2020 Jaguar XE long-term test review: report 3

Jaguar’s smallest saloon, the XE, has been updated for 2020. So, should you consider choosing it over its German rivals? We’ve added one to our long-term test fleet to find out...

LT Jaguar XE - using touchscreen

The car Jaguar XE 2.0 D180 SE R-Dynamic AWD auto Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here To see if Jaguar’s recently refreshed executive car impresses or frustrates when you live with it every day

Needs to Combine fun handling with relaxing cruising manners and a prestige feel with low running costs

Miles 4286 List price £39,475 Target Price £36,693 Price as tested £47,410 Official economy 46.4mpg Test economy 40.6mpg 

24 February 2020 – A touch fiddly

It’s tempting to lay the blame entirely at Tesla’s door, but, in truth, touchscreens were already being fitted to plenty of cars by the time the electric vehicle specialist introduced its Model S – complete with an enormous iPad-style interface (below) which attracted almost as much attention as the car’s long range and outrageous acceleration.

I do think, however, that the sheer wow factor that the Tesla’s screen delivered convinced those manufacturers who were already going in this direction to double down, while also persuading many who’d been sticking with buttons and knobs to think again.

Tesla Model S

And so today we find ourselves in a world where the vast majority of cars rely on touchscreens, despite the fact these are far more distracting to use while driving than traditional controls. Not convinced? Try to type a number into a modern smartphone and a classic Nokia 3310 without looking at their respective screens, and see which is easier.

But what does any of this have to do with my Jaguar XE? Well, Jaguar is one of those brands that has been putting touchscreens in its cars for years. However, traditionally they were surrounded by proper buttons that made it easy to jump between their various menus without taking your eyes off the road.

That changed on facelifted XEs like mine; the buttons have been sacrificed so the screen could be expanded from 8.0in to 10.0in. And while this has undoubtedly resulted in a dashboard that’s much easier on the eye, it also means you spend more time staring at the screen, searching for the correct area to press.

LT Jaguar XE - magnifying touchscreen

It doesn't help that many of the icons remain frustratingly fiddly. What’s more, the system can be slow to respond and I’m finding it a bit glitchy. For example, when I’m reversing, the image from the rear-view camera will often disappear for a few seconds mid-manoeuvre.

I still think that, overall, the XE is a much better car than it was. But, when it comes to infotainment, it’s definitely trumped by the rival BMW 3 Series and Alfa Romeo Giulia – two of the last bastions of the proper control dial.

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