First long trip in our new Jaguar XE long-termer; I'm hankering after an ex-army Jeep; VW's scandal means we're all under scrutiny
Steve Cropley Autocar
19 October 2015

MONDAY - First decent drive in our Jaguar XE diesel long-termer, a round trip of 150 miles: London, Midlands, Gloucestershire.

This is the 178bhp diesel with eight-speed auto, which strikes me as top value, given that it starts around £32,000. It goes, too. I was surprised to discover its 0-60mph time was only 7.4sec, because the powertrain – comprising a 2.0-litre diesel with 317lb ft plus eight easy-shifting ratios – gives a strong response at any speed.

One criticism: having driven quite a few electric cars lately, I’d like the XE’s response to be more linear, especially from rest. Like many, the Jag gives you a pause followed by a surge.

The best thing for me is the superb driving position. Knowing how many packaging hurdles designers have to negotiate, I can hardly believe how tailored it is: perfect seat shape and position, ideal control layout and instrument view, great sight lines. It will be a wrench to give this car back.

TUESDAY - Latest dopey idea: buy an ex-Army Jeep. Actually, the idea’s not so new. I’ve had it since I was a kid, when some of my father’s friends in outback Australia drove about in vehicles they’d bought straight from the forces for £100. We laughed at their crudity back then.

Now, I see a wartime original as the perfect garage companion for a Lotus Seven or Citroën 2CV: huge capability combined with supreme simplicity.

Take a look at the Milweb site, said a helpful friend, you’ll find dozens. I did and he was right, but as a result the idea died. Ten grand gets you a basket case, the number of varieties is intimidating, false provenance seems an issue and, like many simple, high-value vehicles, Jeeps attract bodgers. Think I’ll just keep enjoying other people’s as they drive by…  

WEDNESDAY - Interesting to see how some quarters of the wider media have taken the VW furore as an excuse to lambast the specialist motoring websites for an imagined dereliction of duty. Autocar has largely escaped, not least through the efforts of Mr Holder, whose appearances as a radio and television pundit have increased as he has become known as an island of common sense in a sea of misinformation.

Still, motoring hacks are being criticised for parroting highly optimistic ‘government’ fuel consumption figures (nonsense: here, we’ve been running our own since 1927), for being motivated by a love of car launch ‘jollies’ (nonsense: after a while, the luxury is staying at home) and for being too close to the industry (arguable: but that’s how you discover what’s new and what’s true). It’s all a reminder of something critics should always remember: it’s easier to criticise than praise.

THURSDAY - Disappointed to see Toyota, proponents of low-carbon motoring, describing its Auris Hybrid as “the hybrid you don’t have to plug in”. This strikes me as an unhelpful piece of opportunism. Portraying a car as easier to use because it’s dirtier also seems quite out of character.  

FRIDAY - The Chargemaster bloke came to Gloucestershire today to fit our electric car charging point. My immediate plan is to use a Kia EV to go the 95 miles back and forth to London. Kia’s official range claim is 132 miles.

Mr Editor Burt has already used the car for an 87-mile round trip and returned with 19 miles to spare, so I’m not worried about conking in transit. The interest will be in discovering how fast the Kia EV can cruise. I’ll be happy with 65mph, which I reckon will be a breeze.

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Our Verdict

Jaguar XE

Jaguar's first attempt at a compact exec saloon is good - very good. But can the XE hold off the BMW 3 Series and Alfa Romeo Guilia to retain its crown?

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Comments
6

19 October 2015
read the last line of Wednesdays entry, then Thursdays! Practice what you preach is another of those things to remember....
And then the line about a hybrid being dirty in light of the Jag you are lionising and the Jeep you want to buy...

19 October 2015
I don't see plug-in hybrids as especially clean, at least not in the UK considering our power stations. One advantage with the latest Auris is that it actually looks like something people might want to buy, unlike the last one.
I like the XE, but for diesels, we need a proper discussion on whether or not cities are going to try and ban them, as that makes any purchase of one right now a bit risky.

19 October 2015
Rich boy spanners wrote:

I don't see plug-in hybrids as especially clean, at least not in the UK considering our power stations.

The point of them, though, is that if charged as intended from the mains, and used in electric mode in cities, they can improve localised air qualities there. The overall issue, as you indicate, still remains though. There are of course objectors to wind power and other generation schemes. It's a bit like a bubble of air under the vinyl wallpaper, push it and it just pops up somewhere else as a problem. It still bugs me, though, that public service vehicles do not "switch off" when in congested conditions.

26 November 2015
Rich boy spanners wrote:

I don't see plug-in hybrids as especially clean, at least not in the UK considering our power stations. One advantage with the latest Auris is that it actually looks like something people might want to buy, unlike the last one.
I like the XE, but for diesels, we need a proper discussion on whether or not cities are going to try and ban them, as that makes any purchase of one right now a bit risky.

I think you are right about buying diesel. I've recently changed from a diesel to a petrol car. I miss the diesel economy and being able to cruise on the motorway at less than 2000rpm. I'll await the report from Parliament about emissions and establishing new tests for detection of NOx. If diesel gets a clean bill of health I can see myself reverting back.

23 October 2015
Steve, we have a Soul EV, its fantastic but 95 miles on one charge in the winter may be a stretch, you would probably have to travel at 55mph as you will have to average > 3.5 miles/kWh. If there is a well located rapid charger on the way a 10 minute top up would be more than sufficient. I am sure you will enjoy the experience and our 'fuel' costs have been 1p/mile during the first 6 months.

26 October 2015
My goodness, the VW saga has held a mirror up to the “specialised” motoring press and found it wanting.

It has obviously touched a nerve.

To those who find this journals usual fawning VW family coverage a little saccharine, the problem would appear to be finding anything to criticise at all. Praise is determinedly not a problem. ”the best everyday driver’s car this kind of money can buy” used be a bit of BMW PR spin - it’s apparently now good to go on the Golf R - the everyday £30k one.

There is no argument that the motoring press is far too close to the industry and the contention the truth somehow emerges from the symbiotic relationship is a dubious contention.

Plenty of critics vent their frustrations though these pages with little effect beyond the troll epithets from the fan boys.

This “sun shines out of the twin oval exhaust” coverage is why I stopped buying any magazines at all.

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