HALF PRICE OFFER 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

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Out & About

12:01
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more
09:56
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
Yesterday, 15:26
Peter supplies local shops with his catch of the day (Photo by Alex Rivett)

After winter storms washed away its local lobster pots, the harbourside community of Emsworth rallied behind their fishermen to create a beacon of hope. Viv Micklefield finds out what today’s catch of the day holds as a result

Read more
Mon, 16:03
Hartley Wintney has a busy high street full of browsable independents (Jason Allen Photography)

Hiding in plain sight... Emma Caulton takes time out in Hartley Wintney

Read more
Mon, 15:43
Calshot Coastwatch volunteer Ian Davies keeps a look-out over the busy waters

The New Forest coastline is a glorious place to visit during the summer months, yet protecting both its natural and man-made wonders is a busy job. Viv Micklefield takes a walk on the wild side to discover more

Read more
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Coastal views from the Solent Way on the way to Keyhaven © Steve Davison

Head to Milford on Sea this month for a long, coastal walk with great views says Steve Davison

Read more
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
IOW Festival is back for 2016 on the Queen's birthday (Photo: Callum Baker | callumbakerphoto.com)

Sway to the sound of Faithless, The Who or Dizzee Rascal in a Hampshire field. Walk with water buffalo at a food fest, or sip your way around a local vineyard, there’s something for everyone when it comes to festivals, says Natalie French

Read more
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
See Portsmouth Cathedral lit up on 17 June & Royal Garrison Church 18 June

There’s a highly charged atmosphere in Portsmouth as 100 arts and cultural events take place during 10 action-packed days. Erica Smith, director of the 17th Festivities reveals to Viv Micklefield why she’s buzzing with excitement

Read more
Tuesday, June 14, 2016

From sailing and pretty coastal walks to great places to eat and shop, the village of Warsash is a hive of activity all year round says Claire Pitcher

Read more
Monday, June 6, 2016
Photo by Nick Hook

Coeliac disease affects 1 in 100 people, and many more are seeing the health benefits after waving goodbye to gluten. Natalie French speaks to just a few of the county’s cafes, pubs and producers who are embracing the gluten free way

Read more
Monday, June 6, 2016
Aerobatics displays add to Farnborough's wow factor © Guy Westgate - www.gliderfx.com

It’s not long to wait now until the skies come alive for the Farnborough Airshow on July 16 and 17. Promising to be bigger and better than ever, Viv Micklefield checks-in with some of those working behind the scenes

Read more
Monday, June 6, 2016
New Forest Marathon

Inspired by the antics of Eddie Izzard’s 27 marathons in 27 days? Why not take to the trails yourself and sign up for one of the county’s excellent running events. Claire Pitcher gives you a head start with her top routes

Read more
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
V-Dub Day at Beaulieu

If you go anywhere this month, make sure it’s to one of these top events

Read more
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins (Photo by Johan Persson)

Charlotte Tomlinson-White has scoured the county to bring you the top events taking place this month

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

Local Business Directory

Hampshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search