We treat our Jaguar XE long-termer to some of the UK's best stretches of tarmac. How does it perform?
The B4632 between Stratford-upon Avon and Cheltenham is, according those who know these things, one of the best driving roads in the UK.
It’s a road that would seem well suited to a car that, our road testers say, is the most pleasing to drive in its class.
As luck would have it, I was signed up to attend an event in Newbury, west Berkshire, a few weeks ago.
I had to be there in the afternoon, so I devised a route that took me the long way round — up the M40 to Stratford-upon-Avon, then across to Cheltenham on the B4632 and down to Newbury on the kind of country roads we like to use for testing.
On the motorway leg, the XE was flawless and the first 90 miles were quiet, comfortable and economical, broken by only a quick stop at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, right next to Jaguar Land Rover’s headquarters.
I saw three other XEs on the way as well. They’re spreading.
The B4632 starts like many country roads, winding through olde worlde hamlets and villages outside Stratford before rising into the countryside. And, God, it’s a good road, with turns in all the right places and stunning scenery.
Here, the XE really came into its own. With Jaguar’s Drive Control system turned to Sport mode and the transmission controlled by the wheel-mounted paddles, the XE is very engaging to drive.
Its steering is weighted beautifully and it feels superbly planted through every turn. I love the throttle response in Sport mode, too.
The only letdown was the noise. Instead of the brilliant sound of the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 available in the XE S, my soundtrack was the hum of our car's 178bhp Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Still, that drive demonstrated why our road testers think so highly of the XE. It’s an easy and very enjoyable car to drive quickly, but also one that can revert back to being a comfortable motorway cruiser at the push of a button.
In a sub-£35,000 junior saloon, that’s a real achievement by Jaguar’s engineers.
Awkward to get in to
Blame it on middle age or the fact that I’m now a regular SUV driver, but I found the XE notably awkward to get in and out of when I borrowed it for a long weekend.
The door openings are relatively small, the seats are low-set and you have to fold yourself up when entering in an effort to avoid cracking your head on the roof.
I’ve driven two-door coupés that are better in this respect. Allan Muir
Jaguar XE R-Sport 2.0 I4 180PS
Mileage 9760 Price £34,775 Price as tested £38,210 Economy 46.7mpg Faults Infotainment system glitch Expenses None
Read our previous long term reports here: