No one should be surprised, as we’ve written a version of this story already many times recently: A sedan is going away, and a crossover SUV is taking its place. The models and marques matter less, in general, than the broader market forces and consumer tastes at work. In this case, the compact Jaguar XE luxury sedan will be a thing of the past. And the E-Pace crossover will be a thing of the future—or at least the thing that sticks around in the XE’s stead.
Even among the European luxury automakers, Jaguar is a small player in the U.S. market. And the XE, the company’s until-now entry level vehicle, is an attractive contender with great design, but some real faults. And it isn’t, and has never been, the best car in its segment. It’s a car that engenders fondness, but not passion, to most who’ve reviewed it. It’s a fun car to have a fling with, but it’s not on the top of enough peoples’ lists to be a segment breakout. That’s a problem—not one exclusive to the XE—but given the atrocious sales numbers it racks up, Jag’s decision shouldn’t be a surprise.
The XE has only barely broken four-figure unit sales in a month a couple of times in this country, but that was years ago, and lately monthly figures are struggling to break out of the 100s. That’s bad. The E-Pace, the brand’s entry-level SUV for now—and the brand’s entry level vehicle in absolute terms once the XE goes away—generally doubles those figures. Still not an outstanding performance, but a considerable difference. More importantly, a significant majority of luxury car buyers seek SUVs. The XE, whatever its charms, is the wrong car at the wrong time.
With the death of the XE, the lineup will start with the aforementioned E-Pace, and the XF sedan will be reduced in price to partially compensate. Jaguar says the XF offers midsize-sedan comfort at a better overall value than the XE, and the company’s investing in a bold new full-size XJ. That’s up to buyers to determine, but we’re keen on the recently refreshed 2021 Jaguar F-Pace and just-revealed 2021 XF, an elegant restyling that brings some welcome interior upgrades.
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