Did you know that you can buy a brand new Jaguar SUV for as little as $42,000?  I bet you didn’t. 

It’s this one here…the E-PACE.  Based on its minuscule sales it’s been largely ignored with shoppers choosing the bigger and much more expensive F-PACE at a ratio of nearly 4 to 1. 




But it’s been refreshed this year and looks especially sharp as this Caldera Red E-PACE 300 Sport.    




Originally introduced for the 2018 model year, this is Jaguar’s first compact SUV; a cousin of the front-drive based Range Rover Evoque.  And like just about every model currently in their lineup its scheduled for retirement in 2025 as the storied British brand evolves into an electric automaker. 



So for what may be its final refresh the body receives a nip and tuck for a more assertive stance, the chassis has been updated, aiming to deliver enhanced dynamics and comfort, and the cabin gets an infusion of fresh tech and a more premium touch.  Previously called the R-Dynamic this here is the range-topping 300 Sport model riding atop optional 21” gloss black wheels framing optional red brake calipers. 


With the black badges leaping off of the solid red paint, this little guy grabs its share of attention for sure.  So what is the 300 Sport and why would you choose it over the  lesser 2 trims? 




Well, mainly it comes down to the P300 engine which is a 296 horsepower mild-hybrid turbo-4 producing 295 pound-feet of torque.  That’s 50 more horses, nearly a half second quicker to 60mph and 1mpg more fuel efficient in city driving than the P250 engine.  And then equally as important are the Adaptive and Configurable Dynamics with Comfort and Dynamic settings that adjust the ride stiffness automatically or to suit your chosen preference. 


There’s also torque vectoring on the rear wheels so this all-wheel drive system works from front to back as well as side to side for more responsive handling.  And then goodies like a head-up display, sport seats and soft leather touch-points make this the E-Pace to have.  The starting MSRP is $51,000 with this fully stocked and accessorized tester checking in at nearly $60 grand.  Is that a lot when compared to its competitors? 


Well, it depends on who you think they are.  A similarly spec’d BMW X4 xDrive30i is almost identically priced with similar metrics though it’s rear-wheel based and considerably longer with more cargo volume. 




If you look at an X2 xDrive28i which is even larger inside, much more fuel efficient and not that much slower than the E-Pace, it’s about $15,000 less.




Because this is my first E-Pace test drive I can’t sit here and tell you how much better this is than it was before but here are the major takeaways. 




Even with the Adaptive Dynamics continuously adjusting the dampers, the ride is stiff and, according to Jaguar, adjustments made to the front suspension this year deliver a more comfortable ride.  The redesigned cabin feels very premium and now falls in line with similar updates made to the rest of the Jaguar lineup including the new Pivi Pro infotainment system, which as I’ve said before, is better than what was but still not great.


So here’s where I stand on the E-Pace; if I were to buy a Jaguar it’s got to be fast, make great sounds and have killer looks and this one only meets one of those criteria.  Though I can certainly understand its appeal to those who want something cool, the price to performance ratio of this 300 Sport misses the mark.    



This one will get after it pretty good on the curvy roads, paddle shifting the 9-speed as the e-boosted engine reacts dutifully to your right foot while the all-wheel drive system keeps it glued to the road pivoting the E-Pace’s rear end through the turns. 



It feels tall though from behind the wheel and the sounds it makes leave me wanting but it most certainly knows what it’s doing out here just not to the level you might expect at this price.  0-to-60mph takes 6.1 seconds which makes it a hair quicker than the slightly lighter X4 but I’m guessing there’s enough sport in this drive to satisfy the E-Pace shopper who is likely a younger, new customer to the brand more in search of sizzle.  And the 300 Sport has lots of that.   


The seats with adjustable side bolsters are as firm as the ride itself as everything about this seems tightly strung, exuding a go-getter demeanor from Jump Street.  But the materials used and attention to detail are anything but entry level.  This is gorgeous and very high end; clearly class leading.  And the baby Jaguar Easter eggs on the windshield and logo projection are absolutely perfect.  The colorized head-up display is excellent,


the 3D camera is very cool, there’s a video screen rear view mirror, a top of the line 400W Meridian Sound System, wireless device charging for the cordless phone projection, and an interactive driver display that can go full navi screen. 




The fixed rear seats are adult snug but actually hold you in place and provide tri-level heating and 3 USB-C ports.  No pano roof here though so it feels kind of dark.  Cargo room with the rear seats up is appropriately sized for a compact but max volume with them folded falls short as the E-Pace’s wheelbase is 7” shorter than an X4’s. 



But the rubber cargo mat and restraining straps are a nice touch.  





My issues with the E-Pace’s ergonomics concern the new touch steering wheel buttons that never seem to work on the first push…the previous design worked much better and Pivi Pro – the company’s new infotainment system – just doesn’t have the intuitive flow of solid tech.  Changing the radio stations is particularly maddening if you don’t already have your presets saved.  



So that’s the E-Pace.  Is it for you or is another Jag a better fit or would you rather wait until 2025 for the new EVs?  Check out my Jaguar test drive playlist for more reviews.  







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