Jaguar XE

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By Tim Saunders

The Jaguar XE is a dazzlingly sleek sports saloon and finished in striking red it is exceptionally desirable. But is it family friendly?
As a driver’s car it takes some beating. This low slung cat will hit 60mph from standstill in under seven seconds and go on without complaint to 146mph.
This is a mild hybrid, very similar to a self-charging hybrid but with a smaller battery. It is comfortable and responsive although in eco mode there is a slight delay from the automatic gearbox when setting off but this can be improved by going into dynamic mode. Surprisingly there are no paddleshifts. A neat touch on the side of the black leather front seats is a label informing us of Jaguar’s heritage. Not long now till the brand is 100 years old. It shares some design features with Land Rover, for instance the knob for turning on the radio. While the temperature dials are certainly a clever design they do take some getting used to. A single dial incorporates everything from the speed of the fan, to the overall temperature of both the car and the driver’s seat. Same for the front passenger.  The speed and sat nav directions are cleverly projected onto the windscreen in front of the driver, which is helpful.  
Reversing the Jag off the driveway with the five of us inside results in it scraping its bottom on the ridge of our drive. This is annoying so everyone has to get out before we park it on there again. The same issue arises when I drive the Bentley Flying Spur. You would think that if these cars are going to be so low that there would be a sensor to automatically raise the suspension for unfriendly road surfaces – and let’s face it there are plenty of those about.
Externally the bright red finish and split spoke silver wheels make for an eye-catching car that even drivers of more expensive Mercedes and Porsches have to acknowledge.
It is quite clear that these days Britain’s roads sadly cannot cope with the level of traffic on them. And so if you dare to travel over a bank holiday it is going to take at least double the length of time it usually would do. And so we venture to Sherborne, which should only take an hour and a half but takes us three. There’s always a problem on a motorway so I enjoy finding country lanes where at least the traffic is moving. There’s an absolutely magnificent straight stretch of road – the A30 from Sherborne to Dorchester – and despite all the grockles (Dorset for holiday makers) being out and about we travel along this road at a wonderful time. There are three vehicles in front of us, a tractor at the front and not an oncoming vehicle in sight for at least half a mile. This is too good an opportunity to miss and the Jaguar does not disappoint in the slightest.
A similar but not so invigorating opportunity arises on a trek to Alresford purely along country lanes and avoiding the dreaded M27 and M3 altogether. Here again there are three vehicles in front and no oncoming vehicles so again the Jaguar demands to overtake. And it purrs, effortlessly. Like the Land Rover Discovery D300 I recently tested the cruise control is a market leader; very easy to operate and reliable, meaning that when crawling through a 30mph area where there are speed cameras there’s no pressure whatsoever. In fact travelling along the Dorchester bypass to Puddletown we cruise at a steady 70mph and I cock a wink at the mobile police speed camera van on the other side of the road. This is a terrible road for being caught speeding.
“This is definitely not a family car,” sighs Heidi (8), who complains about the lack of legroom in the back. After some minor disagreements between the children in the rear Caroline decides to sit in the back in the middle to split the girls up and put Henry (5) in the front. “I’m in agony,” she soon says as she straddles the high transmission tunnel in the rear and the front centre armrest. “The back just isn’t big enough for three occupants with car seats.” I also find that I can’t have the driver’s seat as far back as I would like with Heidi behind me. Which means that my arms are not straight as I would prefer while driving at the 10 to 2 position.
I notice that the vehicle is equipped with 4G wifi yet in Sherborne there is barely a signal and this seems to affect the signal for the radio.
As the journey continues Caroline really is not comfortable and tells me in no uncertain terms. When the M27 is suddenly closed causing mayhem on many Hampshire roads, including the ones we are travelling on, our return journey suddenly takes three-and-a-half hours and Caroline has to grit her teeth.
A trip to Gloucester redeems the Jaguar for Caroline and the children who seem to cope better having not been in it for a few days. Caroline sits in the front and the children in the rear, who this time do not squabble. This time the information panel insists on informing me that I can travel at 70mph in a 50mph and 30mph in a 70mph. It’s a good job I ignore it and read the road signs. For me there is an over reliance on technology in most modern cars and I don’t like it. Technology is not infallible as Highways England will confirm. For this reason we need to reduce the use of technology in our everyday lives and let ourselves be back in control again.  
In conclusion this is definitely one for the single business executive who enjoys driving… and at a push a couple.

Facts at a glance
 
Jaguar XE D200 S RWD Auto
Price: £36,215
Engine: 2-litre mild hybrid electric vehicle
0 to 60mph: 6.9secs
Top speed: 146mph   
Power: 204bhp
Economy: 50mpg approx.
CO2 emissions: 127 to 142 g/km

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