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With claimed economy of 75.0mpg and emissions of 99g/km, it's the 163hp manual model that is the standout fleet option in the Jaguar XE range. Unlike the BMW 3-series, though, opting for an automatic gearbox not only adds a hefty amount to the purchase price but pushes it from 17% BIK to 19%.
Despite the increased emissions, the XE's extremely strong residual values mean that as well as undercutting the BMW 320d ED Plus by 3.5p per mile and the Mercedes C220d SE by 4.3p - with a figure of 59.3p - it sneaks ahead of the new Audi A4 2.0 TDI Ultra SE, which stands at 59.4p. Admittedly, there are cheaper Mazda 6 and Volvo S60 equivalents available, but neither offers the Jaguar's company car park appeal.
Those used to pricier Jaguars may find this entry-level XE lacking, though, with fabric seats, a bland interior and materials that feel a rung or two below those in the Audi A4; despite its similar design, the pricier XF's interior feels much plusher.
The situation improves on the move, as the XE offers a smooth, comfortable ride over most surfaces, with little wind or road noise audible. The 2.0-litre diesel engine also provides plenty of punch - although on paper it's down on power compared with some rivals - punting the XE along with enthusiasm, even at low engine speeds.
Refinement, however, lags behind the extremely quiet Audi A4, with the engine often making itself heard inside the cabin, although it is comparable with its BMW rival. We also didn't find the seats as comfortable as expected, while the rear is certainly on the cramped side. Meanwhile, the boot isn't the easiest to access, but the volume available is reasonable.
It may have its flaws, but the automatic 163hp diesel XE puts a very strong case forward for business users, thanks to its strong value. We are yet to drive the 150hp version of the A4, but judging on just how refined, comfortable and beautifully crafted the 190hp version proved, we'd wager that the Audi is the better all-rounder.
Jaguar XE 2.0d 163 SE automatic
Model price range £29,775-£44,865
Residual value 40.8%
Service, maintenance and repair £2415
Vehicle Excise Duty £40
National Insurance £2475
Cost per mile 59.3p
Fuel consumption 68.9mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 106g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month £100/£199
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space (min/max) 455 litres
Engine size/power 1999cc/163hp
Whole-life costs still lead the class, but engine refinement could be better
Sub-60p per mile costs undercut German rivals, plus the XE is comfortable and offers strong performance
Refinement and interior quality can't match the Audi A4, while the BMW 3-series is more enjoyable to drive