- Sharp handling
- Plentiful powertrain options
- Smooth ride
- Generous standard touchscreen...
- …but Apple CarPlay costs more
- Styling is getting a little stale
- Cramped rear seat
- Will anyone notice the XE anymore?
The 2019 Jaguar XE compact luxury sedan reminds us of the halcyon days of small four-door luxury cars.
The 2019 Jaguar XE catches up to compact luxury sedan shoppers—as many of them start to leave for bigger crossovers.
This year, the XE gets a handful of appearance packages, a standard 10-inch touchscreen on all models and optional Apple CarPlay compatibility.
We give the XE a 5.8 on our overall scale that’s skewed toward base models. Equipped with the V-6, the XE can be thrilling and sharp—we hear more is on the way soon. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For those expecting classic Jag lines and soft curves, the XE will disappoint. In some ways, it’s a better looking German sedan than German sedans, and it’s very closely styled to the XF.
Inside, the XE’s compact dimensions give the conservative interior a better stage. It’s less boring, but it’s also far removed from the XJ’s sumptuous seating.
The XE offers a choice among three turbocharged inline-4s and one supercharged V-6. The performance pick is clear, but the trio of turbo-4s have their advantages. The 25t’s 247-horsepower gas-powered turbo-4 is the least expensive way into a Jaguar these days, for about $38,000 to start. The 20d turbodiesel inline-4 is rated up to 42 mpg on the highway, and the 30t’s gas-powered turbo-4 makes nearly 300 hp, although it’s not as thrilling as near-sport sedans such as the BMW M340i and Mercedes-Benz AMG C43.
Thrills don’t come cheaply, but they do come in the Jag XE for enough money. The XE S gets a 380-hp supercharged V-6 that’s stout and pushes the sedan up to 60 mph in less than five seconds, but it’s just on the softer side of hardcore performance sedans.
All-wheel drive comes with a $2,500 upcharge; all Jaguar XEs team their engines with an 8-speed automatic.
The XE is comfortable up front, but rear-seat passengers may struggle with knee room, provided they can make it into the small door cutouts in the first place.
The XE’s trunk is sizable, and there’s good storage inside. Synthetic leather is standard, but we suggest spending up for the real stuff.
Active safety features such as automatic emergency braking are standard on some top trims, pricey options on middle grades, and not at all available on base cars. Blind-spot monitors and a surround-view camera system is available as a spend-up option, but advanced driver assistance programs aren’t on the options sheet at all.
Every XE gets 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, synthetic leather upholstery, keyless ignition, power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a 10-inch touchscreen. There’s better news: Jaguar’s 5-year/60,000-mile warranty is among the tops in the business.
2019 Jaguar XE
The 2019 XE takes all of the good inspiration from other compact luxury sedans, and none of the risks, too.
You’d be forgiven for confusing the 2019 XE with a bigger XF. You might actually be thanked.
For the smallest Jaguar sedan in the lineup, Jaguar kept it mostly the same. They have their reasons, but it’s not for style’s sake.
We give the XE a 5 out of 10 for being about average in the class. Nothing wrong, but nothing exciting either. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The XE is easily confused with the bigger XF for better Jaguar recognition in a sea of Mercedes-Benz and BMW sedans. Although the XE looks positivity Teutonic in its influences—a hint of Bavaria, we say—it sports the customary Jaguar nose, decorated on the S version with big mesh intakes. Optional blacked-out trim makes the look more menacing.
In back, the XE channels a little bit of the handsome F-Type in its rear end and the rear quarter helps propel the shape forward.
Inside, the XE dials back some of the glitz in the XJ, but perhaps a bit too much. The XE’s smaller cabin means there’s less open space than the XF, which is a good thing, but both border on too dark. Lighter shades help open up the interior.
2019 Jaguar XE
It’s not the Jag you might expect, but the 2019 XE gets a comfortable ride that borders on sporty in V-6-powered versions.
Jaguar’s list of powertrains should be mostly familiar to any shopper in the class.
A base 2.0-liter turbo-4 is the kind of engine we’d take home to the parents. A high-power V-6 is spicy and available. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.
Jaguar has a couple curves to throw: the turbo-4 has a high-output version and there’s a turbodiesel available for long-haul efficiency.
It’s the XE’s steering and handling that has us more impressed. We give it a 6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
More XEs will get a 2.0-liter turbo-4 underhood. The base version is a 247-hp turbo-4 that pairs to an 8-speed automatic and it drives the rear or all four wheels. It’s a good performer, but perhaps not thrilling, and motivates the sedan up to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.
The higher-output version of the same engine spins out 297 hp and does the same dash about a half-second faster. We haven’t yet driven this version, we’ll report back once we do.
Most of our turns were behind the wheels of the turbodiesel or supercharged V-6 versions. With the turbodiesel, the XE returns more than 40 mpg on the highway, although its 180 hp isn’t thrilling. The 8-speed automatic eagerly upshifts when not dialed into Sport mode, there isn’t much power in the top of the range anyway.
The higher power V-6 fringes on sport sedan territory, but the Jag’s supple suspension won’t take us all the way there. The V-6 rates at 380 hp, and slingshots the XE to 60 mph in less than five seconds.
The 8-speed automatic in all versions, but particularly gas-powered models, is predictable and solid. Paddle-shifters fire off rapid shifts, and twisting the shift knob over to Sport transforms its behavior from reserved to rowdy.
The XE’s double wishbone front suspension and rear multilink are partially constructed of aluminum and sharp—we’d hold the Jag up to the best in the class for handling.
With 17-inch tires, the ride is more sedate but far from the flying carpet ride in older Jags. There’s a little bounding in the standard spring setup, but adaptive dampers do a better job of clamping down on the road. Everything but the big 20-inchers stuffed into the wheel wells of the XE S do their best to soak up the road.
The pinnacle for XE performance is out of reach, for now. A special-edition V-8-powered XE SV Project 8 makes 592 hp and rockets up to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. Before you run down to the Jag showroom, a couple of things: all 300 have been spoken for, and they were $192,000 each.
Bummer. But a V-8 XE should be in the works, too.
2019 Jaguar XE
Comfort & Quality
The 2019 XE is a scaled-down replica of the bigger and more expensive XF and rear-seat passengers pick up the tab for the smaller price.
The 2019 Jaguar XE shares an aluminum skeleton with the bigger XF, but saws off rear seat accommodations to fit a price and size.
The smaller dimensions are a boon to its fit and finish: the XE seems nicer inside than the XF, but the smaller Jag’s interior space is just average. We land at a 6. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Of course, Jaguar isn’t alone in sticking it to rear-seat passengers. The Cadillac ATS sticks it to rear-seat passengers, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class isn’t much better.
By the numbers, the XE is 183.9 inches long and rides atop a 111.6-inch wheelbase. The rear door cutouts are small and awkwardly sized, which means getting in can be a challenge for bad backs, knees...pick a major ligament.
Once aboard, 6-footers can snuggle behind other 6-footers but knee room will be compromised for both.
The front seats are comfortable and aren’t overly aggressive with firm upholstery hugs. Synthetic leather is standard in base trims, but real leather and cooled seats can be added for more money. We suggest both.
The trunk’s 16.1 cubic feet is spacious for the class, same goes for the bigger XF. But base XEs don’t have a split-folding rear seat, which reminds us of BMWs from not too long ago—not in a good way.
The XE’s straightforward interior skips the glitz of the XJ, which we understand for the price. The smaller cabin in the XE isn’t as dark and morose as the XF’s vast expanse of black, but one ergonomic curiosity has us vexed. Why are the window switches up high on the sills (like they are in a Land Rover) and the door locks down low?
2019 Jaguar XE
The 2019 XE lacks complete crash data.
Federal and independent testers haven’t sacrificed a Jaguar XE to any walls. Given the relatively small number sold, that’s not likely to change soon. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Automatic emergency braking isn’t available on base sedans at all. Premium and Prestige-trimmed XEs offer it as a spendy extra and higher trim levels get the life-saving hardware bundled into the cost.
Blind-spot monitors, lane departure warnings, automatic high beams, and parking sensors are bundled with automatic emergency braking, but active lane control or any hands-off driver assistants aren’t available at all.
The XE has only average outward vision. The steeply raked rear window and thick roof pillars compromise the view out of the back.
2019 Jaguar XE
Jaguar’s superlative warranty covers a long list of trim packages that make the 2019 XE highly customizable.
With a base price of $37,990, including destination, the 2019 XE gets the basics right but the price can balloon quickly from there.
Every XE gets 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, synthetic leather upholstery, keyless ignition, power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a 10-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay connectivity is new, but a spend-up option. Thankfully a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty is included in the price.
We give the XE points above average for its warranty, infotainment screen, and good options, but take a point back for charging more for automatic emergency braking and smartphone compatibility. We land at a 7. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Jaguar offers the XE in base turbo-4 25t, turbodiesel 20d, high-po turbo-4 30t, and V-6-powered S configurations.
Jaguar breaks down each powertrain into a handful of trim levels: base, Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport. Landmark Editions are available on the lower-output turbo-4 and turbodiesel; the higher-power turbo-4 offers Portfolio and 300 Sport trims; the V-6 is available only in S trim.
Premium trims add a few conveniences such as a split-folding rear seat and premium audio but don’t go far enough. The Prestige trim adds a gulp-worthy $6,740 to the bottom line, but it’s where the XE should be.
For $44,730 for an XE 25t Prestige, Jaguar offers leather upholstery, heated front seats, navigation, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch wheels, and a wi-fi hotspot (subscription required). It’s a big upcharge on the small sedan but frankly, other automakers do the base luxury compact thing better.
Not satisfied? Money burning holes in your pockets? For $57,280, the 2019 XE S offers 18-way adjustable front seats, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, automatic emergency braking, a heated steering wheel, 19-inch wheels, and navigation.
Upgraded features such as a surround-view camera system and Apple CarPlay compatibility are still spend-up extras on the top trim level, somehow. You can probably keep the pen from the dealership, though.
All-wheel drive is a $2,500 option on all trims.
This year, the Landmark Edition and 300 Sport trim levels add appearance packages on top of the sporty R-Sport trims. The money may be better spent on more power, rather than the appearance of it.
2019 Jaguar XE
It may be a compact sedan, but the 2019 Jaguar XE rates similarly to mid-size sedans across the showroom.
The 2019 XE sticks to its trio of turbocharged inline-4 engines—two gas, one diesel—and a supercharged V-6.
Most of the range is respectable for fuel economy, but it’s not much more frugal than the bigger XF.
The most popular XE rates 25 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined. That’s for a turbo-4 and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive extracts just 1 mpg from the city rating. Both earn a 5 out of 10 on our fuel economy scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The turbodiesel is the most efficient, but those are hard to find. The EPA rates the Jaguar XE 20d at 32/42/36 mpg with rear-wheel drive—the mid-size XF with a turbodiesel is rated nearly identically. Adding all-wheel drive to the XE 20d shaves 2 mpg across the board.
Equipped with a supercharged V-6, the 2019 XE rates 21/30/24 mpg; adding all-wheel drive knocks each number back by 1 mpg.
The least efficient XE is the V-8-powered SV Project 8, which rates 16/22/18 mpg. We have bad news and worse news about those: they’re all gone, and they cost $192,000 each.
The XE keeps pace with most of its rivals, though. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is rated up to 25 mpg combined with a turbo-4, and most versions of the Audi A4 are rated at 27 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.