Is there anything interesting about its design?
Design guru Ian Callum has bridged the Ford and Tata eras as Jaguar’s director of design, and masterminded the style of everything in the current catalogue.
He’s managed to create an entirely new and distinctive design language, with just a hint of Jag-ness in exactly the right places.
The XE’s exterior is smooth, clean and perfectly proportioned. Although only 4.7m long, 1.8m wide, and 1.4m high it looks like a much larger car; a testament to Callum’s expert eye. It’s also the most aerodynamically efficient Jaguar ever, with a Cd figure of 0.26.
The sleek, feline headlights have become a signature Jaguar element, as has the subtle curve contained in the brake lights as a tip of the hat to the Series I E-Type’s tail-light cluster.
Inside, the personality is dialled down somewhat. Yes, the bold, upright boarder curving gently around the back of the dashtop looks like the boundary fence on a village cricket oval, and the handsome colour-stitched seats look and feel the business. But take away the Jaguar badges and this could be mistaken for any number of other prestige/premium offerings. The instrument cluster and main console set-up are borderline generic.
That said, there are some recognisable JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) touches on board. For example, the colour multimedia screen, TFT info screen in the main instrument cluster, cupholders between the front seats, and rotary transmission controller, even the key, are likely to look familiar to Range Rover Evoque owners.
Despite the move away from tradition in terms of visual design, Jaguar maintains its long held links with the British monarchy, providing vehicles by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen (as well as her troublesome husband and difficult eldest son).
And one thinks one might not be amused by some build quality shortcomings ‘we’ discovered during our week with the XE.
For example, panel gaps and alignment at various points around the car, especially the base of the A-pillars was iffy, with some external rubber panel join pieces also out of shape.
And no matter that this is the entry point to the entire Jaguar range, it’s still a $60k car, and one would expect some trim and sound deadening around the roof of the boot aperture (under the parcel shelf), rather than exposed, lightly painted metal. Likewise, rough cut-outs in the carpet-like boot liner to accommodate the bootlid’s support arms would not go down well in the House of Windsor.