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Inside the 2016 Jaguar XE (29 Photos)

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Jaguar’s all-new XE entry-level sedan debuted on U.S. soil at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This is the first time we’ve seen the XE in person, and it put one of my concerns to rest that there wouldn’t be enough distinction in size between the compact XE and midsize XF considering the XE looks like a slightly smaller XF. Experiencing the XE’s extreme compactness up close put that concern to rest.

More 2015 Detroit Auto Show News

Perhaps I thought the XE would be larger because its design and proportions are so similar to the XF and full-size XJ four-doors. The XE’s interior is quite compact with tight proportions that provide a coupelike interior experience similar to Mercedes-Benz’s CLA-Class and Audi’s A3. That doesn’t mean uncomfortable, however, considering I had just enough room — I’m 6 feet tall — up front and in the backseat, though any extra room is nonexistent.

The XE’s cabin feels especially narrow after sitting in the roomy XF next to it on the show floor. A low driver’s seat creates more of a performance coupe seating position with legs stretched outward compared with the more upright seating of the XF. The XE’s low roofline contributes to the coupelike experience from the driver’s seat without the typical poor visibility of a two-door.

The XE’s rear digs didn’t look very inviting at first. I found enough room in back for my long legs even after adjusting the driver’s seat to my liking behind the wheel. The XE’s backseat isn’t one of the roomiest in the segment and is about on par with the Lexus IS sedan. Helping squeeze every last bit of backseat room out of the XE are cutouts in the backrest of the front seats that provide much needed knee room with barely enough space to avoid resting a knee on the front seat’s backside. Rear headroom is a similarly close call; I could feel the top of my hair brushing against the top of the interior.

The XE’s interior design and style is without a doubt a Jaguar, using similar soft and rounded interior elements found in Jaguar’s other sedans. The leather-clad interior of the show model is appropriate for the class except for a few materials on the door panels. There was a large disparity between the soft-touch quality of the arm rest and the dull molded plastic speaker covers. Still, it is a step up from the smallest Audi and Mercedes and closer to Cadillac’s ATS, which is quite nice inside. Quality quips like the inconsistent materials of the door panel are sometimes addressed once a vehicle makes its way to production, but the XE’s small interior is here to stay. That’s not necessarily bad, because some other brands’ lineups don’t differ in size as significantly. With the XE you know you are indeed getting the “baby” Jag.

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Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

Photo of Joe Bruzek
Managing Editor Joe Bruzek’s 22 years of automotive experience doesn’t count the lifelong obsession that started as a kid admiring his dad’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette — and continues to this day. Joe’s been an automotive journalist with Cars.com for 16 years, writing shopper-focused car reviews, news and research content. As Managing Editor, one of his favorite areas of focus is helping shoppers understand electric cars and how to determine whether going electric is right for them. In his free time, Joe maintains a love-hate relationship with his 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that he wishes would fix itself. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-bruzek-2699b41b/ Email Joe Bruzek

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