6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Cruising the B-roads of Hampshire in a Jaguar XE

12:38 24 March 2016

Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE

Archant

This month’s drive in a Jaguar XE cruises the B-roads of Hampshire, from a tranquil stroll in the countryside to a wonderful museum that brings our county’s rich military history to life says Mark Whitchurch

Located on Hampshire’s westerly border is Martin Down Nature Reserve, one of the largest chalk grasslands in the country and with extensive views over the Hampshire countryside. Enjoy a morning stroll, admire the swaths of wildflowers and keep your eyes peeled for a plethora of butterflies and birds, including skylarks and yellowhammers.

Cared for by Natural England and Hampshire County Council, the down is rich in archaeology, dating from the Neolithic right up to its use as a rifle range in the Second World War.

Leave the car park on the A354 and head towards Salisbury, at the end of the short dual carriage way turn right with signposts for the village of Martin. Follow this network of lanes as it negotiates the undulations of the landscape and traverses through woodland sections. Upon reaching Fordingbridge, maybe have a break and enjoy a coffee at the riverside kiosk with views over the bridge from where the town takes its name.

Join the B3078, through Godshill and over Deadman Hill with spectacular views over the plains of the New Forest National Park. How many different animals can you spot as you cruise towards Bramshaw on the B3078? We spotted cows and pigs as well as the Forest’s resident horses!

At Brook Hill, hook up with the B3079 that took us north to the A36, where a short jaunt towards the M27 enables you to pick up the network of lanes in the direction of Sherfield English, where the gothic-styled St Leonard’s Church will undoubtedly catch your eye.

On reaching the A27 turn right to enjoy this fast flowing road as it winds its way to the A3090, where we head towards Romsey and past Broadlands, once the home of Earl Mountbatten.

Negotiate the Romsey one way system to join the A3057 in the direction of Stockbridge. Within a mile or so, turn left onto the B3084 to enjoy more of the backroads of our county.

Cruise through Dunbridge and Mottisfont to reach Broughton - we enjoyed an excellent Thai meal in The Greyhound Inn.

Rejoin the B3084 to cross the A30 and arrive at the A343. Hang a right and our final destination, The Museum of Army Flying is just up the road on the right. Located on an active training base, this fascinating museum is dedicated to the airborne history of the army.


The car

With Jaguar’s fortunes continuing to soar, it was time for this most British of marques to once again take on the established German competition in the compact executive car class. Whilst the Jaguar X-Type, the company’s last attempt didn’t go quite according to plan, now with fresh investment, how will the newly launched Jaguar XE fare?

Tested in the R-Sport guise, first impressions were encouraging. Very much a modern Jaguar design, with DNA shared with the XF and XJ saloons, the XE is instantly recognisable as a Jag. An undoubtedly handsome machine, the XE offers the right combination of sleek Jaguar lines and the aggressive stance pioneered by its Germanic rivals. The F-type rear lights add to the drama, confirming you are driving something a bit special.

Unlike the X-Type of a decade and half ago, Jaguar has invested heavily in the XE, constructing an entirely new platform for its baby executive offering - of which 75 percent is aluminium, ensuring the bare bones of the XE are lighter than its rivals. The steel elements are there in the doors, boot and B-pillars for safety.

Clasp the driver’s door handle to enter the cabin and instantly there is a feeling of quality and premium materials. The door automatically unlocks, sensing the key is in your pocket. Get comfortable in the leather-lined fully adjustable seat and grasp the chunky sports steering wheel. The clean and minimalistic dashboard is dominated by an eight inch touch-sensitive screen which can be used to control all creature comforts and driving aids. Contrasting stitched leather trim and alloy detailing create an interior ambiance equal to, if not better than its rivals.

Rear legroom is marginally tighter than you might have expected but boot space, accessed via a narrow aperture, is more than ample for a family weekend away with all the clutter that comes with two small children.

With all the static exploration complete, it’s time to thumb the pulsating starter button and find out if the Jaguar XE is as good to drive as it is at rest. Tested in manual guise and with four-wheel-drive capability, the initial perception is of a solid, reassuring driving experience, much like the build quality.

The 2.0 litre four cylinder diesel motor tested might not be the most exciting of the range, which is currently reserved for the petrol V6 S variant, but it is the most frugal and compelling to own. This 161bhp motor produces plenty of torque for swift overtaking manoeuvres and whilst performance is respectable, it will return 74.3mpg combined and emitting just 99g/km of CO2.

The sports orientated suspension setup, complete with double wishbones upfront and an integral link set up in the rear, really helps to take the XE ride quality and handling dynamics to compete with the class-leading BMW 3-Series.

With the R-Sport’s standard specification, which includes sat-nav, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors, Jaguar have compiled a compelling case to buy British with the XE.

With the BMW 3 Series comfortably leading the compact executive car class for the past three years, its safe to say the launch of the Jaguar XE is a game changer, a car that takes the fight to the 3-Series and in some aspects, particularly within the cabin, the XE is clearly ahead. It’s great to see that Jaguar have buried the demons of the X-Type and have really built what could arguably be seen as a new class leader. Prices for the Jaguar XE start at £29,775. 


READ ON

Great Drives in Hampshire: 2 - Isle of Wight - The second in our series, Mark Whitchurch heads across the water for a regal experience in a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

10:53
The River Test, Chilbolton Cow Common © Steve Davison

Head to Chilbolton for a wander along the Test Way with views of the rivers Test and Anton says Steve Davison

Read more
09:55
Wheelwrights Cottage by Neil Howard (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0) via flic.kr/p/aimUNL. Edited with addtext.com

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Mon, 15:33

With stories of witches and smugglers, visitors have always had a fascination with Burley. However this pretty New Forest village has much more to offer than myths and legends says Claire Pitcher

Read more
Mon, 15:28
Hattingley Wines

Nancy Judge takes a look at our premium crops that are ripe for the picking

Read more
Friday, August 19, 2016

Youth theatre production company RicNic Hampshire returns to the Theatre Royal, Winchester, this August for a performance of the timeless Broadway classic, Guys and Dolls!

Read more
Friday, August 12, 2016
Family fun in the walled gardens of Basing House (Photo: Hampshire County Council)

Brewhouses, bees, bakeries (and bats)... The stories behind the town discovered by Emma Caulton

Read more
Friday, August 12, 2016

On a warm summer’s day the enchanting surroundings of Itchen Valley Country Park, near Eastleigh provide the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle. Viv Micklefield falls under its spell

Read more
Friday, August 12, 2016

If you’re into festivals, sunshine and green industries, the Isle of Wight calls, suggests Emma Caulton

Read more
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Anton Lakes Local Nature Reserve by Anguskirk (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0) via flic.kr/p/a49YEd

We’re lucky to have some really picturesque lakes and rivers here in Hampshire…

Read more
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
The RAF Red Arrows aerobatic display team perform as part of the Southampton Boat Show (Photo by Rob Stothard)

When the sun is shining there is no better place to spend the day than our stunning Hampshire coastline. Claire Pitcher chooses her top ten activities for enjoying the water this summer

Read more
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
The interior is modern yet sympathetic to its surroundings

Owner of the Manor at Sway, Tim Holloway, took over the hotel in 2014. Here he describes what visitors can now expect

Read more
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Adonis Blue Butterfly, by Mark Heighes

The sight of blue butterflies flitting across the Hampshire chalk downland is the epitome of summer says Lianne de Mello

Read more
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Portsmouth Harbour by Ian Stannard (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) via flic.kr/p/atu9QC

We take a look at some Hampshire aerial photography from past and present…

Read more
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Landscape from Farley Mount by Neil Howard (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0url) via flic.kr/p/qrju6R

Stretching from Beachy Head in Sussex all the way to the Itchen Valley here in Hampshire, the South Downs really is a beautiful place for a stroll or bike ride

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
subscription ad
Hampshire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Hampshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search