Leaping (see what I did there?) onto the motoring scene less than a handful of years ago, Jaguar’s cub-like E-Pace brought the brand’s mantra of style, grace and (obviously) pace to the compact performance (crossover) market. Well it’s been enhanced for 2021 and so Jaguar New Zealand let us take it for a run.
At first glance there doesn’t appear to be much done to enhance this latest model, however, look a little closer and the raft of upgrades begin to reveal themselves. For example, up front, there’s a new mesh grille design with diamond detailing and it comes with a noble chrome finish. Plus the lower valence area has been given a sharper blade-like look.
The new E-Pace has also been given bright new LED eyes that feature ‘Double J’ Daytime Running Lights (DRL), they are available with optional Pixel LED technology too, that not only deliver increased resolution and brightness but have Adaptive Driving Beam capability that evaluates the road ahead and automatically adapts the high beam pattern to mask oncoming traffic or traffic signs. Oh and for my 300 Sport review model, animated directional indicators.
Admittedly not much has gone on with the new cub’s profile, however mine came with 20-inch gloss black 5-spoke paws and new gloss black side fender vents with the Jaguar leaper emblem. At the rear, the lower bumper features a new mesh insert which sits between the integrated tail pipes, while it’s all-LED, I-Pace inspired rear lights feature Jaguar’s chicane graphic. Again, the indicators are animated and to top it off, my model came with a nice yellow 300 Sport badge that contrasted well against the SUV’s overall sinister black.
Like I said, it’s a lot of small changes that combine to produce a more assertive stance and luxurious appearance and the same goes for the interior.
For those that have read my F-Pace reviews, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the new ‘cricketball-stitched’ gear knob and that has now found its way inside the new E-Pace. It feels great in the hand and very British (despite England being a bit off right now – although they/we do hold the World Cup trophy). In fact much of the interior has been sprinkled with a fair share of luxury and refinement dust, especially around driver touchpoints, leather, Alcantara, chrome and soft touch materials all join to ensure your experience is a pleasant one, even the knee side contact area has been sculpted to provide improved luxury and comfort – And the panoramic roof is awesome too.
Stowage has improved with a larger phone area in front of the new gear selector (which has a 15W wireless device charger) and the door bins take 1.5L bottles on a tilt.
Another biggie for the new E-Pace is the infotainment upgrade. The latest Pivi Pro infotainment technology is accessed through a new curved glass 11.4-inch HD touchscreen. It’s three times brighter and 48% larger than before and has a simplified menu meaning that 90% of common tasks can be found in two taps or less from the homescreen. Plus the Pivi Pro has its own dedicated power source, so things like navigation is ready and waiting as soon as you get in plus thanks to Jaguar’s advanced Electronic Vehicle Architecture, it’s essentially always connected, so things like live traffic info is there when you need it.
The seats are embossed with the Jaguar Leaper on the headrests and nods to the brand’s extensive history ‘Est.1935 Jaguar Coventry’ can be found dotted around if you have a keen eye. There’s also an all-new ‘I-Pace influenced’ steering wheel, with haptic sensitive buttons and metal gearshift paddles for those times you want to take control.
Under the bonnet of my 300 Sport was an advanced twin scroll turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol powertrain, paired with MHEV technology, AWD and a nine-speed automatic transmission. This motor is available exclusively in the 300 SPORT and it produces 300PS (essentially HP) and 400Nm of torque, making the sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds. It’s great when going but I have to say a little stuttery at low speeds.
I used the new E-Pace a lot during the review period and it’s easy to get on with. Passenger space is good, front and rear for a ‘compact SUV’ and it’s got luxury and refinement in spades. The luggage space isn’t the largest in the segment (425L) but it easily takes the weekly shop and then some.
It’s a quick drive when required with great Jaguar handling along for the ride too. It features their second generation ‘Standard Driveline’ technology, which automatically does all the hard work in terms of torque distribution and for the first time, it has driveline disconnect technology, which (when cruising along steadily) disengages the AWD system and sends power to just the front axle, which increases fuel efficiency – what a clever little cub. Added to this, the MHEV system uses a Belt integrated Starter Generator in the engine bay to grab the energy from slowing and braking, storing it in a 48V lithium-ion battery to assist the engine when accelerating and giving the SUV a more refined stop/start system – of which I switched off the moment I began to drive.
The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace is easy on the eye and although it is more powerful looking I still think it’s rather cute. It comes loaded with driver and safety features as expected and the new tech/screen and more power are a welcomed upgrade. But to me it’s all the little touches that make this such a winner, from the new gear knob and aesthetic tweaks to being futuristically connected and yet embracing its 1935 history – it’s a matter of better space and grace resulting in big gains for this new E-Pace.