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2021 Jaguar E-Pace

Overview

The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace is an alluring and entertaining subcompact crossover, but it’s not quite as luxurious or practical as premium alternatives. However, if unique branding and handsome styling are priorities, Jaguar’s little ute might tickle your fancy. After all, we’re impressed with its lively driving manners and the appealing sounds of its turbocharged four-cylinder engines. While they come in two potencies—246 or 296 horsepower—and all-wheel drive is standard, they’re not especially fuel-efficient. Plus, the Jag’s hefty curb weight hurts acceleration times versus rivals such as the BMW X1 and the Volvo XC40. Still, if its small back seat and higher price tag aren’t dealbreakers, the 2021 E-Pace can turn heads and make you smile.

What’s New for 2021?

Jaguar updates the 2021 E-Pace lineup with some fresh styling inside and out, as well as several newly available features. The exterior cues include a revised front bumper with more prominent apertures, a reshaped grille with a snazzier mesh design, and new LED headlights with “double J-blade” daytime running lights. Inside, a larger 11.4-inch curved touchscreen running Jaguar’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system is now available. Likewise, a digital rearview mirror joins the options sheet. The steering wheel, shifter, and HVAC controls have all been redesigned, too. The E-Pace’s interior also gets some nicer trim pieces and soft-touch materials. Jaguar says the subcompact crossover’s chassis and powertrain are improved to offer better throttle response, a more comfortable ride, and reduced cabin noise.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

As with most crossovers in this class, the E-Pace has a turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain. The P250 generates 246 horsepower, and the P300 adds a mild-hybrid system and another 50 ponies for 296 total. Both engines use a nine-speed automatic transmission that took too long to downshift for our preferences. At least the exhaust elicits a snarling note at higher revs. The P250 that we tested was heavier than some rivals with turbo-four engines, which contributed to its slower acceleration times. While every E-Pace has an all-wheel drive and substantial towing capability, only the P300 Sport has torque-vectoring technology for improved handling. The P250 was especially comfortable, with soft dampers that absorbed road imperfections and isolated passengers. While its 20-inch wheels thudded over choppy roads, the ride quality otherwise upheld the company’s luxury mission. Initially, the E-Pace felt unsteady when driven enthusiastically. However, we eventually found its loose body motions to be downright playful during a comparison test against the BMW X2 and the Volvo XC40. Sure, the Jaguar still finished last in this test, but it was unanimously named the most fun to drive. Its light and precise steering were also partially responsible for that title. Its brake pedal had inconsistent feedback in normal conditions, but applying regular pressure increased responsiveness.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The E-Pace interior surrounds the driver with a sloping dashboard design that puts all controls near the driver’s hands. Our favorite parts of the interior include the silver trim throughout the cabin and the optional 18-way, quilted leather seats. Jaguar enhances the cabin with desirable options such as the 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and digital rearview mirror, as well as a head-up display and wireless smartphone charging. The cabin has more soft-touch surfaces and some nicer materials than the previous model year, too. Unfortunately, the back seat that compressed our adult frames carries on. It may have mediocre back-seat space, but it can carry a piece of luggage for each passenger plus one. (For those poor at math, that means six.) With competitive carry-on capacity and plenty of storage spots, the E-Pace is a useful travel companion.

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