Pricey Jaguar E-Pace Is the Worst Small Luxury SUV Consumer Reports Has Tested

The Jaguar E-Pace is one of the newest additions to the automaker’s lineup of high-performance vehicles. It’s also the second SUV to be added to Jaguar’s roster, following the hype of the Jaguar F-Pace. Despite the ‘E’ in its name, the E-Pace runs off of gasoline, though a PHEV version is on the way.

Despite its cool styling, Consumer Reports wasn’t impressed with the Jaguar E-Pace as a whole. It placed at the bottom of the site’s rankings for entry-level luxury SUVs. Should buyers beware of the Jaguar E-Pace?

What Consumer Reports disliked

How much power your Jaguar E-Pace can generate depends on the trim level. The base E-Pace P250’s turbo-four makes 246 hp, but the P300 Sport gains 50 hp from its mild-hybrid system. Both engines come with a nine-speed automatic transmission, which is neither smooth nor quick according to CR.

The Jaguar E-Pace feels fine once it gets going, but there’s a noticeable pause when trying to accelerate. This is true even when flooring the pedal, but CR did appreciate the growl from the engine. The suspension is also very rigid, with even the smallest bumps sending jitters throughout the interior. Lowkey engine hum is always present, no matter your speed.

Visibility can be a problem for 2021 Jaguar E-Pace drivers. The front pillars are a tad too thick and the rear window is also too small. Outward visibility is pretty good, but the side windows taper toward the back. Fortunately, CR noted that the LED headlights and high beams do a great job illuminating the sides of the road.

Some drivers might also have problems getting situated in the cockpit. Short drivers could feel intimidated by the elevated instrument panel hood, and it’s a little claustrophobic for larger drivers. There also aren’t any padded surfaces to cushion your legs beneath the wheel.

There are some classy interior touches, but hard plastic reigns supreme. The seats themselves are supportive, but CR wasn’t pleased with the lack of lumbar adjustment. The second row is pleasantly roomy as well, but the sloping roofline limits the headroom.

Certain controls are also hard for Jaguar newbies to use. For instance, the electronic shifter is operated with a button press instead of a manual knob. The infotainment screen is a good size, but the interface is too complicated and registers inputs at a snail’s pace.

The Jaguar E-Pace is too expensive

Even though it’s the cheapest Jaguar, the Jaguar E-Pace is one of the most expensive models in its class. CR lists the average price for the 2021 model as $40,995 to $49,995 across all the trim levels. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA also has an above-average price tag, but it’s still $4,000 less than the E-Pace.

For around the same price as the base Jaguar E-Pace, you could also get a fully-loaded 2021 Lexus UX. It has a perfect reliability rating and impressive fuel economy numbers. If you’re looking for something with more ‘oomph’, the zippy Mini Cooper Countryman only costs up to $41,500.

Did the Jaguar E-Pace get anything right?

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The Jaguar E-Pace is actually a blast to handle. It has snappy steering and can tackle corners with no discernable body roll. After the initial acceleration lag, the E-Pace retains a high speed throughout the drive. CR says that the E-Pace also performed well in both the braking and avoidance maneuver tests. 

CR was also satisfied with the standard safety features offered on the Jaguar E-Pace. However, even those good points might not be enough to account for the uncomfortable ride and subpar interior quality. It also has some of the lowest predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings in the segment.