After being introduced as the replacement for the X-Type back in 2015, the Jaguar XE has gone up against some of the best saloons Germany has to offer, such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
But Jaguar has decided to give the saloon a mid-life upgrade to pair with the well-balanced chassis and high level of finish.
The 2019 version comes with refined looks on the outside and an improved interior finish that is a significant upgrade over the previous iteration.
With Jaguar also cutting down on the XE’s trim levels to make choosing the right car more simplified, we see whether the new version is up to scratch.
The entire engine line-up is made up of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder units – with one diesel alongside two petrol options. The entry point to the range is a 247bhp petrol, with the 178bhp diesel sitting between that and the top-end 297bhp petrol. We spent most of our time behind the wheel of the 247bhp option, which was able to go from 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 155mph.
The smooth engine – as with the rest of the line-up – is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, while customers can also choose from rear- or four-wheel drive options. Compared to the entry level BMW 3 Series, which is the 320i that develops 181bhp, the base XE is much more potent and is a lot more generous.
Ride & Handling
Jaguar ensured that the first iteration of the XE was good to drive to begin with, so the British firm didn’t have to alter the facelifted version that much anyway. With well-weighted steering, you can get a real feel of the road beneath you, while the XE manages to limit body roll and provide you with plenty of grip through the corners.
That combination usually leads to a firmer ride, but Jaguar has engineered the chassis to offer a supple ride, even on larger 19-inch alloy wheels. The only slight issue we found was with the transmission, which could be hesitant away from a standing start – but beyond that, especially in ‘Dynamic’ mode, the XE’s powertrain offered excellent responsiveness.
Interior & Equipment
The biggest change to the new XE is the interior, with Jaguar now offering the Touch Pro Duo infotainment setup as an optional extra and much more refined finish – with no hard plastics in sight. But where the XE still falters is rear passenger space, as taller occupants may struggle to sit behind the driver and the rear seats don’t fold down to allow for any additional storage room. The 455-litre boot is still large enough for most, however.
Standard equipment for the XE is good, to say the least, with LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, electric front seats, the Touch Pro single touchscreen infotainment setup, smartphone connectivity, cruise control and dual-zone climate control all available at no extra cost.
With customers able to choose from S, SE and HSE trims, as well as R-Dynamic upgrades for each, there are more than enough XE options to find the car for you. Higher spec models come with a Meridian sound system, Windsor leather upholstery and the option to fit quality extras, such as the Touch Pro Duo system, wireless smartphone charging and the Clearsight electronic rear mirror.
The P250 petrol we tested most is able to offer a claimed 36.2mpg and 159g/km CO2, although we couldn’t always get near that when on longer drives.Find local XE deals
The mild cosmetic facelift was needed to keep the XE up to speed with rivals, but the interior update has brought the Jag towards the front of the pack. With the excellent driving setup maintained from before, the changes have enhanced the overall package in terms of kit on offer and finish. Interior space is a minor drawback, but interior quality is excellent. On the whole, Jaguar has done a great job with the updates to the XE, making it a serious choice for those in the market for a luxury saloon.