Jaguar E-Pace review

Category: Family SUV

Not without its strengths but there are much better all-rounders

Jaguar E-Pace 2023 driving
  • Jaguar E-Pace 2023 driving
  • Jaguar E-Pace rear cornering
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior dashboard
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior back seats
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior infotainment
  • Jaguar E-Pace right driving
  • Jaguar E-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar E-Pace rear right driving
  • Jaguar E-Pace headlights detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace alloy wheel detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace badge detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior front seats
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior steering wheel detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior panoramic roof
  • Jaguar E-Pace boot open
  • Jaguar E-Pace 2023 driving
  • Jaguar E-Pace rear cornering
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior dashboard
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior back seats
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior infotainment
  • Jaguar E-Pace right driving
  • Jaguar E-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar E-Pace rear right driving
  • Jaguar E-Pace headlights detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace alloy wheel detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace badge detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior front seats
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior steering wheel detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior detail
  • Jaguar E-Pace interior panoramic roof
  • Jaguar E-Pace boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

In an automotive rendition of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Jaguar E-Pace would be little bear, with the Jaguar F-Pace filling the space of big bear and the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace sitting in the middle spot.

That’s not to say the E-Pace is tiny, though. Oh no, it’s roughly the same size as the Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and the Volvo XC40. What’s more, it shares many of its oily bits with the Range Rover Evoque.

As you'd expect, there's a range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, most of which have mild-hybrid technology to help them use less fuel. There's also a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version called the P300e, which isn't only the most efficient E-Pace – it's also the quickest.

Jaguar has fitted most versions of the E-Pace with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, but you can have front-wheel drive if you go for the entry-level P160 petrol engine. That represents the E-Pace in its cheapest form, and it's far from a speed demon, as we'll explain later in this review.

Is the Jaguar E-Pace a good buy, though, or would you be better off considering one of the many other equally posh family SUVs that are available for similar money (or less)? Over the next few pages, we'll tell you everything you need to know.

If you decide you want to buy one, or indeed any other new car that takes your fancy and suits your needs, we can probably help you secure a big discount on the brochure price without needing to do any haggling. To find the best prices on vehicles of most makes and models simply search our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. They have plenty of the best new family SUV deals.

Overview

Sharp looks and plenty of standard equipment add to the E-Pace’s appeal, but an unsettled ride, below-par efficiency and poor reliability detract from the overall package. Ultimately, the Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC40 are more comfortable, plusher inside and more practical, while also depreciating more slowly.

  • Good driving position
  • Decent handling
  • Well-equipped
  • Unsettled ride
  • Poor reliability
  • Not particularly efficient
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Our Pick

OurPicksRRP £43,185
Jaguar E-pace 2.0 D200 R-Dynamic S 5dr Auto
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

We think the Jaguar E-Pace is best with diesel power, and that’s why our favourite engine is the only diesel offering, the D200. With 201bhp, it has plenty of oomph and pulls strongly from a standstill, sprinting from 0-60mph in 7.9sec. That’s about half a second slower than the equivalent Audi Q3 40 TDI, but quick enough to make short work of a motorway sliproad. Our only frustration is the automatic gearbox – when you put your foot down, there's often a long pause before acceleration starts to arrive.

The fastest and most powerful version is the P300e plug-in hybrid (PHEV). It can officially manage 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds, but the main draw (apart from cheap company car tax) is its ability to run solely on electricity. Its official electric range is up to 39 miles, but you'll be lucky to get more than 25 in real-world driving before the petrol engine fires up.

Jaguar E-Pace image
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We’ve yet to drive either of the petrol versions, but if you don’t want a diesel or PHEV, you have two engines to choose from. The first is the E-Pace’s entry-level engine, the P160, which has 158bhp and can sprint from 0-60mph in 9.9sec. That’s perfectly respectable, but if you want a little extra pace you’ll want the 246bhp P250, which lowers that sprint time to 7.0sec.

Suspension and ride comfort

Ride comfort isn’t an E-Pace strong point. Even with relatively small wheels fitted, it jostles you about around town and thumps over potholes. Things don’t really improve when you get up to speed, because even on a smoothly surfaced motorway the car fidgets around a bit.

That said, even with the big 20in alloys fitted to R-Dynamic HSE Black models, the ride isn't horrendously firm or crashy. We recommend avoiding the enormous optional 21in wheels, though.

If a really comfortable ride is important to you, the Range Rover Evoque or Volvo XC40 will prove far more relaxing.

Jaguar E-Pace rear cornering

Handling

We’ve always been able to rely on Jaguar’s models when it comes to handling, and the E-Pace is no exception. That is, to a point – it’s taller and heavier than family SUV rivals such as the BMW X1 so it doesn't turn in to bends quite as eagerly, but it stays pretty upright through tight twists, grips well and stays neatly balanced.

The steering is pleasantly weighted, proving easy enough to twirl around town and building weight progressively as speed and cornering forces increase. It’s precise, too, giving you plenty of confidence as you guide the car through corners.

Front-wheel drive is available only with the entry-level P160, but we’ve yet to give it a go. All other models get four-wheel drive for greater confidence in slippery conditions.

Noise and vibration

The P300e PHEV runs quietly in electric mode as you'd expect, and when the petrol engine joins the party it does so smoothly, even if there is often a little hesitation. 

By diesel standards, the D200 is smooth and fairly hushed too. The stop-start system works unobtrusively, firing the engine back into life without a noticeable cough or splutter. 

There's quite a bit more wind noise on a motorway than in the Evoque and XC40, although there's less tyre roar than in a BMW X1 or BMW X2. High-end R-Dynamic SE Black and HSE Black models come with an upgraded Meridian sound system which has noise-cancelling technology to help matters.

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

You sit higher up in the Jaguar E-Pace than you do in many family SUVs – including the BMW X1 – and there's plenty of steering wheel and seat adjustment. Indeed, even the entry-level E-Pace gets 12-way electrically adjustable seats with four-way lumbar support as standard. 

The dashboard layout is fairly conventional by the standards of the class. For example, there are physical controls for the air-con and heated seats, so there's no need to use a touchscreen interface like you have to in the Volvo XC40. We think that’s a good thing because proper buttons and dials are less distracting to use when you're driving.

All versions come with a 12.3in digital instrument display that replaces conventional analogue dials behind the steering wheel. It can place lots of useful information right in front of you, including fuel economy statistics and sat-nav directions, although it’s nowhere near as configurable as the Virtual Cockpit system you get with the Audi Q3.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Thanks to that lofty driving position, you get a much better view of the road ahead than you do in the X1, and seeing out of the side windows at junctions and roundabouts isn’t too difficult either. We just wish the windscreen pillars were a bit narrower because they tend to get in the way when you’re pulling out of junctions.

Likewise, the view out of the back isn’t that impressive, either, because the window line rises towards the rear of the car and the rear screen is relatively small. Luckily, all versions come with front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera, to help negate that issue when parking. For an even better idea of what’s around you, there’s an optional 360-degree camera system, which shows you how close you are to obstacles on all sides.

To help when the sun goes down, all E-Paces get bright LED headlights with automatic high beam as standard. R-Dynamic SE Black and HSE Black models get premium LED headlights with animated directional indicators, but they’re no brighter than the entry-level lights.

Jaguar E-Pace interior dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

Every E-Pace comes with an 11.4in touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. The software, called Pivi Pro, is Jaguar’s most recent tech and comes with an internet connection and over-the-air updates. 

It’s also one of the better touchscreen systems in the class thanks to a straightforward menu layout, crisp graphics and a highly customisable home screen. Like all touchscreen-based systems, though, it’s more distracting to use on the move than the iDrive system found in the BMW X2 (which has a separate rotary controller interface with physical shortcut buttons).

The standard 180W sound system is perfectly acceptable, but music lovers can pick from two upgraded options: a 400W Meridian Sound System with 12 speakers (standard on R-Dynamic S Black and above) or an optional more powerful version of the same system with 600W and 16 speakers. We’ve tested the former and it's great, with weighty bass and crisp high notes.

Quality

This is the one area where Jaguar interiors always seem to fall short compared with the competition. The E-Pace looks reasonably posh inside at first glance, but it doesn’t hold up brilliantly to closer inspection – especially when you factor in the price.

From the dashboard wrapped in vinyl to some of the more questionable plastics and buttons, the E-Pace simply isn’t as classy inside as its premium-badged rivals, including the X1, XC40 and the closely related Range Rover Evoque. It does stop short of feeling too cheap inside, though.

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

Every Jaguar E-Pace we’ve tried so far has been fitted with a panoramic roof (standard with all but entry-level R-Dynamic S trim) and that’s a feature that almost always affects head room. Even so, you’d have to be very tall to notice your hair brushing the ceiling. The interior is fairly wide so you won’t feel as though you're shoulder-to-shoulder with your front passenger.

The door pockets are rather slender, but there’s a small tray in front of the gear lever to stow your phone, plus a couple of cupholders in front of the central armrest. If you look under that armrest, you’ll find a giant cubbyhole.

Rear space

The E-Pace has enough rear leg room to keep tall adults fairly happy, as long as they're not sitting behind equally lofty people in the front. Head room is good, though – even those over 6ft are unlikely to have to cower, which is impressive considering that, as we mentioned earlier, all versions we’ve tried so far have been fitted with a panoramic glass roof.

The E-Pace isn't exactly cramped in the back, but rivals such as the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 are considerably more accommodating. Those cars can also carry three adults sitting side-by-side more comfortably.

Jaguar E-Pace interior back seats

Seat folding and flexibility

While many family SUVs – including the Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and the VW Tiguan – are available with sliding and reclining rear seats, the E-Pace doesn’t do anything quite as exciting. Indeed, you’ll find that the rear seats are bolted in place.

It does, however, come with rear seatbacks that fold down in a 40/20/40 split, which is more versatile than the 60/40 split you get in the XC40, and allows you to load long items and still have two passengers in the rear.

Boot space

Ignore the official boot capacity Jaguar publishes – the British brand measures it in a different way to most other manufacturers. In simple terms, you can squeeze slightly more clobber into an E-Pace than a Range Rover Evoque but the X1, the XC40 and the Tiguan can all carry significantly more.

We managed to fit six carry-on cases below the parcel shelf, compared with five in the Evoque, eight in the XC40 and nine in the X1. Thankfully, the boot is a useful square shape, with a wide recess right at the back of the car – handy if you play golf. There's no lip to speak of at the boot entrance and all versions have some underfloor storage, which on the P300e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version is a good place to store the charging cable.

When you need more space, the rear seatbacks lie almost – but not quite – flat when you fold them down. The extended load area is big enough for most family chores although, again, many rivals can carry more.

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Jaguar E-Pace commands a higher list price than many rivals, as does the related Range Rover Evoque. Unlike the Evoque, the E-Pace doesn’t counter that with the promise of really slow depreciation. In fact, it's predicted to shed value at a much quicker rate than the Volvo XC40 so if you’re buying on PCP finance, the XC40 is also likely to cost you less per month.

Likewise, regular petrol and diesel E-Pace models can be more expensive to run as company cars than most rivals because of their relatively high CO2 emissions. The one exception is the P300e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) because its decent electric range and low CO2 emissions give it a competitive benefit-in-kind tax rate.

Likewise, the P300e promises to be the most fuel-efficient version, with official figures suggesting that up to 197mpg is possible. As with all PHEVs, you’ll only see figures close to that if you keep the battery topped up at all times. Meanwhile, fuel economy isn’t anything to write home about on diesel versions compared with the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 and the petrols are even thirstier.

Equipment, options and extras

The list price might be higher than that of its rivals, but every E-pace comes with plenty of standard equipment to make up for it. In fact, even the entry-level R-Dynamic S – our favourite trim – comes with 18in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, a heated windscreen, heated front seats, wireless phone-charging and plenty of parking and infotainment kit. 

Stepping up to mid-spec R-Dynamic SE Black adds even more equipment, including 19in alloy wheels, a panoramic roof, keyless entry, the upgraded Meridian sound system and some additional safety kit.

Those after the fanciest E-Pace will want to take a look at the top-spec R-Dynamic HSE Black trim. On top of everything the other two trims give you, it adds 20in alloy wheels, 16-way electrically adjustable front seats that are heated and cooled, Ebony Windsor leather adorning the seats and suedecloth headlining.

Jaguar E-Pace interior infotainment

Reliability

Historically, this section has always been a bit awkward when it comes to Jaguars, and nothing had really changed in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey. As a brand, Jaguar claimed a fairly disappointing 26th out of 32 manufacturers. That puts it above Land Rover (in 30th place) but below key rivals including BMW (16th), Volvo (17th) and Audi (21st). 

Likewise, the E-Pace itself ranked towards the bottom of the survey’s family SUV category, sitting above the previous generation Evoque (the latest version was too new to be included) but below all of its rivals. 

For some peace of mind, every E-Pace comes with Jaguar’s three-year warranty as standard – which can be extended if you’re prepared to pay extra – and, providing your car is in warranty, you also get roadside assistance.

Safety and security

The E-pace earned the maximum five-star rating when it was tested for safety by experts at Euro NCAP back in 2017. A closer look shows that the X1, Evoque and XC40 all had better scores overall and, while it’s hard to directly compare the results due to those rivals being tested under more stringent criteria, it suggests you’ll be better off in one of those in an accident. 

Even so, the E-Pace has lots of technology to prevent you from having a crash in the first place, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance, traffic-sign recognition and a system that alerts the driver if he or she is showing signs of tiredness.

On top of that, trims above entry-level R-Dynamic S also get blind spot assist, rear collision monitor and rear traffic monitor (although, you can add those features to entry-level models with the optional Driver Assist Pack).

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FAQs

  • Experts predict that the E-Pace will lose its value more quickly than the closely related Range Rover Evoque and the Volvo XC40 but more slowly than the BMW X2.

  • In the premium family SUV class, the E-Pace’s main rivals are the Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and BMW X2, the Volvo XC40 and the Range Rover Evoque (with which it shares parts).

  • If you’re after the poshest E-Pace, you’ll want to go for the R-Dynamic HSE Black trim. That comes with 20in alloy wheels, 16-way adjustable front seats with heating and cooling, heated rear seats and a Meridian stereo system.

  • All version of the E-Pace have hybrid tech of some sort, and the P300e is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). It's not available as a full electric car – if you want one of those, have a look at the Jaguar I-Pace.

  • Yes, with the exception of the entry-level P160 petrol, which has front-wheel drive.

At a glance
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Target Price from £41,296
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RRP price range £43,185 - £54,260
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)2
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol parallel phev, diesel
MPG range across all versions 188.9 - 44.6
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,086 / £3,501
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,173 / £7,001
Available colours