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First drive: Jaguar E-Pace P300e. Image by Jaguar UK.

First drive: Jaguar E-Pace P300e
Facelift time for Jaguar’s most junior crossover, the E-Pace, and it also receives a charismatic PHEV drivetrain too.


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Jaguar E-Pace P300e

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Jaguar's ongoing move to electrification continues to gather pace as it broadens its part-electric offerings with this, the updated E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Jaguar e-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S
Pricing: E-Pace range from £30,490, P300e from £45,995 for R-Dynamic S as tested
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol plus 80kW electric motor and 15kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed Aisin automatic (petrol) with integrated reduction-gear transmission rear (electric)
Body style: five-door compact plug-in hybrid SUV
CO2 emissions: 44g/km (VED Band 1-50 Alternative Fuel Cars: £0 first 12 months, then £465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 141.2mpg, 34 miles EV range
Top speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Power: petrol 200hp at 5,500rpm, electric 109hp, system maximum output 309hp
Torque: petrol 280Nm at 1,600-4,500rpm, electric 260Nm, system maximum output 540Nm
Boot space: 577-1,386 litres

What's this?

Jaguar's smaller SUV, updated for the 2021 model year, and we must confess the E-Pace as a model is one which has largely passed us by. The sort of 'third way' in the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) compact SUVs line-up, after the seven-seat Land Rover Discovery Sport and the much more stylish Range Rover Evoque, the E-Pace always seemed like a superfluous oddity. We drove one, a D180 Chequered Flag, a few years back at the event where we also tested the Land Rover Discovery Landmark and the XE Reims Edition, and while it was perfectly pleasant enough, all we could tell you about it was that it had one of those fancy interior mirrors that was also a camera. Er... at least, we think it did. Actually, on reflection (sorry, bad choice of word in this context), it was a Mk2 Evoque on the same day which had that glitzy feature. Oh.

There was one thing we always remembered about the E-Pace, however, and while it's a subjective point we feel we ought to raise it. Something about its high-set headlamps, its smaller proportions and its generally bulbous shape always put us off the E-Pace aesthetically. We can't remember if it was The Simpsons or a greetings card (we're clearly getting old these days), but we can vaguely recall a seeing a cartoon image when we were younger of a character with facial features slightly too large for their head; as if someone had drawn a 'smiley' on a balloon and then pumped a bit too much gas into it, distending the proportions of the face. Well, that's the E-Pace; all of the F-Pace's leonine design touchpoints, only crammed onto a shell that was slightly too compact for them all to coexist on its frame happily.

Perhaps we should say 'that was the E-Pace', though, because a discreet round of revisions for 2021 has seen 'double-J' headlight clusters and 'chicane' LED rear lights drafted in to good effect, while the bumpers, grilles and meshwork have all been tweaked too. It seems to work quite well, in truth, as the E-Pace doesn't appear quite as gawky as it once did, even if it's still not anything like as attractive as something like a Volvo XC40. It also helps that the P300e only comes in R-Dynamic S, SE, and HSE trims, meaning you get sportier bodywork on the outside and alloy wheels of at least 18 inches in diameter across the board on the PHEV.

On the inside, there are less dramatic changes going on here than in the cabin of the larger F-Pace 2021MY, so the E-Pace still has a stolid if uninspiring layout with that passenger grab-handle side to the console, as seen on the F-Type. However, the baby Jag SUV does gain the Pivi Pro 11.4-inch infotainment system for the facelift and that one change alone is enough to significantly lift the quality of the interior for the 2021MY cars.

How does it drive?

As we said in our review of the F-Pace P400e, the smaller E-Pace P300e plug-in hybrid deploys its petrol and electric running gear in a different fashion to the bigger four-cylinder SUV. It has its more modest 80kW (109hp) e-motor on the rear axle, rather than in the gearbox, and so the 15kWh lithium-ion battery pack is stashed in the floor of the E-Pace PHEV. This means Jaguar can claim the same amount of boot space on this model as an any other version of its compact crossover, which is good, although the company doesn't suggest the E-Pace can drive at up to 87mph on electric power alone, as the F-Pace P400e can.

There's also no physical propshaft between the axles, with the Jaguar's petrol engine handling the front wheels on the P300e and the 80kW electric unit driving the rears. It's therefore up to onboard electronics to apportion out the relevant grunt to whichever wheel can handle it best. But the E-Pace PHEV's systems do manage this well, and furthermore the engine here is a glorious 1.5-litre, three-cylinder Ingenium turbocharged mill. This little gem alone has the same kind of punch as the much-vaunted motor in the Ford Fiesta ST. Although, at an astounding (for all the wrong reasons) 2,173kg, the E-Pace P300e needs its supplementary 109hp/260Nm electric motor (for substantial overall drivetrain peaks of 309hp and 540Nm) just to match the Ford for straight-line performance.

Yet, despite this E-Pace P300e weighing a mere 16 kilos less than its similarly portly P400e relation, it doesn't feel anything like as cumbersome as the F-Pace PHEV in the corners. In fact, it feels pretty sweetly sorted. It's not notably thrilling in any way, of course, and it doesn't quite have the all-round fluidity that normally marks out a decent Jag; in the P300e, you can determine the relative coarseness of the surfacing material used for most sections of road as you roll along them and there's more of a general background commotion in the cabin at speed, as the E-Pace doesn't isolate outside noises as effectively as more expensive models. However, it's not unbearable by this class' standards and the E-Pace P300e is quite enjoyable in the corners. There's less lean to the shell than we expected when transitioning through bends at high speeds, while the overriding impression of the chassis is one of masses of grip - the little Jag PHEV flat refuses to relinquish its grip on the asphalt and tracks a steady, neutral line through most curves you show it.

The SUV is enabled in the handling department by some of Jaguar's typically excellent steering, as well as a smooth Aisin (not ZF) eight-speed gearbox and nicely judged brakes. And it feels quick, mainly because the triple emits such a pleasing, gargling noise as you spin it round the tacho that you can't help but smile. Furthermore, the E-Pace PHEV proved to be better on fuel than the F-Pace during our test drive, as despite having an enjoyable thrash in the P300e it still gave back 48.7mpg overall. A bit more care and attention from a driver ought to see 50-60mpg easily attainable, even on slightly longer journeys.


The new Jaguar E-Pace P300e isn't quite as refined as some of the pricier products from the British marque, while its interior isn't as show-stopping either and there's not a huge amount of space for passengers sat in the back. It's also not exactly cheap, at a starting price of almost £46,000 for this R-Dynamic S, and the looks will not be everyone's cup of Yorkshire. Nevertheless, the drivetrain is full of charisma, the new infotainment is superb, the speed and handling are both very pleasant, and the overall refinement of the package is at more than acceptable levels. Among its compact, premium crossover PHEV peers, the P300e is definitely up there with the best of them right now.

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain

Matt Robinson - 10 Mar 2021    - Jaguar road tests
- Jaguar news
- E-Pace images

2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.

2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.2021 Jaguar E-Pace P300e R-Dynamic S. Image by Jaguar UK.


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