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The Jaguar XE gets a much-needed facelift, with keen design enhancements and a notably improved cabin, to keep it fresh amidst tough competition.

09 Sep 2020


When the Jaguar XE was first launched, we were impressed by its athletic capabilities, sweet ride, sharp style and overall quality. And, stacked up against segment heavy hitters such as the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the baby Jag certainly held its own.

However, the XE is coming on in years now. Launched back in 2015, the model is in need of an update to keep it fresh within a highly competitive compact executive sedan segment.

Can this facelifted model still take it to the big boys? 

Sharp teeth

The Jaguar XE continues to be a muscular and athletic compact executive sedan
The XE has always impressed with its looks, and the facelift model is similarly handsome. You get new all-LED lights, a fuller and wider grille, and redesigned bumpers front and back. This R-Dynamic variant features sporty front and rear bumpers. Overall, the car has a sleek and muscular demeanour that lends its ample road presence.

The extensive updates are most noticeable in the cabin. The car now comes equipped with the 10-inch Touch Pro Duo system, which features a dual-screen setup in the centre console (familiar from the I-PACE or its Land Rover stablemates). A gear lever now replaces the rotary wheel gear selector found in the pre-facelift model. There's also a fully digital dashboard that can be configured in a multitude of ways. And, the steering wheel is also new.

The new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system is sleek and easy to operate
There's also the ClearSight rear view mirror first seen in the Range Rover Evoque. It uses a rear-facing camera to deliver a wide, 50-degree field of view. It takes a little getting used to (depth perception is slightly different from a standard mirror), but once you get used to it, it's a pretty nifty function (if not absolutely necessary).

All in all, the cabin of the updated XE definitely feels more upmarket now. It's a lovely place to be in. 

Padded feet

The ClearSight rear view mirror gives you a wide and unobstructed view
On the road, the XE definitely still ranks high on comfort and athleticism. At cruising speeds, the suspension, even the sportier one fitted onto this R-Dynamic variant, feels supple and forgiving.

The steering is light and well-calibrated, and this accentuates the car's athletic capabilities when you take it through a couple of corners. Turn in is keen and accurate, and the car's balance through corners is faultless.

There are issues, though. Most notably, the drivetrain is somewhat languid. The 2.0-litre engine pumps out 247bhp and 350Nm of torque, but it never really feels like that much. Partially, this is down to the car's 1,611kg kerb weight, as it does feel heavier and chunkier than before.

The 2.0-litre engine produces 247bhp and 350Nm of torque
The drivetrain's responsiveness is also sometimes lacking. There's a noticeable delay between throttle input and engine response, especially when you lift off the throttle - the car continues to roll forward for a split second before the engine braking kicks in. It's an issue that I've also experienced in the Evoque, and it can be a little frustrating at carpark speeds.

Enthusiastic drivers will also be left a little wanting by the gearbox. On light driving, the gearbox is smooth and seamless enough. However, when driven with aggressive throttling, the gearbox becomes hesitant about its gear selection choices, and gearshifts are met with some jerkiness.

Keen cat

With sharp looks and a notably improved cabin, the Jaguar XE definitely gets itself back into the middle of the pack
The Jaguar XE has been updated in notable ways - the sharper design and notably improved cabin equipment and quality go a long way to improving the car's overall appeal. While it undeniably still retains its agile handling and smooth ride, the XE's powertrain is a little underwhelming compared to the rest of the car.

The key to the XE, at least in our view, is to embrace it for what it is - a comfortable and luxurious feel-good cruiser. In the hands of a typical XE owner, its agile handling prowess will likely never see the light of day, so the drivetrain shortcomings won't be so much of an issue. 

This facelift model may not overtake the pack, but the little Jag has definitely caught up, and now finds itself right in the midst of the action.

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Car Information

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Price

: $206,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1997cc

Horsepower

:

184kW (247 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

365 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Jaguar Sequential Shift

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

6.5sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

13.9 km/L

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