2021 Jaguar E-pace revealed – is Jag’s compact SUV finally up to scratch?

Jaguar has launched the 2021 E-pace with an updated design, fresh interior tech and a new powertrain

The Jaguar E-pace has received a facelift for the 2021 model year, bringing it in-line with the rest of the recently updated Jaguar range with a subtly refreshed design, an interior tech overhaul and new powertrain options. The compact SUV is available in standard combustion, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms, and will set you back from £32,575 in the UK. 

The compact SUV’s design has received a subtle update, but still features redesigned front bumpers with tweaked intakes and a more aggressive grille, as do the all-new headlights available with advanced ‘Pixel LED’ tech. The rear end is as before, but there are some fresh wheel designs. The E-pace’s design was perhaps its strongest aspect in its original form however, so Jaguar has instead focused on changes under the skin to make it more competitive in the crowded compact premium SUV market. 

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These changes under the skin are built around a new and more efficient powertrain led by a new P300e three-cylinder plug-in hybrid. Despite a drop in cylinder-count, it’s the most potent powertrain on offer, pairing a 197bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder with a 108bhp rear-mounted electric motor. Together, the two power units are able to send up to 305bhp to the ground for a brisk 6.5sec 0-62mph time. Jaguar also claims it can cover up to 34 miles in pure-electric mode thanks to its 15kWh battery pack. 

Elsewhere in the range, you’ll find 2-litre four-cylinders in diesel and petrol forms; the entry-level example a 161bhp model without hybrid assistance, front-wheel and a manual transmission. Upgrade to an automatic model however and both all-wheel drive and Jag’s mild-hybrid system come as part of the package in 197bhp petrols and up.

To aid refinement on the aging platform, Jaguar has added new engine mounts, stiffened the front suspension mounting points, tweaked the dampers and springs for a better balance of comfort and body control. The new all-wheel drive system is also designed to disengage the rear differential at a cruise for better fuel efficiency. The range-topping P300e model has no physical connection between its combustion engine and the rear wheels, instead it’s rear axle is powered exclusively by the electric motor, which is also able to split the torque between the two wheels via a pair of wet-plate clutches.

Inside you’ll find the new Pivi Pro infotainment system, accessed through a fresh 11.4-inch curved touchscreen that’s brighter and significantly larger than before. First revealed in the updated F-pace, Privi Pro has been designed to be more intuitive to operate and comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto as standard if phone mirroring is more your vibe. Jaguar’s digital instrument cluster is also updated to the brand’s latest software, working in conjunction with the new infotainment system and steering wheel design.Other interior additions include optional 15W wireless phone charging, over-the-air software updates, Jaguar’s new ‘ClearSight’ digital rear view mirror and 3D surround camera technology. 

As well as interior tech, Jaguar has focused on improving the E-pace’s interior quality with soft touch materials now spread more liberally around the cabin, a new compact drive selector and details like metallic speaker grilles all included to try and lift that all-important perceived quality. The design itself has not undergone the same level of reinvention as its bigger F-pace sibling though, keeping the same basic, if not unattractive dash layout and architecture. 

The 2021 Jaguar E-pace is available to order now and starts from £32,575 in the UK, with the range-topping P300e will likely cost from around £50,000. These prices are about on-par with the Range Rover Evoque, a model it shares much of its underlying hardware with, so it will be interesting to see if that car’s polish has finally found its way into Jag’s historically underperforming compact SUV.

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