Since its debut, the XE has essentially been a smaller clone of Jaguar's mid-size XF. The 2020 updates, however, bring it even closer to its bigger brother. First, the look of the XE’s front end starts with powerful LED headlights accented with J-shaped running lights. In the rear, all versions feature updated rear bumpers with separated chrome exhaust tips. The performance R-Dynamic models swap black exterior trim in place of chrome and feature sportier alloy wheels up to 21 inches in diameter.
With upgrades in looks and performance, the Jaguar doesn’t disappoint however it excels in one area: luxury. Inside you will find better cabin materials, a new screen-based gauge cluster, and a fabulous infotainment system. Taking tech to the next level, the 2020 XE adopts the steering wheel and Jaguar Land Rover's InControl Touch Pro Duo interface from the I-Pace. Warren Henry Jaguar of Miami says that there is a push from the factory to reduce what few physical buttons the XE had left and place their control on the LCD panel.
As with any new screen-based interface, the menu paths and functions take some time to learn and operate smoothly. Also among the XE's new-for-2020 componentry is a conventional pistol-style shift lever that replaces the previous model's unusual rotary shifter. The pistol shift lever facilitates manual gear selection—push forward for downshifts, pull back for upshifts just like days of old. A digital rearview mirror is newly optional, as is an inductive charging pad for smartphones. Jaguar's latest head-up display is extraordinarily useful, specifically its display of ever-changing speed limits
The 2020 XE incorporates a number of new soft-touch materials while integrating added functionality. Newly designed door panels now fit one-liter water bottles and the center tunnel and rear door panels are nicely finished. R-Dynamic models add steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles and contrast stitching, plus updated sport seats.
Great Handling Remains
While the XE steers with laser precision, and the body stays flat in corners. The newly optional Dynamic Handling package on the R-Dynamic model brings adaptive damping and upgraded brake hardware. Standard drive-mode selections (Comfort, Eco, Rain/Ice/Snow, and Dynamic) allow fine-tuning of the steering, engine, and transmission responsiveness. The only oddity we noted in driving was the active exhaust note, which sounded a little too pronounced in its amplification of the 2.0-liter inline four's exhaust sounds.
At $47,500 to start, the XE comes standard with all-wheel drive that primarily drives the rear axle until detected slippage prompts the front axle to step in. As noted in earlier XEs, the engines and attendant ZF eight-speed automatic transmission are nicely matched to this Jaguar's size and weight.
A Fine Update
Keeping the best parts of a car while fixing the pieces that aren't up to snuff is what mid-cycle updates are for. With its nicely freshened interior, the XE fulfills its luxury sports-sedan mission.