jags

Volkswagen gave diesel power in passenger cars a big black eye in 2015, and some questioned whether the scandal was enough to kill the diesel car in America forever. We’re happy to report that automakers are fighting back, and bringing some great diesel engines to market in luxury cars and SUVs. Jaguar, in particular, has brought out a new 2.0-liter turbo diesel that is fast becoming the engine of choice in the new XE compact luxury sedan, as well as the new F-Pace crossover sports utility vehicle.

Jag’s XE-llent Sedan

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The Jaguar XE is all-new, bringing the legendary British sports car maker’s panache to a new affordable price point and a new, younger set of buyers. Jaguar is taking aim at the heart of the Japanese luxury market, and they’re playing to win.

The 2017 Jaguar XE comes with a couple of gas engine options, but the one we care about is a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine rated at 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy ratings are 32 MPG city and 42 MPG highway. The only transmission available is an 8-speed automatic, but you can get it in RWD or AWD, making the XE a very versatile sports luxury car. The diesel-powered XE goes from 0-60 in just 7.5 seconds. Before you ask, we’ll tell you that this engine uses Diesel Exhaust Fluid injection to meet all emissions standards; there will be no scandals from Jag.

The XE was fun to drive, but the scenery helped as well.

People fall in love with Jags because of the driving experience. The XE is Jaguar’s compact sedan, but you wouldn’t know it from the inside. The XE feels bigger, like a mid-size. When you get in the XE, it’s all top-shelf luxury. The seats are supportive and comfortable, with six levels of heating and cooling in the front row, and heated seats are available on the back, too. I had the R-Sport trim level, which features red and black leather seats and a racing-inspired interior, which is what this car deserves.

The interior of the XE makes you feel like you are in a cockpit.

Out on the road, the XE is a joy to drive. It’s as smooth as a Jaguar should be, but it’s also nimble and responsive. The diesel engine is quiet, but you’ll really feel the 318 pound-feet of torque under your foot. The XE diesel moves out smartly from a stop, or when you’re passing on the freeway. The test car also came with Jaguar’s AWD system, which sends most engine power to the rear wheels under dry conditions, but which can send up to 90 percent of power to the front wheels when required.

Pricing for the 2017 Jaguar XE with the diesel engine starts at $37,395, which commuters will find is a great deal for the fuel mileage. Diesel lovers, meanwhile, will find this is an epic performance luxury car.

Diesel has a new look with this Jaguar.

Setting the F-Pace

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At the same time as they released the XE, Jag also brought out the all-new F-Pace SUV with a diesel drivetrain. Jaguar has been making sports cars for almost 100 years, but until this year, they’ve never made an SUV of any kind.

After driving the all-new 2017 Jaguar F-Pace with the diesel engine, it’s clear that Jaguar took the time to get everything exactly right. The F-Pace team brought in some hardcore off-road expertise from their Land Rover side and combined those chops with their sports car on-road performance background. The result is a truly game-changing vehicle for the luxury SUV market.

Pick your color, any color. The F-Pace looks good no matter the location.

You might not notice it at first, but the F-Pace looks like Jaguar’s F-Type halo sports car. The same flowing lines and sleek, muscular stance tell you that this is not a thundering elephant, but rather a roaring jungle cat. That promise is fulfilled in the driving experience. The F-Pace is sure-footed and offers a sports car demeanor on the road, with tight, certain steering and plenty of power under your foot.

The engine in the F-Pace is the same one used in the XE, so you get 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque. You might think that the larger F-Pace would feel underpowered compared to the XE sedan, but you’d be wrong. The gearing in the 8-speed automatic makes the F-Pace plenty quick, with great power off the line. Then that supple Jag suspension just begs to be tossed into any corner. If your heart says sports car, but your brain says family wagon, you should go for the F-Pace.

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What is truly surprising is the way that the F-Pace behaves off-road. Whether following a rocky trail or even scrambling up a grassy hillside, the F-Pace draws on the All-Terrain Progress Control technology inherited from Land Rover to move confidently at all times. Even with high-performance summer tires, we had no problem climbing around in the F-Pace. I mean, let’s be real – the F-Pace is no rockcrawler, but it’ll get you to your cabin or the lake just fine.

Inside, the F-Pace is a Jaguar through and through. Leather touch surfaces are standard, and the seats are comfortable and secure. There’s plenty of headroom and legroom for both front and rear seats, and 33 cubic feet of cargo area in the back.

The inside of the F-pace gives you plenty of buttons, all within arm's reach.

The best news of all is that the diesel model will be the most affordable F-Pace, starting at $41,985. There are a couple gas engine models on the list, but they’re more expensive. At this price, the diesel F-Pace not only hammers the European SUVs, it will be right in the same price range as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the mainline Japanese and Korean crossovers with comparable options. And among those, only the Jeep offers a diesel engine.

The F-Pace gets the job done working or looking good.