Price cut and mild hybrids for new Jaguar XE

Published: 06 October 2020 Updated: 06 October 2020

Jag’s 2020 XE revealed
MHEV engines, new tech
Lower entry price to tempt you…

Jaguar’s smallest saloon gets a new mild-hybrid diesel engine for 2021, along with a lower price for the entry model and some cabin improvements.

The XE line-up is now much simpler – down from the 2020 version’s 24 derivatives to 2021’s 13. The range now starts at £29,635 for the less powerful of the two petrol versions, down from £34,255. (The Mercedes C-Class saloon starts at £34,600, the BMW 3-series at £31,110.)

What’s changed?

The XE’s exterior styling was updated for 2020, so the 2021 changes are focused on cabin upgrades and the new engine. The old diesel engine is replaced by a mild-hybrid version that’s 24bhp more powerful.

XE rear

A starter-generator, connected to the engine by belt, captures energy from coasting and braking and stores it as electricity in a new 48-volt lithium-ion battery under the boot and rear seat. That energy is deployed as torque when needed to help acceleration and the stop-start function, thus reducing the load on the diesel engine, and in turn lowering fuel consumption and emissions.

Inside the changes include a new steering wheel (with metal gearshift paddles), and improved air filtration and ionisation.

It gets Jaguar’s latest infotainment system, Pivi Pro, which here involves a central 10-inch touchscreen (and optional 5.5in lower screen) and 12.3-inch instrument screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and a head-up display optional.

So what’s the choice?

The 2021 XE range consists of three four-cylinder 2.0-litre engines, all driving eight-speed automatic transmissions. The 201bhp mild-hybrid diesel is rear-wheel drive, as is the 247bhp petrol, while the 296bhp petrol is all-wheel drive). There are now five trim levels (S, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, R-Dynamic HSE and R-Dynamic Black).

XE interior

Why have they done this?

Scott Dicken, JLR’s UK sales director, says: ‘It’s very unusual in this industry that we are in a position where, from model year to model year, you can actually reduce the overall retail price of the vehicle.’ Key to the simpler line-up is its transparency, and its focus on the most popular options, which should help residual values.

‘This is really about assisting that journey for the customer and making it a much simpler proposition. What we’re trying to do is give the customer more opportunity to be clearer about what a car is actually going to cost.’

By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions