2020 Jaguar E-Pace

By April 28, 2020

Introduced for 2018, the 2020 Jaguar E-Pace enters its third year largely unchanged. The biggest update is the introduction of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A new Checkered Flag special edition is also available.

The E-Pace is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 in all its iterations. It’s available in two states of tune: the standard 246-horsepower variant and a high-output version with 296 hp. Both versions use a 9-speed automatic to route power to all four wheels.

With the more powerful engine comes a trick all-wheel-drive system that can vary the amount of torque sent to each individual wheel. This is more sophisticated than the standard setup, which can only split power between the back and front.

Base and SE models get the 246-hp engine; R-Dynamic S, SE, and HSE trims benefit from the full 296 hp. Prices range from about $40,000 for a base model to $60,000 for a loaded-up HSE.

The E-Pace has not been tested by either the NHTSA or IIHS due to its low sales volume.

Standard active-safety features include automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and front and rear parking sensors. Traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, active parking assist, and blind-spot monitors are optional.

Model Lineup

All prices include a $995 destination charge.

The base model ($40,945) opens up the lineup. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats, and a 10-inch infotainment system.

The SE ($44,695) adds 19-inch wheels, heated and power-folding mirrors, 14-way power front seats, a power liftgate, and a Meridian sound system with 14 speakers.

The R-Dynamic S ($47,595) is the cheapest way into the 296-hp engine. Other standard features are similar to what’s found in the base model, though there’s also additional connectivity features such as a wifi hotspot and navigation.

The R-Dynamic SE ($50,195) is similarly equipped as the regular SE but with a few extra active-safety features like park assist and a surround-view camera system.

At the top of the lineup is the R-Dynamic HSE ($53,945). Standard features include 18-way power front seats, 20-inch wheels, and the full gamut of available active-safety features.

Exterior

The smaller Jaguar crossover is styled along the same themes of the larger F-Pace, and the front end uses headlights that are more than a little reminiscent of the brand’s F-Type sports car. The overall look is cohesive with the rest of the Jaguar lineup and can be immediately distinguished amongst the many compact luxury crossovers competing in this space.

Though it’s based on a front-wheel-drive architecture, the overall proportions manage to conceal that fact. The sporting cues associated with Jaguar are suggested in whispers rather than shouts by the large front air intakes and the F-Type headlights.

Interior

A simple cabin with a driver-focused layout isn’t quite as expressive as some of the interiors found in the competition, but for the most part it’s constructed of quality materials. A few cheap-looking plastics found their way into the cabin, though.

The handful of visible cost-cutting measures can’t take away from how spacious the interior is. In the back seat there’s 35 inches of leg room, which is generous for a crossover measuring just 173 inches bow to stern.

Cargo space is no less impressive, with 24.2 cubic feet with the second row upright. Fold down the rear seat and there’s a relatively cavernous 52 cubic feet at hand. Those measurements put the E-Pace close to the top of its class.

A 10-inch infotainment system is standard, and now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The system remains somewhat finicky to use.

Driving Impressions

The last decade or so has seen Jaguar prioritize performance more than ever before, and the E-Pace is no exception. Its handling is particularly noteworthy; throw it into a corner and be amazed as it performs with the gusto of a sports sedan. This Jag crossover thinks it’s an F-Type when the road gets windy.

The base powertrain works well with the willing chassis. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 generates 246 hp in the base and SE models, and its output is good for a 6.7-second 0-60 mph acceleration run. Standard all-wheel drive provides the grip and a smart 9-speed automatic handles gear changes with aplomb.

A 296-hp version of that 2.0-liter comes on the R-Dynamic models, and though the extra power quickens acceleration by a few tenths, the best reason to upgrade to it is the fancy all-wheel-drive system it uses. By being able to vary the torque sent to each individual wheel, there’s noticeably better grip even in dry conditions. This pays dividends in sloppy weather and on thrilling backroads.

With either engine, the E-Pace rides composed and comfortable, even models with the 20-inch wheels. It soaks up bumps without ever losing its composure, and deftly tackles even the most pockmarked pavement.

Models with 246 hp are rated by the EPA for 21 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined. The 296-hp engine is rated at 21/27/23 mpg. Premium gasoline is required for both engines.

Final Word

In a crowded segment, the 2020 Jaguar E-Pace manages to differentiate itself with playful handling and capacious interior. Because it can get pricey, we’d be tempted to opt for an R-Dynamic S, which is the cheapest way to get the 296-hp engine and the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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