The XE is a huge car for Jaguar. Designed to rival the BMW 3 Series, it's Jaguar's first compact saloon since the somewhat disappointing X Type. But can the XE set things right?

With its sleek aesthetics, the Jaguar XE certainly looks the part, and with hints of F Type in its styling it's just what customers are buying into. It really is set apart from its rivals with plenty of presence. 

There is a great feel in the cabin with a stylish dashboard and centre console. It really does feel like a miniature XF; as premium as you would expect from a car of its price and size.

Despite its streamlined proportions the XE can fit tall passengers easily. Although the boot is a little smaller than that of the 3 Series, it's really not bad at all. Standard equipment is good as well, with Sat Nav, climate control, automatic headlights and cruise control on all XEs.

Safety is also taken care of thanks to a lane departure warning system, automatic emergency braking and plenty of air bags.

On the road, the XE handles superbly and is arguably the best in its class when things get twisty, staying flat and predictable at all times.

There is a choice of both petrol and diesel engines. The 2 litre petrol produces either 198bhp or 237bhp, whilst the 3 litre unit kicking out 330bhp is for those wanting some serious performance. Diesel wise there are a couple of 2 litre options with either 161bhp or 178bhp. 

To summarise, the XE – whilst competing against some talented rivals – is never less than deeply impressive. It manages to worry the BMW 3 Series in the bends whilst comparing well with the interior quality of the Audi A4. The XE is not merely a leftfield alternative, but a serious competitor in this sector. The boot space might be the smallest of its rivals and the rear leg room isn't the best in its class, but if you want a rapid, refined and good looking small saloon, then the XE might just be the car for you.