New Jaguar XE Will Be A Great Alternative To The Alternative Compact Luxury Sedans

Walking up to it and sitting in it, it’s hard to compare the Jaguar XE to anything else but a BMW 3-series. That’s just the impression it gives off.

Step behind the wheel and it feels snug, but in a good way. The rear seat is tight and borders on useless for adults, but the driver’s seat feels perfectly tailored. It’s certainly not as lavish inside as other recent Jags, but the XE is free from some of the over-styling of some interiors in this class. It’s warmer than an Audi‘s interior, but generally with the quality of the new C-Class’. Again, it reminds of old BMW designs.

In fact, even approaching the car and walking around it reminds me of the E46. While photos make it seem bland and too much like a shrunken XF, in person the XE comes off as clean and tight. Again, like an Audi but warmer – like an old 3-series, really.

Because this really is the 3-series’ category, every rival is pitched as an alternative. So if you’re Jaguar, you have a lot of popular alternatives to go up against. But the XE has more cachet than “alternatives” like an Infiniti Q50, Acura TLX or Volvo S60. And it no longer has to carry around the baggage of being related to a Ford product to diminish its credentials among those who buy things with four rings, a three-pointed star or a blue-and-white roundel.

A lot of critics have said the Cadillac ATS comes closest to being a BMW 3-series in terms of the way it drives. But the ATS has a feel that’s unique. The Jag may come the closest to actually feeling like an old 3-series, which might be the way it attracts people who refused to accept an ever larger and comfier BMW.

Photos: Zac Estrada /

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Contact: [email protected] or @zacestrada

  • Jim Ragland

    Is it me??? Or does this interior seem a little bland? Not cheap…but somewhat lackluster.

    • Kash

      The shades of gray don’t help anyone’s interior so it might be that. I don’t know if you’ve seen it in black but it does look better in black, with leather.

    • eb110americana

      The materials are what they should be. Nice leather, stitching, wood, piano black, etc. The design, on the other hand, is really plain. It lacks a cutting edge focal point. The nav screen looks plug-and-play with its rectilinear shape, the whole thing feels very rigid. There is a bit of flow in the outboard vents and the wood that wraps around the base of the windshield to connect the two doors, but the rest feels more like the expensive version of a cheap car, when it should feel like the entry level version of an expensive car. Worse yet, if the F-Type is any indication, this will NOT be an affordable car competing with the 3-Series and its ilk.

      • 12333444333

        You’re making this up re: materials. They’re poor quality just like a CLA interior.

        • It’s quality, but yes, the design is blander than what is offered on other recent Jags. There’s just a lot of gray trim in this particular car and it’s not just the photo. It’s not cheap, just a little sterile, especially for this brand.

    • pcurve

      flash photography + gray interior = cheap look. But in this case, it looks cheap for many other reasons.

    • 12333444333

      Of course they will be shit, it’s the cheapest base model.

  • Kash

    The only things i can’t get over with this car are the tail lights and cloth seats versus leather on the base trim

  • Henry Juliao

    Am I the only one that prefers the Lexus IS350?

  • YipYap

    That interior looks drab.

  • Merc1

    The interior is a complete joke/failure. It looks about 10 years old and of very pedestrian quality. This car had better drive like nothing else otherwise it is going to have a hard time on the market.


  • MarketAndChurch

    So long as its fun to drive, that’s all that really matters to me. The interior is not so bad in black. Love this color btw, this car really has presence.

    I wonder though, is the backseat less accommodating then an ATS? As long as it is better then the ATS, it should be alright. It may not be comfortable for people 6ft and taller, especially on legroom, but not many offerings in this segment are.

    • 12333444333

      Presence? No, it doesn’t. Presence to someone who may not realise this is a budget Jaguar model. The XJ on the other hand? That has presence.

  • dinn

    That particular version looks bit cheap.

  • diesel_vdub

    The exterior is really nice… but the interior just looks like crap.

  • MG


  • BlackPegasus

    Can’t help but to agree with what has already been said. The interior of this car is it’s biggest letdown. Otherwise, it has a sporty presence in this trim. I want to love it, but I can only tolerate it.

    So meh..

  • 12333444333

    This is the second time that I’ve felt the word “luxury” used incorrectly. BMW and Audi are premium brands but they’re not luxury, else what are Bentley, Aston Martin etc.?

    • TheBelltower

      Thank you! People have really diluted the term “luxury.” Maybe the A8 and 7 Series, but certainly not most Audis and BMWs. A typical $30-50k car isn’t a luxury car. There’s a Lincoln MKZ ad, and they actually say “are you in the market for a luxury car?” Real luxury brands would never say that, and they stay away from the term completely.

  • KidRed

    Tiny rotors. Must not go very fast.

    • Pete Moss

      What size are the rotors?

  • KidRed

    Acura TLX as a 3 series alternative? Ha, Audi A4 would be a better example to list.

    • A4 is kind of an establishment candidate. TLX might be better considered as an A4 alternative.

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