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2020 Jaguar XE: First Look

  • Jaguar’s smallest sedan gets a makeover.
  • More standard equipment.
  • On sale this summer.

The 2020 Jaguar XE is a compact luxury/sport sedan. It competes with the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. So only some of the toughest rivals in the car world. Fortunately for the XE, it has plenty of virtues that make it stand out, which we’ll go into in a moment. But the main change for 2020 is a midlife revamp, which made its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show.

This involves revised designs for the nose and tail. New, smaller LED headlights are perhaps the most noticeable change. And these are now standard, along with LED taillights. The grille is also slightly wider, while each bumper receives a few tweaks.

Any Changes to the Interior?

If the XE had an area that put it at a disadvantage against its competition, it was the cabin, which wasn’t as plush as it needed to be. Jaguar has obviously heard the gripes. The 2020 XE cabin now has leather upholstery as standard, with more soft-touch plastics, classier-looking wood trim and more stowage areas.

Any More Standard Equipment?

Yes, but it isn’t strictly a case of Jaguar being more generous. Trim levels have been reduced to S, S AWD (all-wheel drive) and R-Dynamic S AWD from the eight trims of the 2019 lineup. That means the new entry level car starts at a higher rung on the metaphorical ladder, but it’s only a few grand or so more expensive.

The previous year’s model started out with 17-in alloy wheels, the 2020 XE comes with 18-in alloys, plus parking sensors at both ends, lane-keeping assist, selectable driving modes, a new multi-function steering wheel, re-sculpted front seats, driver fatigue monitoring and dual infotainment touchscreens.

What About Options?

Several features are newly available for 2020, including wireless charging (the first Jaguar to do so), Smart Settings (using artificial intelligence to learn each driver’s preferred settings) and ClearSight Rear View Mirror (showing the feed from a rear-facing camera, eliminating hindrances to vision like rear pillars and passengers’ heads).

What Changes Have Taken Place Under the Hood?

The bad news is that Jaguar has discontinued the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that endowed the XE with 340 horsepower. The company has also ditched the diesel option.

This leaves two turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engines. The base unit makes 247 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, the same as last year. This is an adequate amount of power, but Jaguar has traditionally never been about "adequate." The gutsier alternative brings 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Again, unchanged from 2019, but punchy enough to deliver a more premium experience. We’ll miss that V6, though.

Remind us of those other virtues

The XE’s suspension is a marvel. Taut, precise and responsive, yet still able to soak up bumps. The looks are arguably stylish and make a pleasant change from the ubiquitous German contenders. The body uses a lot of aluminum, contributing to the fine overall balance. And the trunk area of 15.9 cu ft. is seriously useful.

Drivers who wear sunglasses with polarized lenses (like Ray-Bans) will also appreciate the optional head-up display, which is laser-based rather than LED-based and therefore more visible when rocking the Wayfarers or the Aviators.

When Is It Available and How Much Will It Cost?

The 2020 Jaguar XE goes on sale summer 2019. The entry level S trim with rear-wheel drive starts at $40,895, adding AWD increases the price by $2,000. And the new range-topping R-Dynamic S AWD begins at $47,290. Find a Jaguar XE for sale

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