Forget short-hop flight hassles, try Jaguar XE-class We’re willing to argue that choosing to fly Jaguar XEpress is best.
First published in the October 2016 issue of Wheels magazine, Australia’s most experienced and most trusted car magazine since 1953.
REX or XE? Albury is 260km as the crow flies from Melbourne CBD, or about an hour with our largest regional airliner. The driving distance, though, is 326km, which should take around three and a half hours with one quick pitstop. Logic, therefore, suggests that making like a bird is better.
We’re willing to argue that choosing to fly Jaguar XEpress is best, though. Admittedly, it was my organisational dyslexia that dictated this, but the opportunity to assess the British-built BMW 3 Series-slayer (see Wheels April 2016) in a role it should sashay through proved irresistible. Road trip!
After the usual racket of a cold diesel engine in warm-up, the 2.0d quietens to a distant hum as it thrusts forward with effortless ease, while soaking up the rotten northern-suburban backstreet geography with impunity. Stealthy competence describes both the Jaguar XE’s torquey performance and lush ride quality – and on 19s without adaptive dampers no less.
Into the 110km/h zone, cruise control set at an indicated 116km/h to allow for the margin shortfall according to a free GPS-based speedo app, and everything’s progressing beautifully. This is a truly relaxing environment. Cocooned in the supportive driver’s seat and noticing the lack of wind and road rumble (except on the coarsest bits of bitumen) only enhances the experience. Barely bothering 2000rpm, the Jaguar lopes along.
However, about halfway up the Hume Freeway our XE’s very Ford Sync 2-esque touchscreen multimedia system (though we’re assured they’re totally unrelated)
simply stops streaming music from my smartphone, requiring a USB cable to restore the tunes. This happens again on the way back, but not since. Mark that up as the second fail after the loose boot-sited rear-seat backrest release lever coming loose, as reported last month.
Here’s another irritation. While I’m starting to appreciate the finer details of the interior presentation, such as the racy low driving position, gorgeous steering wheel and stylish upper-fascia layering that integrates dashboard with door cards, the power window switches seem to be located outside your peripheral vision. I inevitably prod the electric door locks instead every single time.
Two months in, these are both minor hiccups in an otherwise commanding grand tourer. The Albury run was completed ahead of schedule, and reversing the journey a few hours later similarly resulted in no aches, pains or fatigue. Just a repeat of the outstanding sub-5L/100km average instant consumption readout.
So we finished well ahead of schedule, with no parking or having to wait at the airport. Travelling MEL to ABX by XE is AOK.