by Jay Traugott
The Jaguar E-Pace first arrived on the scene in 2017 and has changed very little since. Until now. Presenting the refreshed 2021 Jaguar E-Pace, the luxury brand's most affordable SUV that comes packed with more technology and convenience features plus some minor exterior design tweaks.
Once again, it's offered in three unique trim levels designed to appeal to a range of tastes and, of course, budgets. Jaguar knows that the E-Pace typically lures in younger buyers and the ultimate goal is to keep those customers for years to come. Therefore, the E-Pace must impress. The E-Pace continues to face stiff competition from other luxury brands, but Jaguar very carefully narrowed down where its entry-level SUV needed improvements and acted upon that. The result is quite an impressive overall package.
As this is a mid-life update, the 2021 E-Pace didn't receive any major exterior changes, but the enhancements are clearly visible. For starters, there's a revised front lower aperture design with a so-called "blade" running through it. The grille receives a mesh look with chrome detailing, while there's a new sculpted hood, all-LED headlights, and "Double J-Blade" daytime running lights. At the rear end, the lower bumper gets a mesh insert to match the front situated between the integrated tailpipes, and all-LED taillights feature the Jaguar chicane graphic. The SUV's side vents have also been restyled.
New for 2021 is the optional Black Exterior Pack which tacks on numerous bespoke bits in Narvik Black, such as the grille surround and tips, lower bumper mesh inserts, side vents, window surrounds, and even rear badges.
Perhaps the E-Pace's most significant design updates can be found inside. There's a new 11.4-inch HD touchscreen that's been beautifully integrated into the instrument panel. This screen even has two coatings: an anti-glare and one that helps to wipe away fingerprints.
Other notable interior touches include "cricket-ball" stitching, plenty of soft-touch build materials, and metallic rotary dials on the I-Pace-inspired steering wheel. The interior can be had in a range of colors, including Ebony, Light Oyster, and Cloud.
Within the touchscreen is either the Pivi or Pivi Pro infotainment system, which comes standard on higher trims. It features dual-sim technology and two LTE modems. Google and Microsoft Outlook calendar integration are included, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Both smartphone software systems support navigation functionality. Jaguar's Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA 2.0) ensures the SUV has the latest navigation and software features thanks to over-the-air updates. Alongside the touchscreen is a 12.3-inch HD full-color driver display. A ClearSight interior rearview mirror is available and there's even a newly standard 3D surround-view camera system.
A total of three trim levels are available: P250, P250 SE, and 300 Sport. The base engine, found in the P250 and P250 SE, is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 246 horsepower. The 300 Sport shares this engine, only this time power increases to 296 hp thanks to mild-hybrid technology. Regardless of trim, all come with a nine-speed automatic transmission that sends power to an all-wheel-drive system. However, the 300 Sport boasts an Active Driveline AWD system capable of automatically distributing torque between the front and rear wheels.
Other performance-focused improvements are an updated chassis architecture, new engine mounts for better throttle response, and an enhanced front suspension attachment point for greater stiffness.
The Dynamic Handling Pack, standard on the 300 Sport and optional on the P250 SE, includes Adaptive Dynamics that analyzes acceleration, steering, throttle, and brake pedal inputs. Configurable Dynamics goes a step further by allowing the driver to set up the E-Pace's handling characteristics. Driving modes include Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, and Adaptive Surface Response.
The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace will carry a starting MSRP of $40,995, while the P250 SE runs from $46,095, and the 300 Sport from $49,995. The least expensive 2021 E-Pace is only $1,045 more than last year's base model. All new E-Pace SUVs come with Jaguar's 5-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Competition is, not surprisingly, tough in the luxury subcompact SUV segment. While the refreshed E-Pace is definitely a much-improved all-around package, the BMW X1 and X2, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Lexus UX will continue to post serious threats. Another new entry in this segment is the Buick Encore GX. For now, there are no known plans for an all-electric E-Pace, but given the momentum EVs are currently enjoying, we wouldn't be surprised if Jaguar dropped the E-Pace's combustion engine for the eventual complete redesign.