Utility vehicles rule the day and the global auto industry, which is undoubtedly the major reason why Jaguar, with its long and distinguished history of designing and building some of the most iconic and coveted passenger cars ever made, decided it needed one for its product line.
But since it is a Jaguar, there is ample reason to enjoy the 2021 Jaguar E-Pace 300 Sport on its own merits and the merits are substantial.
The Jaguar E-Pace is quick — very quick — and nimble and has just enough room to handle utilitarian chores. It also comes equipped with sophisticated technology with an easy-to-use interface letting the driver select the service they want to bring with a minimum of fuss by tapping the touch screen in the center stack. It also makes driving fun and it performed well in adverse conditions such as the heavy rain that drenched Detroit’s suburbs the week I drove the E-Pace.
The one aspect of the E-Pace that might have frustrated Jaguar’s sophisticated design team is the exterior of the vehicle. After all Jaguar’s history is filled with a series of passenger cars famous for the elegant and distinctive appearances.
By definition, utility vehicles are not elegant and hardly distinctive anymore because the utilitarian shape is now everywhere. But Jaguar’s designers haven’t backed away from the challenge. The vehicle sits on 20-inch wheels and the front of E-Pace is distinctive while the sheet metal over the front wheel well carries the Jaguar “Leaper” insignia and the window openings are nicely set off.
I also was impressed with the treatment of rear of the vehicle with the spoiler at the rear tip of the roof to the cut for liftgate. The liftgate opening is a bit narrower than on conventional utility vehicles but it clearly suggests the E-Pace is for driving not just for hauling.
The cabin of the Jaguar E-Pace is nicely furnished, surrounding the driver and front seat passenger with hand-stitched leather panels. The leather not only gives the interior a polished appearance but also something friendly to touch. The E-Pace technology package also is well integrated into the cockpit, placing important controls within easy reach and offering easy to understand signals.
The cabin also is the home of a first-rate sound system, so the news comes in clean, crisp bits while music always seems to be at the correct pitch. Controls and other features, such as the head-up display, are well lit during nighttime driving. The visibility from the driver’s seat is first rate and the second row of seats have enough space for an adult passenger to sit somewhat comfortably.
The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace 300 Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine, which is matched to a 9-speed automatic transmission and a mild hybrid system with a 48-volt battery so the engine can be turned off when coasting, braking, or stationary. Energy that would normally be lost when slowing down is collected and stored to be internally reused as power.
The E-Pace is also equipped with all-wheel drive and the battery helps power the vehicle’s electronic suspension and chassis controls as well different drive modes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives the E-Pace 300 Sport a combined rating of 23 miles per gallon, including 21 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
The Jaguar E-Pace is equipped with a lengthy list of safety features, including front- and side-impact airbags, emergency braking, rear-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot assistance and 3D surround cameras as well as electronic traction control and dynamic stability control.
It also boasts LED headlights, a 450-watt Meridian sound system, 11.4-inch touch screen in the center stack, with infotainment, Bluetooth and navigation as well as satellite radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Add in wireless charging, USB ports and an interactive driver display as well as heated seats and steering wheel controls and you have a complete convenience package.
The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace 300 Sport is one of those vehicles that really does put the fun back into driving. It’s fast, highly maneuverable with an impressive turning radius that makes parking easy. The all-wheel-drive system seems to come on instantly as I discovered during the heavy and extended downpour in which I used the vehicle.
We got more than 5.5 inches of rain during a two-day period, which left water standing on the road in many places. But the rain didn’t seem to distort the vehicle’s overall handling. The application of power is also impressive in the E-Pace. It gets up to speed quickly and it even handles dirt and mud nicely thanks to the electronically controlled suspension, which can mitigate all sorts of conditions and 8.5-inches of ground clearance.
2021 Jaguar E-Pace 300 Sport specifications:
|Dimension||L: 173 inches/W: 74.8 inches/H: 64.9 inches/Wheelbase: 105.6 inches|
|Powertrain||2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine; 9-speed automatic transmission|
|Fuel Economy||21 mpg city/26 mpg highway/23 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||As tested: $59,805 not including $1,050 destination and delivery charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
I enjoyed driving the E-Pace, but I am pretty sure it is not a vehicle capable of fitting the needs of a broad cross-section of the American public. For one thing it costs $60,000 and I suspect that a lot of buyers willing to pay the price would find it a bit too small on the inside to meet their requirements for carrying multiple passengers and their gear.
In addition, while the E-Pace is certainly nicely equipped and neatly furnished, I am not sure it is luxurious enough for classification as a traditional luxury vehicle. But it is certainly more than capable of holding its own against similar crossover utility vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and Porsche.
2021 Jaguar E-Pace 300 Sport — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the hybrid mode on the Jaguar E-Pace?
In addition to “EV,” you can toggle the E-Pace through Hybrid and Save modes, with the former blending use of the engine and electric motor as the car sees fit. Save holds the battery’s state of charge for use later in your journey. The usual Eco, Comfort and Dynamic modes also apply.
Is the Jaguar E-Pace fast?
The first three are offered with standard all-wheel drive, a 9-speed automatic transmission, and the P250 engine. Together, they take the Jaguar E-PACE from 0 to 60 in just 6.7 seconds. You’ll also be able to reach a top speed of 143 mph.
Can a Jaguar PHEV be used as a regular car?
Featuring the technology to switch between an electric motor and a petrol engine, Jaguar PHEVs are perfectly suited to daily commuting and driving around town with zero tailpipe emissions when in full Electric Vehicle (EV) mode.