2016’s top leasing deals: Mercedes C-class or Jaguar XE? CAR+ March 2016

Published: 17 February 2016

► Mercedes C250d Estate AMG Line from £349pm
► Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 R-Sport auto from £326pm
► Upgrade to a premium model at non-premium costs 

Mercedes C250d Estate AMG Line

Business or pleasure?

Shrunken S-class visuals hit the premium jackpot, making you look pure class whether you’re outside the employee canteen or your local relaxation beverage outlet. Option of saloon, coupe and estate bodies a boon for balancing luggage/personnel. Long-toothed 2.1 diesels noisy but petrol is madness. Standard handling is comfortingly numb.

All the trimmings?

Indicators of genuine prestige include the ability to charge more for less. Thus entry-level SE does without nav and stepping up to Sport only brings the pokey Garmin add-on system. AMG Line makes the chassis mad for it (steering, brakes, suspension); Premium and Premium Plus packs improve value in easy-to-swallow chunks. 

Pretty on the inside?

Good lord, whoever signs off Mercedes’ interiors has a fetish for vents. Best not to ask. The iPad Araldited to the dash top raises eyebrows, too – Merc’s nod to younger generations drawing derision from more traditional, it-should-look-like-a-mobile-sideboard-in-here types. But, some flimsy plastics aside, the C-class takes the prize for prospect-impressing interior flash.

Well oiled?

C-class diesels kick off with a 134bhp 1.6 badged C200d – silent but slow, like a glacier. C250d is the pick of the gruff 2.1-litre models, as its 198bhp and 369lb ft compensate for any raucousness; this engine also available with an electric motor in C300h guise, though C350e plug-in hybrid is purer. Optional air suspension unique in this sector, though fidgety.

One we found

Finance type: Third-party PCH
Deposit: £2094.79
Monthly fee: £349.13
Terms: 48 months /10,000 miles per year
Optional final payment: n/a

The specs: Mercedes C250d Estate AMG Line

Price: £37,520
Engine: 2143cc 4-cyl turbodiesel, 198bhp @ 3800rpm, 369lb ft @ 1600rpm
Performance: 6.9sec 0-62mph, 150mph, 62.8mpg, 122g/km CO2

Mercedes C-class and Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 R-Sport auto

Business or pleasure?

Slinky lines do Jaguar’s namesake proud, but you’ve got to get the spec right – on weedy wheels you’re more rep than rising star. Sublime chassis and lightweight aluminium build are tempered by some diesel refinement issues, while that rakish roofline and tight leg room mean the boss won’t be keen on travelling in the back. Maybe that’s a good thing?

All the trimmings?

The XE is offered in SE, Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S specification, in ascending order of wallet assault. R-Sport is the sweet spot, including a sharp bodykit, 18-inch wheels and sports suspension, but you’ll find that most of the high-tech toys are optional extras – though DAB and sat-nav are standard across the range.

Pretty on the inside?

Not really. Optional two-tone leather is a crime against cows, and it’s quickly clear that most of the design budget went on the exterior. So the auto selector knob rises from the centre console? We’d rather have a slicker infotainment interface and a steering wheel that doesn’t rattle when you’re doing your best to keep up with the drum track on Rush’s Spirit of the Radio.

Well oiled?

2.0-litre Ingenium diesels are the obvious choice – aim for 178bhp not 161bhp if you want to get out of your own way. 355bhp supercharged V6 S definitely feels quick. Clever All Surface Progress Control and torque vectoring keep progress the right way up, with four-wheel drive available on some models. Adaptive dampers optional on all but entry SE spec.

One we found

Finance type: Third-party PCH
Deposit: £1958.47
Monthly fee: £326.41
Terms: 48 months /10,000 miles per year
Optional final payment: n/a

The specs: Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 R-sport

Price: £34,775
Engine: 1999cc 4-cyl turbodiesel, 178bhp @ 4000rpm, 317lb ft @ 1750rpm
Performance: 7.8sec 0-62mph, 140mph, 67.3mpg, 111g/km CO2

More from CAR’s top leasing deals of 2016:

From £423pm: Jaguar F-Pace

From £499pm: Volvo XC90

From £293pm: Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport

From £349pm: Mercedes C250D Estate AMG Line

From £326pm: Jaguar XE 2.0D 180 R-Sport auto

From £289pm: Mini Clubman Cooper S

From £84pm: Citroen C4 Cactus

From £530pm: Porsche Cayman and Cayman S

From £299pm: Honda Civic Type R

From £179pm: Ford Fiesta ST

From £219pm: Audi TT Coupe 1.8 TFSI Sport

From £852pm: Porsche 911 Carrera S

Find hundreds of thousands of deals in our brand new leasing section  carmagazine.co.uk/car-leasing

Read more from the March 2016 issue of CAR magazine