2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige Road Test

In August of last year, while writing up the brand spanking new 2017 Jaguar XE 35t AWD R-Sport I had just tested, I couldn’t
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
If there’s a better looking D-segment sport sedan on the market, please tell me. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
find any sales information to determine how well you, Canada’s buying public, was responding. Wowed by its beautiful lines, advanced aluminum construction, superb performance, and luxurious, nicely featured interior, I believed it would likely build a reasonably solid following of luxury consumers bored of their mostly German sport sedans, but I couldn’t have imagined how dramatically the F-Pace sport utility would steal the show.

By the close of Q2 2017, Jaguar Canada had sold a considerable 1,388 F-Pace models compared to 411 XEs, which once again made the British brand’s SUV the most popular vehicle in its lineup, a new reality that probably won’t change until the upcoming 2018 E-Pace compact SUV arrives early next year. While XE sales are just
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
Jaguar has its finger on the style button! The XE is gorgeous from all angles. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
30 percent of F-Pace numbers, it’s still Jaguar’s strongest selling four-door sedan. Traditionally, when premium sedans grow in size their sales get smaller, the mid-size XF following suit with 282 buyers over the same six months and the full-size XJ pulling in just 154 buyers. Still, these numbers are better than many competitors, while still making Jaguar’s alluring lineup of sport-luxury sedans plenty exclusive.

The compact premium D-segment has a lot to offer luxury buyers, but you’ll have a hard time finding a better looking offering than the new XE. Even in base Premium trim it’s a heartthrob, combining every essential Jaguar styling cue from its larger siblings with a sportier stance that can be underpinned with plenty of wheel
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
The XE pulls cues from the rest of the Jaguar sedan lineup, particularly its sporty rectangular grille. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
and tire options. So far I’ve driven the aforementioned top-tier XE 35t AWD R-Sport model with its stunning 20-inch optional alloys, as well as two 20d AWD powered versions in mid-range Prestige trim, this most recent and likely final 2017 model getting a few upgrades over the previous version, most noticeably its gorgeous set of twinned five-spoke diamond-turned 19-inch alloys in place of the previous model’s optional 18s, $2,000 well spent. As you can see they’re perfectly matched against as-tested Indus Silver metallic paint, a $670 upgrade.

Inside, my previous 20d AWD Prestige model’s mostly Jet black cabin gets replaced by a less orthodox Light Oyster treatment, consisting of a medium-grey dash top, steering wheel, and door panels combined with lighter grey for the lower instrument panel, door inserts, roofliner, and seat upholstery. The latter was
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
LED enhanced headlights add even more character to the XE design. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
even detailed out in subtle yellow green stitching instead of the previous car’s light copper brown thread, while $400 worth of more traditional Gloss Figured Ebony Veneer, a beautiful dark grained hardwood, replaced the standard Dark Satin Brushed aluminum and piano black lacquered composite. Jaguar offers a Jet black and Latte beige motif if that’s more to your liking, also no-charge, but I must say the two-tone grey affair was particularly handsome when matched up with the dark hardwood and all the standard brushed and chromed metals.

I’d be remiss not to point out a “What were they thinking?” failing, the XE’s poor choice of hard plastic over the primary instrument hood. While most owners wouldn’t normally come in contact with the instrument hood, would-be buyers checking
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
Sharp looking lower fascia details are plentiful, and this isn’t even the sportiest trim level. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
the XE out for the first time might be prompted to reach out to touch it just because it’s so obviously substandard. Why Jaguar thought they could get away with this is beyond me, being that every last one of Jaguar’s D-segment competitors completely covers their various dash tops with soft composites, with some even going so far as to upgrade them with padded and stitched leather. Yes, the gall they have to primp up the very spot Jaguar chose to cut corners. Making matters worse, most mainstream volume-branded mid-size sedans, and even many compact four-doors, at the very least provide a nice pliable composite on the same surface. Jaguar should fix this ASAP, or offer some sort of stitched leatherette option.

Looking elsewhere reveals an XE cabin that’s otherwise beautifully designed and exquisitely
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
Love these optional 19-inch alloys. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
finished, with some impeccably crafted genuine metal trims including some lovely knurled detailing, so if you can look over a few less than ideal issues you’ll be well served. Some notable positives include the classic set of metal-rimmed dials within the primary gauge cluster underneath that cheap plastic hood, these flanking a tall, colour TFT multi-information display at centre. Jaguar fills this MID up with plenty of fast access functionality, although a much more comprehensive and fully configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster will be available in next year’s Tech Pack-infused XE.

The current $2,600 Tech Pack replaces my tester’s 8.0-inch InControl Touch infotainment touchscreen, the same as found in base Premium trim, with the larger
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
Th XE’s standard LED taillights are wonderfully minimalist. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro widescreen display I previously tested in R-Sport trim, this featuring a surround parking monitor, quicker-responding SSD-based navigation with 3D mapping, a Wi-Fi hotspot, 825-watt 17-speaker Meridian audio, plus connected services including a route planning app for door-to-door navigation that shares your ETA with specified contacts, a Commute Mode that learns your regular routes, automatically advises of expected ETAs based on live and historical traffic data, and then reroutes if necessary, an Arrival Mode that displays 360-degree street level imagery of your destination so you can visually find your way, and more.

Still, my tester’s simplified infotainment didn’t leave me stranded, its navigation mapping
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
This two-tone dark and light grey interior is a no-cost option. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
clear and precise, its active guideline-enhanced reverse camera highly visible, its 380-watt 11-speaker Meridian audio system with Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming and HD radio considerably better than class average, and the digital interface controlling its standard dual-zone auto climate control very well organized and easy to use.

The driver’s seat was notably comfortable too, while the majority of front occupants should find it roomy enough. The rear seating area was reasonable for foot space, but more would allow for bigger winter boots. I had at least four inches available in front of my knees when the driver’s seat was set for my five-foot-eight medium-build body, plus about three inches available over my head, which should make either rear outboard position good for someone about six-foot-two,
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
The driver’s seat is all about the job at hand, maintaining control of the car and its many functions. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
but the person in the middle needs to be small and flexible. It comes down to window seats that are wonderfully carved out for ideal lateral support, leaving a rather tall centre position that’s further exacerbated by a front centre console that pushes quite far rearward, forcing the person sitting immediately behind to wrap their legs around each side. Therefore, consider the XE a four-seater with room for five in a pinch.

Right about now I should detail out some of the 2017 XE’s standard and optional features not yet mentioned. Premium is the base trim, complete with turbo-diesel power and AWD, resulting in an entry-level XE starting at $45,000 plus freight and dealer fees, while including 17-inch alloys, LED taillights, power-folding auto-dimming heatable side mirrors with memory, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, Meridian audio, 10-way powered front seats with driver’s side memory, leather-like Luxtec upholstery, a
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
A large colour multi-info display adds functionality to the primary instruments, but a fully configurable TFT gauge cluster becomes available for 2018. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
powered moonroof, a universal garage door opener, flexible 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks that expand the usefulness of a 450-litre (15.9 cubic-foot) trunk that’s already plenty large, and more.

Prestige trim, which starts at $49,500, adds 18-inch alloys, proximity-sensing keyless access, metal front treadplates with “JAGUAR” branding, a softer grain leather steering wheel that’s also heated, a powered steering column, four-way powered lumbar support for front occupants, heatable front seats, leather upholstery, the aforementioned navigation and infotainment apps, a backup camera, voice recognition, LED mood lighting, etcetera.

Of course, Jaguar offers extras for either trim, with Premium models having the option of the same 18-inch alloy wheels found
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
The thick leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great and responds to input well. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
standard with the Prestige for $1,500, and the same softer leather steering wheel with or without heat, but the heated version requires the $1,000 addition of a Cold Climate pack with heated front seats, a heated windshield and heated washer jets. A $2,300 Vision Pack adds brighter HID headlamps with signature LED “J” blade DRLs as well as auto high beams, adaptive cornering functionality, and washers, as well as front and rear parking sensors, plus blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Finally, standalone features for base models include the same heatable windshield from the Cold Climate Pack for $400, the Prestige model’s navigation, apps and voice recognition for $800, satellite radio for $450, and Wi-Fi for $350.

With respect to my Prestige tester, all of the Premium model’s standalone features not
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
This centre stack is amply featured for base Premium and mid-grade Prestige trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
already included can be added for identical pricing, plus the aforementioned 19-inch alloys, dark hardwood cabin inlays, and a head-up display unit for $1,000, while grouped options include the just noted Vision Pack, a $2,000 Comfort and Convenience Pack that includes ventilated front seats and heatable rear outboard seats, plus a powered rear sunshade and powered trunk lid, and lastly a $1,500 Black Design Package that adds gloss black 18-inch alloys before dousing the grille, front fender “power vents”, and side window surrounds in glossy black paint.

Of note, both Premium and Prestige trims can’t be had with advanced driving assistance systems like autonomous braking, active lane keeping assist, etcetera, these arriving for 2018, but top-line 2017 R-Sport trim includes blindspot monitoring
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
Accurate navigation helps to find the way. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
and driver condition monitoring while also making some of the Prestige model’s options standard, including adaptive cornering HID headlamps with auto high beams plus its front and rear parking sensors. Additionally, R-Sport buyers get standard metal doorsill plates and satellite radio, along with an arguably better looking aerodynamic body kit, a unique R-Sport steering wheel, plus plenty more for a base price of $54k.

I’ve neglected to mention one particularly important XE Prestige option, a $1,000 Adaptive Dynamics air suspension that continuously monitors road surfaces as well as driving style via throttle input, acceleration, cornering, and brake pedal analysis before adjusting a set of electronically controlled dampers that optimize ride
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
There’s no shortage of functions in the upgraded Prestige infotainment system. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
quality and handling. I tried the air suspension with the R-Sport and found it wonderfully rewarding, although the standard suspension certainly can’t be faulted when compared to similar mechanical designs.

Of course the XE’s suspension is fully independent, incorporating the same double-wishbone design used in Jaguar’s superb F-Type sports car up front, plus a subframe-mounted integral-link setup in the rear comprised of hollow forged aluminum for superior strength and lighter weight. Like that F-Type, most of the XE’s body shell is made from bonded and riveted aluminum, 75 percent of which gets sourced from recycled materials. Such extensive use of aluminum is exclusive to the D-segment, with all of the XE’s German, Japanese and other competitors
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
This rotating gear selector powers up from its otherwise flush position within the centre console upon startup. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
using steel for most body panels. Similar to the aluminum-intensive suspension, the aluminum body reduces weight while increasing torsional rigidity, this last point improving performance, quietness, and making the car safer in a crash. Jaguar initially developed this advanced albeit expensive modular iQ platform architecture for the full-size XJ luxury sedan, which by no accident is one of the more agile handling cars in its segment, but now every single vehicle in the British brand’s lineup makes use of a variation on this aluminum-intensive iQ theme.

Like the F-Type, the XE is sensational through the corners. The body feels especially tight and rigid, while the suspension offers up an ideal balance of comfortable compliance and athletic handling capability. Standard AWD assists this
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
These seats look great and feel even better. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
process by distributing torque up to 90-percent front to rear, or alternatively it can maintain a 50/50-split on low traction surfaces, plus the XE’s Intelligent Driveline Dynamics software continually adjusts for changing road conditions both predictively and reactively.

Additionally, the XE’s speed-proportional power steering provides very good feedback, while the car’s braking-sourced torque vectoring improves high-speed traction, its Adaptive Surface Response (ASR) analyses before adjusting for changing road surfaces, and its All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) helps the XE overcome slippery road surfaces.

Just like my previous XE tester, this new model was powered by Jaguar’s class-exclusive four-cylinder turbo-diesel. Displacing 2.0 litres, this in-house produced Ingenium-branded
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
A moonroof is always appreciated, although some rivals offer panoramic glass roofs in top trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
engine puts out 180 horsepower and a very healthy 318 lb-ft of torque for a reasonably speedy 7.9-second sprint from zero to 100km/h and even more energetic highway passing capability. Its performance and efficiency is made possible by a particularly fast reacting eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle-actuated manual mode, enhancing the XE’s fun factor exponentially. The inclusion of paddles is more important here than with competitors, however, because no central shift lever is included. Instead, Jaguar incorporates its handy space-saving dial selector, which dramatically powers up from its otherwise flush position within the lower console at startup. Engaging Sport mode requires a twist from “D” to “S”, while pressing the checkered flag button just behind adds even more performance.

2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
The rear seating area is good for two, but a bit of a squeeze for three. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
today’s rising fuel prices it may be wiser to select Eco mode, however, which allows the auto start/stop system to shut off the engine when it would otherwise be idling in order to further reduce consumption and emissions. So set, Jaguar can now claim class-leading highway mileage of 5.8 L/100km, while the XE 20d also provides a very efficient 7.8 L/100km city rating, plus 6.9 L/100km combined. When compared to other diesels, and even direct-injection gasoline engines, the 20d is fairly quiet, but take note that Jaguar’s 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder gasoline-powered four-cylinder is on the way in two states of tune for 2018, the first with 247 horsepower, 269 lb-ft of torque, and a quicker 6.2-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h, and the second version with 296 horsepower, 295 lb-ft of torque, and 5.5 seconds to 100 km/h. Adding icing to the cake, the new model drops its base price to $43,900. At the other end of the spectrum, the 380 horsepower
2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige
There’s no shortage of space in here. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
supercharged V6 from the F-Pace and other Jaguar models will replace this year’s 340 horsepower version in the 2018 XE lineup.

As it is, the 2017 XE 20d offers excellent value for money when comparing its base turbo-diesel, eight-speed auto, AWD powertrain and impressive load of standard features to its many rivals, and of course this is a very good time to take advantage of year-end clearance sales. A quick scan of local dealers showed financing with zero or 1.9 percent for up to 60 months with no payment for 90 days at the time of writing, or alternatively a $399 monthly lease payment after $4,999 down. No doubt substantial cash discounts are available too.

Shopping for any car in autumn certainly has its advantages. The difference between this 2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD and many others, however, is greater efficiency that will keep on saving you money for years to come. That it’s also beautiful to look at, fabulous to drive, and mostly impressive to sit in merely adds to the experience.
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