By Mike Torpey on 2016-01-15 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Jaguar XE 2.0d
STARTING from scratch and leaving the big three German executives trailing in your wake is no mean feat.
But that's what the new Jaguar XE has managed in a matter of months courtesy of its combination of style, comfort, economy and dynamics.
The XE, which hit UK streets last summer, mark's Jaguar's return to the mainstream mid-size saloon scene for the first time since the X-Type was discontinued nearly seven years ago.
And everything about the caris fresh, from the vehicle architecture to the manufacturing and engine plants where it is produced.
It is also the lightest, stiffest and most aerodynamic Jaguar saloon ever built and the first from the brand to be equipped with electric power steering.
No surprise then that it also has the lowest cost of ownership of any Jaguar.
Power comes via a range of four and six cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants from the brand's Ingenium engine family, and six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions.
Ingenium forms the cornerstone of Jaguar's ongoing low CO2 strategy and the lower powered of the two 2.0-litre diesels combines economy of a claimed 75 miles per gallon with emissions that dip below the ton at 99g/km.
This version though featured the 180ps unit with its extra wallop, the auto gearbox - an extra Â£1,250 - and official fuel return of 67.3mpg.
With a 0-60 time of 7.4 seconds, top speed of 142mph and 109g/km emissions it is a beautifully poised saloon with sweet, strong engine, tenacious road-holding and connected feedback from the chunky steering wheel.
It looks lean and mean in a menacing black paint job and R-Sport spec, which is the most brazen of the five trim grades available for the XE.
That means black leather upholstery set off with piano black and shiny silver inserts and alloy kickplates. You also get 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, a unique R-Sport bodykit and a firmer sports suspension.
Despite being a compact saloon there's plenty of space for four in the XE, though a wide transmission tunnel makes it unsuitable for a centre rear passenger.
Oddments space like four cupholders, a storage bin in every door, nets behind the front seats, a deep centre box,sunglasses holder, glovebox and surprisingly large boot ensure there's always somewhere to stow your stash.
Kit available across the XE range includes a laser operated head up display, automatic cruise control and a stereo camera system which will not only recognise road signs but also deliver added safety by giving lane departure alerts as well as providing emergency braking.
Technology from Land Rover is also being brought in to play as well to give the rear-wheel drive XE extra grip in slippery conditions.
Out on the road the XE is an absolute gem, living up to its maker's boast of it being 'the driver's car in its class'.
It's comfortable over extended distances, nicely balanced round country lanes, comes laden with plenty of standard kit and screams attitude.
Prices are from £26,990 for the 200PS 2.0i XE SE automatic model and trim grades, from comfort to sporting, are SE, Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S.
Jaguar XE 2.0d R-Sport
Mechanical: 180ps, 1,999cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed auto gearbox
Max Speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 67.3
Insurance Group: 27
C02 emissions: 111g/km
Bik rating: 20%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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