Jaguar XE R-Sport
I don't suppose I'll ever own a Jag. Firstly, if I had any serious amount of dispensable cash, I would likely fritter it away on things that are far less practical. Secondly, living in central London does not lend itself to a petrol guzzler.
But that said, if I were to purchase one, the XE R-Sport would be a strong contender. I know that this might seem like a very bold statement to make, but bear with me, as there is method behind the madness. Several aspects of the saloon make it stand out, perhaps most notable of which is the way it balances practicality with the X factor feel.
I drove the car to Green Man Festival 2018. The enormous boot held a tent, two large rucksacks, various camping gear such as wellies and an inflatable mattress, several crates of beer and bags of food, with room to spare. It reminded me of the furniture from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And the best part is that, despite the size of the boot, cabin space isn't compromised.
Practicality also comes in the form of tech. As with others in the XE range, the R-Sport comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, an array of driver assistance systems and several simple yet useful features such as dual-zone climate control. However, the system on the touchscreen was often glitchy and slow to load, which became frustrating when trying to stick to a tight schedule. It is easy on the eye though, and matches the sleek-looking interior, which is characterised by fine leather and smooth surfaces.
The ride and driving experience is another area in which the XE R-Sport excels. It glides effortlessly through the gears and picks up speed with ease, and over the course of the week, I often had to reel myself in after noticing I was travelling well in excess of the limit. And while the suspension is firm, it was comfortable enough so that I didn't feel the need to swerve all over the road dodging potholes.
The XE R-Sport may be criticised by some as being neither here nor there - it's not quite an out-an-out sports car, and it's certainly not a family-friendly fuel sipper that can fit six huskies in the back. It sits somewhere in the middle, but in my opinion, it occupies an important space that few models on the market do well.