Today’s Nice Price or No Dice XE is a model that Jaguar introduced to go up against BMW’s mighty 3 Series. It may have fallen short at that task, but could this car’s wildly depreciated price tag mean that in this case at least, failure is an option?
Ribbon candy and sensible cars are disparate products that have one thing in common: They are both stereotypical and rarely used accouterments of your average grandma. Yesterday’s 1987 Chevy Celebrity wagon was in fact advertised as being one of those grandma cars. With just 100,000 miles on the odometer and a pristine appearance, it certainly fits the bill. At just $2,000, it didn’t take much to make that granny’s car yours either, a fact reflected by the Chevy’s amazing 91 percent Nice Price win. Now how about some ribbon candy?
Before we get to that sweet treat, however, let me ask you something. Have you ever “let the cat out of the bag?” This phrase, which means to reveal something by accident or surprise, goes all the way back to the 16th century. Back then the expression had a literal origin. At the time, markets sold live animals in bags to make them easier to handle and less likely to run away. Some unscrupulous sellers would substitute cats for piglets in the bags, thus ripping off unwary buyers who wouldn’t realize the dupe until after the seller was long gone. To let the cat out of the bag was to reveal the con before the deal was done. By the way, the bags in which the animals were sold were called “pokes” and that’s where we also get the idiom “ a pig in a poke” as well as the word “pocket,” which is a small bag sewn into one’s clothes.
If you, like our piglet-purchasing predecessors, are of the mindset that cats are of inherently lesser value than, say a pig, what are we to then make of this 2017 Jaguar XE 35t?
Jaguar slotted the XE in as its entry-level model beginning with the 2015 model year. The car rides on the company’s modular D7 platform and was made available as either rear- or all-wheel drive. To improve economies of scale, the D7 also served as the basis for the XF, F-Pace and the Land Rover Velar.
Unfortunately for Jaguar, few car buyers were interested in the company’s alternative to the class-standard BMW 3 Series. Jag’s weird naming convention (35t?) probably didn’t help matters either. After lackluster sales and near invisibility in the marketplace, Jaguar discontinued the U.S. model in 2020.
The reason that XE didn’t take wasn’t that it was a bad car, but perhaps simply because it was “a car.” If buyers were interested in a Jag — and honestly, not all that many people are — they were far more likely to buy an F-Pace crossover. That tall wagon has been the brand’s best-selling offering for the past several years.
Not everybody wants to drive around all up in the air, however, and this 70,000-mile XE looks like it might be a solid alternative to that experience. Powering the Jag is a 2995 cc AJ126 V6 that brings to the party fully 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of twist. The ad claims an ECU flash gives this car 400 horses for even more punch. Backing up the engine is an eight-speed ZF automatic, which is operated via Jag’s funky elevating shift dial in the console. While AWD was available in the XE, this one spins only its back tires. Those tires, along with the fronts, wrap around black-painted Venom wheels, which afford the car some visual interest countering the refrigerator white bodywork.
Everything looks to be in fine shape here, with no notable flaws in either that paint or the body beneath. The interior presents likewise and features both leather seating surfaces and a slew of comfort and convenience features. A panorama roof tops the cabin and handily brightens the darkly-upholstered space.
The car’s only questionable aspect may be the resonator delete noted in the ad. That was likely to free up the exhaust flow — or maybe to make the car sound more aggressive — but it seems silly on a daily driver.
As we noted, the XE was not a successful car for Jag in the U.S. That has led to alarming depreciation over the short span of the model’s life here. This one stickered at just shy of $50k when new; the seller now asks $17,995 for the clear-title car. That’s less than half the original asking price, a mere five years later.
Does that seem like a deal for the car as it sits? More important, is this a price at which the XE finally makes sense?
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