Jaguar is treating its smallest saloon, the XE, to a package of mid-life improvements and upgrades – and including a generous sprinkling of I-Pace fairy dust – in a move aimed at boosting disappointing sales compared with dominant German rivals.
The new XE gets a more assertive face plus snappier rear styling to match. There’s also a plusher and significantly better-equipped interior and a package of driver-oriented instruments, controls and technology originally brought to market by Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace. The new model goes on sale this week at prices starting from £33,915.
“The XE is an enduring favourite with our younger design team – the kind of car they like to drive,” said design director Ian Callum. “The mechanical package was always brilliant and it has terrific proportions and stance. But a while ago, we started feeling it needed to look more assertive against its very tough competition. If you wanted to criticise, you could also say that maybe we didn’t give it the interior it deserved. But now we’ve corrected that. In a sense, we’ve reinvented the whole car.”
For 2020, Jaguar has removed a classic entry-level variant from its XE range. Every model now gets 18in wheels (or bigger) plus LED headlights and tail-lights. There’s an elegant steering wheel first introduced on the I-Pace and every XE gets front and rear parking aids and a reversing camera. The car also gets a gearstick to work its standard automatic transmission instead of a twist-selector, a nod to its more clearly defined sporting nature.
The XE will be offered in either standard or sportier R-Dynamic body designs – clearly distinguished by rear and frontal features that look different but are similar to manufacture and fit. Each of the two is available in S, SE and HSE trim levels. Jaguar marketing people reckon this system offers a continuing comprehensive choice while reducing the potential for buyer confusion.