Small premium crossovers like the 2020 Jaguar E-Pace are big business these days. This class includes contenders like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. The E-Pace doesn’t sell in quite the same numbers, but it’s still a credible rival.
It has a particular design language, which it shares with other Jaguar models, up-to-date technology, an exceptional driving experience (which it also shares with other Jaguars) and an interior that seems to be classier than the larger F-Pace’s (the only main complaint about that vehicle).
Fun fact: The E-Pace is built by Magna Steyr in Austria, a facility that produces several high-end vehicles for German companies — the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, for example.
What’s New for 2020?
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration is now standard throughout the whole E-Pace range. A new limited-edition Checkered Flag version joins the lineup for this year. And we’ve lost the regular S trim, although the R-Dynamic S trim remains. But it does mean that some of the equipment in the erstwhile S is now part of the entry level model. See the 2020 Jaguar E-Pace models for sale near you
What We Like
- Classy and distinct styling
- Excellent road manners
- Lots of comfort up front
What We Don’t
- Not so much comfort in the back
$40,945 to $53,945
One makes 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 21 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving.
The other, found in the R-Dynamic variants, develops 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The EPA puts consumption at 21 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined. Both engines require premium gasoline.
The all-wheel drive (AWD) system in the R-Dynamic models (called Active Driveline) is the more sophisticated of the two. Whereas the regular E-Pace’s system features permanent AWD, the Active counterpart runs purely as a front-drive setup in undemanding conditions to optimize fuel efficiency. When a situation arises that demands more traction, the system can send torque to the rear axle or both axles, and even favor some wheels over others.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Jaguar E-Pace is available in standard and more powerful R-Dynamic guises. The former comes in base, SE and Checkered Flag trim levels — the latter’s trims are S, SE and HSE.
The entry model E-Pace ($40,945) has selectable driving modes, push-button start, 18-in alloy wheels, LED headlights/daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated/self-dimming side mirrors, a rear spoiler, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seating surfaces, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a self-dimming rearview mirror, 60/40 split/fold rear seats, forward collision mitigation, lane-keeping assistance, driver fatigue monitoring, front/rear parking sensors, a 10-in infotainment touch screen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, voice control, a 6-speaker audio setup, two USB ports and four 12-volt outlets.
SE ($44,695) comes with a powered lift gate, 14-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with stop/go, a 360-degree camera system, self-parking system for parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, reverse traffic detection, road sign recognition, navigation, Wi-Fi (for up to eight devices) and an 11-speaker/380-watt Meridian audio system upgrade (Meridian systems are highly regarded in the automotive audiophile world).
Checkered Flag ($47,395) comes only with the 246-hp engine, plus 19-in alloy wheels finished in Satin Dark Grey, body-colored bumpers, black exterior accents, black leather upholstery with red stitching, heated front seats, a fixed panoramic roof, a 12.3-in configurable driver information display and black gearshift paddles. It’s available in Photon Red (a model-exclusive color), Corris Grey or Yulong White.
The R-Dynamic S ($47,595) has its own cosmetic additions to go with the more powerful engine and more advanced AWD system. It also gets bigger front brake discs. Otherwise, it mirrors the regular SE version, with exception of the self-parking feature, the 360-degree camera system, reverse traffic detection and the Meridian sound system.
The R-Dynamic SE ($50,195) adds those items.
The R-Dynamic HSE ($53,945) rolls with 20-in alloy wheels, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control with stop/go, high-speed automatic braking, perforated leather seats, 18-way power-adjustable front seats with memory, blind spot monitoring and a gesture-controlled lift gate (a wiggled foot will work).
Much of the standard equipment in the higher trims is available at extra cost in less expensive variants.
Other options include 21-in alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, multicolored ambient LED cabin lighting, a heated steering wheel, heated windshield washer jets, heated rear outboard seats, side steps, stainless steel/rubber sport pedals, satellite radio and a 15-speaker/825-watt Meridian surround sound system.
Another noteworthy option is the Activity Key. It goes on the wrist and looks like a fitness gadget — it’s waterproof and shockproof, so it can be worn while surfing or rock climbing, etc. It enables the user to leave the regular key in the vehicle, which is then locked by placing the Activity Key on the lift gate’s sensor. It doesn’t need a battery.
Cargo space with the rear seats in place is 24.2 cu ft. — folding them down creates 52.5 cu ft. That compares well with rivals.
In addition to all the mandatory safety equipment, such as stability control, airbags (including an exterior pedestrian airbag) and anti-lock brakes, the E-Pace also has emergency braking assistance, hill start assistance, trailer stability assistance and Corner Brake Control.
The E-Pace has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A similar program in Europe (EuroNCAP) gave the E-Pace its top overall score of five stars.
Behind the Wheel
Every Jaguar has a well-tuned suspension that not only achieves the seemingly impossible task of providing precision while remaining comfortable, but makes it seem easy. The E-Pace benefits from this expertise. And that’s before paying extra for the adaptive suspension.
Handling is further enhanced by Jaguar’s "torque vectoring by braking" system that will subtly apply the brakes to one or more wheels to maintain the desired line through a corner. This small luxury crossover should be able to keep up with many sport sedans.
Jaguar’s sister company, Land Rover, has contributed expertise in the form of All-Surface Progress Control, which is like a low-speed cruise control for when things get slippery.
Occupant space is not an issue up front, it’s more than pleasant in that location. It’s in the back where legroom and headroom are limited. Then again, there’s a reason why this crossover is called small.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 BMW X1 — Superb to drive, well-packaged and extremely practical.
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque — A new generation launches for this model year. Starts out more expensive than the E-Pace, but appealing in its own way.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class — Wonderfully pleasant, but due for replacement.
2020 Volvo XC40 — Earning rave reviews from everyone who drives it because of its style, driving manners and safety tech.
We’d recommend looking at the regular SE, then adding a few things like more driver aids. This model’s engine is muscular enough for the majority of drivers. At $1,020, the adaptive suspension also seems like a reasonable extra. Buyers who encounter serious winters will appreciate the heated seats and steering wheel. Find a Jaguar E-Pace for sale