It’s because they are invariably carrying mountains of gear and need to accommodate cameras, tripods, luggage cases and all the rest.
We’ve noted in the past that, at 455 litres, the XE’s boot is smaller than those of its rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but videographer James Holloway said he was impressed by how our swallowed all of his gear. That said, some clever packing was required. He also noted how the slope of the boot floor made loading larger items difficult — something I found too, when I took the XE on a family holiday late last year.
I’ve also had the chance to try an extended stint in the XE’s back seats. As one of our game-changing cars of 2016, the Jaguar was due to appear alongside some of our other Autocar Awards winners at our Silverstone event. With the driver’s seat already filled, I bundled into the back, having lost the battle for the remaining front seat.
It’s a consequence of the XE’s coupé-like silhouette — one of its strongest virtues, in my opinion — that the car’s roofline slopes dramatically towards the rear, which means getting in and out of the rear cabin isn’t exactly dignified. You have to remember to dip your head more than you would in other saloons, or receive a painful reminder halfway down, and once you’re in, it isn’t what you’d call spacious.
It’s fine for children and smaller adults, but anyone over six feet tall is likely to struggle over long distances. The journey to Silverstone, for example, took 90 minutes, and by the end I’d lost contact with my lower limbs.
Still, once the XE was at Silverstone it didn’t look out of place next to its seriously exotic companions. Jaguar’s designers have really worked wonders here, and the XE looks better than anything else in this class, especially with the sports bodykit our R-Sport model wears.
With the Autocar Awards over, I faced the motorway trek to get home again. It was gone 11pm and I had to be in the office the next morning, so it was time to make what our road test department would call ‘rapid progress’ back home.
Halfway back down the M40, I noticed two things. Firstly, that it’s a real shame lumbar support isn’t included as standard on any XE model. For a £30,000-plus car competing in this market, that’s something of an oversight. James said he’d rather have lumbar support and forgo the electric seat adjustment on our car.
Secondly, the xenon headlights, which are standard with R-Sport models, do an excellent job of lighting the road. They’re bright enough to make using full beam unnecessary in most situations and offer great clarity.
Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 180 R-Sport
Mileage 11,080 Price £34,775 Price as tested £38,210 Economy 46.3mpg Faults Infotainment system fault (fixed) Expenses None Last seen 25.5.16
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