Jaguar E-Pace gets drastic mid-life overhaul

New platform, new engines and a new look for Jaguar's smallest SUV – is now its time to shine?

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, October 28, 2020

In a sector as fiercely competitive as the small premium SUV, Jaguar's first E-Pace just wasn't at the races. The platform was old, the engines not much newer, and Jaguar's initially impressive start came to a pretty abrupt halt. No-one at the firm needed telling this of course, and tacit admission of that fact comes in the form of a mid-life facelift which essentially throws away the old car in favour of a new one. Meet E-Pace, take two.

The most significant news is the use underneath the E-Pace of the Premium Transverse Architecture that also underpins the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque. Not only does this mean "enhanced refinement and improved ride comfort" is promised, it also means that the E-Pace can now utilise the latest range of JLR electrified powertrains. So from launch, only the 163hp, front-wheel drive, manual diesel E-Pace goes without any hybrid assistance. The rest of the range will be MHEVs with a belt-integrated stater generator, with two diesels (163hp and 204hp) and three petrols (200hp, 249hp, 300hp), all four-cylinder Ingeniums and all using a nine-speed automatic.

The only exception is the range-topping E-Pace PHEV, using the same impressive three-cylinder plug-in powertrain as recently tested in the Evoque and the Discovery Sport. That produces 309hp and 398lb ft in total, powering all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. Jaguar claims 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds for the PHEV, a 134mph top speed, 34 miles of electric range and emissions rated at 44g/km – meaning 141mpg. The flagship petrol engine is 300hp and 295lb ft, enough for 6.9 seconds to 62mph, 150mph, a best combined mpg of 31.3 and CO2 from 204g/km. As in the Evoque and Discovery Sport, the PHEV does bring a weight penalty, however – its 2,173kg kerbweight is 221kg more than the P300 petrol.

More positively, the new vehicle platform means that the Pivi Pro infotainment (and the cutting-edge electrical architecture which underpins it) can now be incorporated into the E-Pace, bringing a vast improvement over the old system. It's operated through an 11.4-inch touchscreen, a notable 48 per cent larger than before. It's three times brighter as well, and with Software Over the Air Updates, connected apps and dual-sim technology as standard, the E-Pace ought to be immediately up to snuff. It sits alongside a 12.3-inch display for the driver and a TFT heads-up display. Additional interior technology for the E-Pace now includes a Driver Condition Monitor, a 3D Surround Camera and a ClearSight Interior Rear-View Mirror.

Though more subtle, the E-Pace has been tweaked cosmetically as well. Jaguar claims the styling changes lend the SUV "a more assertive stance and luxurious appearance"; note the new grille design, LED lights and redesign for the rear bumper. Interior revisions alongside the Pivi Pro fitment include a new drive selector, I-Pace-inspired steering wheel, metallic accents and improved materials for driver touchpoints. You probably don't need us to tell you it represents something of a transformation.

There's more, too. With the inclusion of a 300 Sport model at the top of the ICE range featuring the second generation of Jag's Active Driveline all-wheel drive, delivering the same clutch-based torque vectoring ability on the rear axle as before but being lighter and more efficient than the first iteration. Non-300 E-Paces use the Standard Driveline tech that only splits power front to rear, though now features the ability to decouple rear drive in steady state driving for better economy.

The 300 Sport is the only E-Pace to feature Adaptive Dynamics as standard, said to ensure a "precise, dynamic set up coupled with a supple, luxurious ride." All other E-Paces ride passively, with the adaptive system available on the D200, P200 and P250 AWD models. The 300 Sport will be marked out, like Jaguars which have carried the badge previously, by a Black Exterior Pack, unique badges, 20-inch wheels and suede accents inside.

So the MY21 E-Pace is rather more than your average nip and tuck facelift, the car hopefully being – cliché alert – the E-Pace we were promised from the start. It's available to order now, with prices starting at £32,575 and deliveries presumably not a long way off. Is this finally the small Jaguar SUV to rival the class leaders? We should find out soon enough.

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