Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace Is ‘Likeable but Flawed’

When you enter into a discussion about the traditional luxury car, Jaguar is among the brands that come to mind. Since its 2013 merger with Land Rover, expectations were high for Jaguar SUV E-Pace, F-Pace, and I-Pace models. However, the British automaker took a terrible hit when their J.D. Power dependability ranking banished them to the bottom of the list, beating only Alfa Romeo and their own Land Rover. The refreshed 2021 Jaguar E-Pace makes its entrance during dark times, capturing the attention of auto critics, but without gaining their full confidence.

The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace is OK but lagging behind its class

“We found the E-Pace to be a likable but flawed feline,” said Consumer Reports in their road test write-up for the 2021 Jaguar E-Pace. After a refresh, which included an exterior update, interior and infotainment upgrades, and improvements to the chassis and power-train, this is a disappointing response. Though winding up 11th out of 11 entry-level luxury SUVs, the 2021 E-Pace isn’t a complete flop, it just isn’t up to the same level of class leaders like the Audi Q3, the BMW X1/X2, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the Volvo XC40.

The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace received an overall rating of 52 out of 100 from Consumer Reports, equaling the score of the 2021 Cadillac XT4, which costs $5,000 less. It received a 69 rating on its road test with acceleration, braking, and emergency handling its standout features. Scores of two out of five on CR’s predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction were predictable, given the SUV’s performance on the J.D. Power dependability study.

CR’s critics liked the curvaceous styling, lively engine, and sharp handling of the 2021 E-Pace. Its 2.0-liter turbo-four power plant gives the crossover SUV plenty of tenacity, producing an encouraging growl during acceleration. Road and wind noise are not an issue with the E-Pace, which includes comfortable seating and plenty of space up front. The responsiveness of its quick steering and its eager, nimble handling of curves are likable features as well.

What kept the 2021 E-Pace at the bottom of CR’s list?

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Consumer Reports critics say that the 2021 Jaguar E-Pace lacks the necessary luxury and refinement to match its price. In spite of its handling on the highway, the absence of lumbar adjustment is a strike against the E-Pace, since it is a common feature in the class. Its jerky drive-train and a transmission that is less than responsive produces uneven acceleration along with its stiff suspension prevent the E-Pace from providing a luxury riding experience. A fuel economy of 21 mpg from its 246-hp engine is not up to par for the class.

The 2021 E-Pace interior is a bit mundane for a luxury ride, producing an overall feeling of austerity. Its 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system is slow and cumbersome while its electronic shifter is far from user-friendly. Rear and side visibility are obstructed by the vehicle’s design, which can be helped with the blind-spot warning feature, but it is an added option. CR’s critics cite the lack of various other “little things,” which are expected to be present in a luxury class SUV as well.

The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace might be a disappointment to luxury SUV buyers

It is likely that no one expected the 2021 Jaguar E-Pace to overcome all its shortcomings with a model-year refresh. Though its handling, acceleration, comfort, and overall driving make the E-Pace likable, it still lacks a lot of the common luxury features that come standard with luxury SUVs while predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction continue to push it to the bottom of its class.