JAGUAR XE 20d PRESTIGE
Price: $62,800 + orc
Engine: 2L 4cyl turbo-diesel
Safety: ESC, ABS, 6 airbags, reversing camera, parking sensors, lane departure warning
MERCEDES C200 Snapshot
Price: $60,900 + orc.
Engine: 2L 4cyl turbo-petrol.
Safety: ESC, ABS, 9 airbags, reversing camera, parking sensors, lane departure warning.
Australia’s medium-car category landscape changed dramatically a couple of years ago when the luxury focused Mercedes C-Class suddenly emerged as the sector’s second highest-selling model; ahead of many well-known mainstream brands. In 2015 the C-Class consolidated its position, and now Jaguar is hoping for a slice of the action with its all-new XE.
Jaguar is targeting the groundswell of C-Class buyers with the entry level 2.0 litre petrol XE Prestige model, under-cutting the price of the equivalent Benz. The C200 has a manufacturer’s list price of $60,900 plus on-road costs for the petrol version, while the XE petrol comes in at $60,400 plus ORC. In diesel the pricing is reversed with C200 having the slight advantage at $62,400 plus ORC compared with the XE Prestige diesel’s $62,800. Mercedes and Jaguar offer a comprehensive range of higher spec versions with larger capacity engines in their respective C-Class and XE line-ups. The C-Class comes in sedan, coupe and Estate (station wagon) configurations, whereas the XE is sedan only.
Review cars provide good overview
We were unable to get identical versions for our car review but the C200 petrol and XE diesel provided a good overview of each model.
Although the C200 and XE Prestige are entry-level models, there is a distinct luxury car focus in their stylish appearance, up-market cabin presentation and host of desirable standard features.
The XE has sleeker and arguably smarter looking body lines but for useable cabin space and easy access the C-Class is the winner. The main advantages are extra rear leg room, three people can squeeze in the back a little more comfortably and the door openings are larger. The Jag’s lower stance means you must drop into the seats a little more and it is a slight climb to get out.
Benchmark for entry-level luxury
Equipment-wise, the C200 has been a benchmark for entry-level luxury models and Jaguar has matched it in most respects. All the core comfort, convenience and advanced safety features are similar. There are minor variations which tend to balance out. Each achieved a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. The C200 boasts an extra three airbags, with a driver’s knee airbag and side airbags for the rear seat passengers. It also features the latest LED headlights. The XE has high-quality Xenon units. Both offer a long list of optional features.
The Jaguar cabin design takes a fresh, bespoke-style, tiered approach that drew mixed responses from our team as to its appeal versus the upmarket modern look of the Mercs’ presentation. Despite the C200’s high-quality appearance, its Artico upholstery is man-made leather and the infotainment screen looks like an after-thought. Ergonomically, both have minor flaws. Each has gone for its own style of gear selector but both miss for ease of use. Some switches are awkwardly placed in the Merc, while the Jag’s instruments were not easy to read at a glance.
Build quality of both was very good but on review we felt the Mercedes fit, finish and attention to detail was marginally better. Each is packed with the latest technology but retain a touch of old-school. Both have rear-wheel-drive.
On-road ability is first class. With the C200 being a petrol version and XE a diesel, they display different driving characteristics. These two appear to be the slightly better engine options in their respective entry-level models. The quicker acceleration and more responsive performance of the C200’s direct-injection, turbocharged petrol engine and seven-speed automatic add to the driving ease around town. Though the Mercedes has one less gear ratio, it was never lacking during our extensive test drive. The gear changes were also a touch crisper and smoother. The XE may not be as quick off the mark but the strong pulling power epitomises the enjoyable driveability, relaxed cruising and fuel efficiency of a top-class 2.0 litre turbo diesel.
Differences in handling and ride can be summed up as German precision and efficiency versus British style, comfort and composure.
The Mercedes C200 has dominated the premium end of Australia’s medium-size car category for a couple of years, but it now has serious competition. While the C200 is arguably still a slightly better all-rounder, the XE Prestige just shaded the Merc when it came to comfortable long distance country-road cruising.
JAGUAR XE 20D PRESTIGE
Price: $62,800 + $7228 (est.) orc. Model range $60,400-$104,200.
Safety: ESC. ABS. 6 airbags. Reversing camera. Front/rear parking sensors. Auto lights/wipers. ISOFIX fittings. Lane departure warning. Blind spot information.
Standard features: Dual-zone climate-control. Sat-nav. Eight-inch screen. Electric front seats. Leather upholstery. Driver seat memory function. Auto parking.
Options: Adaptive cruise control.
Drivetrain: 1999cc inline 4cyl turbo-diesel engine. 132kW@4000rpm, 430Nm@1750-2500rpm. 8spd rear wheel. Fuel: Diesel. 56L tank. 5.9L/100km; variation 5.6 to 6.9L/100km (RACV test figure); 4.2L/100km (Green Vehicle Guide).
Wheels: 18” alloy, 225/45 R18 tyres. Space-saver.
Acceleration: 0-60kmh, 4.5 secs; 0-80kmh, 6.6 secs. 0-100kmh, 9.6 secs. 50-80kmh, 3.8 secs; 60-100kmh, 5.7 secs; 0-400m, 16.9 secs.
Braking: 22.8m from 80km/h.
Environment: 111g/km CO2.
Service/repairs: 24-month/36,000km capped-price services. 36 months unlimited km warranty.
RACV OVERALL RATING: ****
Price: $60,900 + $6603 (est.) orc. Model range $60,900-$157,010.
Safety: ESC. ABS. 9 airbags. Reversing camera. Front/rear parking sensors. Auto lights/wipers. ISOFIX fittings. Lane departure warning. Blind spot information.
Standard features: Dual-zone climate-control. Sat-nav. Seven-inch screen. Electric front seats. Man-made leather upholstery. Auto parking. Run flat tyres.
Options: Driver seat memory function.
Drivetrain: 1991cc inline 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. 135kW@5500rpm, 300Nm@1200-4000rpm. 7spd rear wheel. Fuel: 95-RON petrol. 66L tank. 7.8L/100km, variation 7.1 to 9.5L/100km (RACV test figures); 6.0L/100km (Green Vehicle Guide).
Wheels: 225/45 front, 245/40 R18 rear tyres. No spare wheel.
Acceleration: 0-60kmh, 3.5 secs; 0-80kmh, 5.5 secs. 0-100kmh, 8.0 secs. 50-80kmh, 3.3 secs; 60-100kmh, 5.1 secs; 0-400m, 15.8 secs.
Braking: 23.3m from 80kmh.
Environment: 138g/km CO2.
Service/repairs: 12-month/25,000km capped-price services. 36 months unlimited km warranty.
RACV OVERALL RATING: ****