Best Executive Sedan: Jaguar XE

Yes we’ve chosen ‘The Jag’. Doesn’t that roll off the tongue with sultry satisfaction?

That’s why we’ve chosen it. Yes the Jaguar competes in a segment with almost infallible rivals – the top three best-selling rivals in South Africa in fact. But where the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 present troves of technical brilliance, the Jaguar XE adds a touch of passion and charm that we just can’t ignore.

The Jaguar XE has to carry the weight of significance held just by that badge. By this brand standard alone, it has to look, feel, sound and drive very well. And it does. The range of engines includes a 132kW Ingenium diesel engine that won’t add any CO2 tax to your invoice. It’s joined in the range by two petrol engines (for the moment) that churn out 177kW or 250kW in the range-topping XE S. They’re all smooth, efficient and powerful motors coupled to a fantastic 8-speed gearbox. True to its pedigree, the XE attacks corners with incredible dexterity. It also serves as a very comfortable daily drive with hints of the grace that its bigger and more luxurious sibling, the XF, exudes.

The Jaguar XE does everything its German adversaries do, in some cases with slightly more flair and talent. Its biggest criticism in South Africa is its price, but the depressed Rand cannot overshadow what is a well tailored, quality product. And when it comes time to sell your compact executive – what would be harder to sell by way of its exclusivity and passion? We’d much sooner let go a German rival than this charmer. It’s a Jag after all.

— Avon Middleton