium, executive saloon. A newer entry to the segment than most of its rivals, the XE is a great looking car and has the dual benefit of low running costs and a rear-wheel drive set-up, which makes it terrific fun to drive, while a smart interior and comfortable ride only add to its appeal.
Among the XE’s biggest draws is its driving experience, because it strikes an excellent balance between a sporty, engaging set-up and comfort. Its rear-wheel drive layout and crisp steering make it sharp, responsive and ideal for keen drivers, but the ride is supple enough to be really comfortable when you just want an easy trip home from the office or a long, relaxed motorway journey. Refinement is superb too, so the XE can do cruiser or sports saloon just as well.
The XE comes as standard with the manufacturer’s JaguarDrive system, which allows the driver to toggle the settings between Standard, Eco, Dynamic or Winter, each of which alters the steering responses and the sensitivity of the throttle.
None of the available engines are short on power; they’re all smooth and punchy, while the eight-speed automatic gearbox has a particularly slick change. Four-wheel drive versions are also available, while the top-end XE S is a highly potent range flagship.
The Jaguar XE is very well equipped as standard and is available in SE, Prestige, R Sport, Portfolio and S guises. Key items of standard spec are:
Prestige (in addition to SE)
R Sport (in addition to Prestige)
Portfolio (in addition to R Sport)
S (in addition to Portfolio)
Standard SE models are very well equipped and give company car drivers all the essentials, so there’s little need to go for higher trim levels – unless, of course, your choice list allows it. The 163hp 2.0-litre diesel engine is powerful enough to satisfy most and has the lowest emissions of the range; it’s particularly good when paired to the eight-speed automatic transmission, though, which is why it’s our choice.
The XE looks just as good on the inside as it does out. It shares many of its interior features with the larger XF, which means you get smart touches such as a gear selector that rises out of the centre console on automatic models, a slick, wraparound dashboard and plenty of gloss black trim.
Being a compact executive model, build quality is of the highest order, so the Jaguar’s cabin is both well put together and a delightful place to sit.
Passengers enjoy plenty of space, especially in the front, while the XE’s boot can accommodate up to 455 litres of luggage.
Great looks, fantastic handling and a level of comfort that defies its dynamic abilities, the XE is both a great driver’s car and a terrific company car. Factor in the low running costs, heaps of standard equipment and splendid automatic gearbox and it’s as sensible as it is appealing.