Jaguar recently sent in its smallest saloon, the XE, for a midlife refresh to give some impetus to the car’s lacklustre sales compared to German rivals. The Jaguar XF and F-Pace are also next in line to receive tweaks and updates all over.
The new Jaguar XE gets a sharper front fascia, with a sleek rear fascia to match. The interior is comfier and has better levels of equipment than before, but engine choices are reduced. Finally, there is a lot of I-Pace-derived technology on offer this time around.
Jaguar intends to turn around its poor sales performance with the facelifted XE, followed by updated XF and F-Pace.
Ian Callum, design director of Jaguar, said, “The XE is an enduring favourite with our younger design team – the kind of car they like to drive. 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.”
Jaguar has axed the entry-level trim from the 2020 XE catalogue. Every variant now gets 18-inch wheels (or bigger), along with all-LED lighting. Jaguar has also equipped the XE with a steering wheel inspired by the I-Pace. Every Jaguar XE gets front and rear parking aids along with a reversing camera.
Jaguar is renowned for using a retracting gear selector knob, yet it is conspicuously absent from the facelifted XE. There is a proper gearshift stick in its place that engages the car’s automatic transmission.
The 2020 Jaguar XE will be offered in either standard or R-Dynamic body designs. Both trims are clearly distinguished from each other by unique front and rear features that look different but are similar to manufacture and fit. “We’ve separated body and equipment spec from engine choice,” said Callum, “because we’re finding customers who want a sporty-looking car don’t necessarily want the highest-output engine. It might not suit their preference or tax situation.”
The signature Jaguar retracting gear selector dial is gone, replaced by a conventional shift stick.
Buyers of the 2020 Jaguar XE can choose from various tunes of the 2.0-litre Ingenium engine. The base engine makes 247hp, while its higher-strung derivative is good for 296hp, sending the sedan rocketing to the ton under six seconds. Jaguar has been going through dire straits, and the rejuvenated XE is one of the firm’s efforts to rake in some much-needed revenue. The latest refresh has left the 2020 Jaguar XE in a better state than before (both mechanically and cosmetically), which could translate into healthy sales for the firm.
Callum concluded, “We all love the XE. It’s great to see it taking Jaguar back to where it belongs.”