It’s not easy to take on the small-sports-sedan masters—the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series—but the new XE makes an admirable attempt, with mixed results. The XE has sporty and athletic handling characteristics, but it misses with an interior that feels cheaper than it should. We expect more from an almost $50,000 car.

On the road, the XE is a delight to drive as it carves winding roads with ease. Press down on the gas pedal and the four-cylinder turbo engine responds quickly, although at 7.7 seconds in the 0-to-60-mph sprint, the XE trails competitors by about a second. The AWD model we bought registered 25 mpg overall, a middling number for its class. The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. But in urban settings, drivers and passengers will be annoyed with the stop/start system as it restarts with a shudder.

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Overall, the ride is steady and controlled, with some bounce and jiggles only evident over the roughest pavement.

While the interior looks good, wide panel gaps and flimsy-feeling materials detract from the experience. The controls range from odd to frustrating.

The standard front seats can accommodate most, but they lack adjustable lumbar support. And the cabin is super snug. The rear seat is cramped even by the modest standards of the class.

CR wishes that a host of optional advanced safety and driver assistance features were standard across all trims.

Read the complete Jaguar XE road test.

2018 Jaguar XE Review

HIGHS: Handling, agility, steering
LOWS: Tight quarters, seat comfort, controls, interior is short on luxury
POWERTRAIN: 247-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 25 mpg

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the November 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.