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Comparison: 2020 Acura TLX vs 2020 Jaguar XE

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In a market segment dominated by German sedans, people often forget to consider certain players who have good qualities. These sedans that aren't always on shoppers’ short lists are worth serious consideration.

I should point out that Acura sells many more TLX cars (4,200) than Jaguar moves XEs (850) in Canada. But is the difference based on merit?

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2020 Acura TLX

Photo: D.Boshouwers

The TLX midsize sedan has been in Acura's lineup since 2015, when it replaced the TL. It was then, and still is, the first Acura of its size to be equipped with a 4-cylinder engine. In 2018, it benefited from a mid-cycle refit that included beautifying it with the company's gorgeous pentagonal grille and diamond-shaped LED headlights.

New features and changes
Even with sales figures that are holding up well in the segment, you don’t generally hear too much about the TLX. For 2020, Acura is adding a Performance Package to the lineup that's hand-installed by the same people who do the work on the NSX. This package touches on the engine, electronics and some interior components.

Versions and mechanics
Acura still offers buyers the choice of a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engine. The former comes in the A-Spec and Tech A-Spec versions, with front-wheel drive only. It’s a 2.4-litre unit making 206 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque combined with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission,

The V6 gets all-wheel drive, and the trim levels are A-Spec, Tech, A-Spec Tech, Elite and Elite A-Spec. This 3.5-litre unit delivers 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque and gives buyers access to the company’s SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) system that distributes power between the front and rear axles and can also shift torque from left to right for added grip that comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

Photo: D.Boshouwers

Standard Equipment
All TLXs come with forward collision warning, auto braking, lane change warning with lane departure assist, tire-pressure monitor, 19-inch wheels, automatic low beam lights, windshield de-icing system, heated mirrors, LED fog lights, sunroof, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and auto-dimming mirror.

You also get automatic climate control, electronic handbrake, rearview camera with multiple angles, 7-speaker audio system, compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto applications, heated front seats, 10 adjustments for the driver's seat (4 for the front passenger seat), as well as extensions for the front seat.

The A-Spec Tech variant adds blind spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, retractable mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, navigation system and 10-speaker audio system with hard drive, as well as heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

Photo: D.Boshouwers

The SH-AWD A-Spec model adds a start/stop feature, electronic gear selector and 8-way power-adjustable passenger seat.

SH-AWD Elite adds auto-dimming outside mirrors, chrome door sill trim, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree camera, wireless smartphone charging and ventilated front seats.

Photo: Acura

On the road
Consumers are faced with a tough choice here, as the most effective transmission is without a doubt the 8-speed - which only comes with the 4-cylinder and FWD. Those who want all-wheel drive will turn to the V6 but get the wonkier 9-speed box. To my mind, Acura should have offered 4-wheel drive with the 4-cylinder or the 8-speed transmission with the V6.

In any event, without doing anything particularly sporty, the TLX offers good performance and is impressively poised on the road.

2020 Jaguar XE

Photo: D.Heyman

Jaguar, despite a massive drop in sales of its entry-level sedan, is keeping the XE in the lineup in 2020, though with a few changes. The update brings styling changes, new LED headlights and interior and technological improvements. The front and rear bumpers are new, the dashboard now houses the Touch Pro Duo dual-screen infotainment system and you’ll find a rearview camera in the interior mirror.

Jaguar has abandoned the supercharged V6 and diesel powertrain, reducing powertrain choices to a single 4-cylinder engine tuned in two different ways. On the SE P250 models, the engine generates 247 hp and 269 lb-ft, while the R-Dynamic P300 models benefit from a version optimized for 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission are standard on both models.

Standard equipment
Features on the XE include LED headlights with automatic high beam, rain-sensitive wipers, heated side mirrors with auto-down and auto-dimming functions, 18-inch wheels, tire pressure monitoring, interior lighting with different moods and leather seats.

Photo: D.Heyman

You also get dual-zone automatic climate control with auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-inch multimedia touch screen, cell phone integration, front collision detection with automatic emergency braking, Queue Assist, driver condition monitor and power parking brake.

The R-Dynamic with its more powerful engine adds a version-specific body kit, larger front brakes, single 18-inch wheels, satin chrome steering wheel paddle shifters, aluminum mesh upholstery, seats with contrast stitching and black headliner.

On the road
Even if the brand suffers from a poor reputation in terms of overall quality, Jaguar products are still fun to drive. The Ingenium formula with the most powerful engine offers enough bite that you can call the XE sporty with a straight face. The interior is refined and the level of comfort worthy of the British brand.

Advantage Acura TLX

Although there have been some issues with the 9-speed transmission, the TLX is overall more reliable. There's also a longer list of standard equipment, and its starting price is more reasonable.

Advantage Jaguar XE

Jaguar offers slightly more comfort and a more upscale environment in the XE. That's no surprise considering the higher base price. There's also more power across the rev range and a larger trunk.

Similarities

Both offer the possibility of all-wheel drive and an inspiring ride. The size is also very comparable, as is the basic warranty and fuel consumption of the 4-cylinder engines, which are not very different.

Verdict

Despite all the firm's promises, the Jaguar XE has just never delivered on them. The disappearance of several other models in the category in 2020 accompanied by a redesign shows that Jaguar is giving it another try, but this market segment is ruthless. The XE can make sense if you lease, and return it at the end of it. The TLX is a better buy, even if it's not perfect; it's certainly more reliable and offers enough fun to put a smile on your face.

2020 Acura TLX

We like

Comfortable road handling
Proven reliability
Well-designed interior

We like less

Older on-board technology
Not as performing as Jaguar
Hideous grille

2020 Jaguar XE

We like

A more rewarding and modern interior
Dynamic on-road behaviour
P300 version is the most homogeneous

We like less

Turning diameter
Disappearance of the V6 and diesel
Unnecessarily complex infotainment system

See also our Comparison: 2020 Acura TLX vs 2020 Infiniti Q50

Specifications

... 2020 Acura TLX2020 Jaguar XE
 Transmission8- or 9-sp auto8-sp auto
 DrivetrainFWD and AWDAWD
    
  2.4 LBase
 Fuel consumption (city)10.1L/100 km9.8L/100 km
 Fuel consumption (highway)7.1L/100 km6.9L/100 km
  3.5L TR-Dynamic
 Fuel consumption (city)11.4L/100 km10.1L/100 km
 Fuel consumption (highway)7.7L/100 km7.2L/100 km
    
 Engine  
 TypeGasGas
 Output206 hp247 hp
 Torque182 lb-ft269 lb-ft
 Cylinders44
 Displacement2.4L2.0L T
    
 TypeGasGas
 Output290 hp295 hp
 Torque267 lb-ft297 lb-ft
 Cylinders64
 Displacement3.5L T2.0L T
 Capacities  
 Cargo space405 L450 L
 Fuel tank65 L63 L
 Dimensions  
 Length4844 mm4672 mm
 Width1853 mm1967 mm
 Height1447 mm1416 mm
 Wheelbase2775 mm            2835 mm
 Warranty4 yrs/80,000 km4 yrs/80,000 km
 Pricing$36,200 to $49,290$50,000 to $56,000