30.6.2021Jaguar E-Pace P300e first drive
Much of Jaguar’s range has been given a bit of a spruce up, and the E-Pace is no different. The compact premium SUV gets sharper styling and improved equipment to keep it fresh, and the changes go deeper than it might initially look. A new architecture and range of electrified engines are used, so we took the plug-in hybrid P300e for a test.
Review by Chris Lilly
JAGUAR E-PACE P300E: PERFORMANCE
The P300e powertrain fitted to this E-Pace uses Jaguar’s 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. Combined output comes in at 309 hp with 540 Nm of torque, allowing for a top speed of 134 mph and a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds.
It’s a nippy little thing, pulling eagerly at just about any speed, and proving particularly adept at town work. The electric side of things works particularly well here, but there’s enough about the compact petrol engine to deal with higher speeds comfortably.
Of the premium compact SUVs, the E-Pace has long been one of the best to drive. It’s more dynamic than rivals from Volvo and Lexus, even if the former is more comfortable and has more space. It drives ‘like a Jaguar’, even one up on stilts, but also feels like an SUV rather than a crossover.
The difference is in how it feels on the road. It’s solidly set-up, with springs that feel capable of covering tough terrain when called upon, despite the clear and understandable road bias. This isn’t just a hatchback on higher springs, it feels linked to Jaguar’s sister company Land Rover.
Styling is largely unchanged from the previous model, with a gentle refresh rather than wholesale changes. Things have been made tighter, sharper, and the overall effect is beneficial. As such, the exterior and interior dimensions remain essentially the same, with a compact footprint that works well in and around town.
Because of the compact dimensions, the interior suffers a little, with the small SUV not boasting class-leading levels of interior space. There are more comfortable rivals to sit in, when discussing rear seats at least, and the load area isn’t particularly spacious. That’s in part down to the PHEV system which rises the boot floor a little, but even the non-PHEV models aren’t the most practical cars in their class.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The interior has seen more significant changes than the exterior, chiefly to the infotainment system which gets a new 11.4-inch screen and improved stuff behind the scenes. Over-the-air updates are now possible, and the general usability has been improved.
Seats are comfortable and supportive, in fact a strength for the E-Pace, and the whole cabin looks and feels upmarket and advanced - but not just for the sake of it. There are some great touches such as the air conditioning controls, and the steering wheel is a great size. A real driver’s cabin.
JAGUAR E-PACE P300E: RANGE & RUNNING COSTS
Jaguar’s best economy figures for the E-Pace PHEV are 34 miles on a charge, 44 g/km of CO2, and 141 MPG. On the launch event, there wasn’t the chance to really put those stats to the test, but calculations are possible from our run.
The E-Pace P300e has a useful electric-only range, equating to around 27-30 miles on a charge, depending on route type. Drivers can comfortably expect 25 miles possible in just about any conditions, though if sticking more to urban routes, that will rise to around the 30 mile mark.
Jaguar’s unusual but welcome stance is that DC charging is possible on its PHEV models, including the E-Pace. Charging can be carried out via CCS connectors at up to 32 kW DC, topping up to 80% in around half an hour. On a 7 kW unit, the E-Pace P300e will take around 2.5 hours to charge its 15 kWh battery.
As well as the electrical powertrain, there is brake energy recuperation to improve range. Jaguar has fitted EV driving modes to enable the driver to maintain electric driving for as long as charge remains. That’s on top of the drive mode select system which includes an Eco setting.
There are three trim levels available for the E-Pace P300e - R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE. Fitted as standard are 18-inch alloys, the Pivi Pro 11.4-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, rear camera, LED headlights, electric seats, and leather trim.
R-Dynamic SE trim tested includes 19-inch alloys, interactive driver display, powered tailgate, premium LED headlights, and improved safety kit.
JAGUAR E-PACE P300E: MODEL SUMMARY
As with all PHEVs, the E-Pace P300e is a car that only makes sense to those who can regularly recharge it, and complete lots of short runs throughout the day - the usual school run, commute, shopping trips etc. The E-Pace’s main challenger is the Range Rover Evoque from the same company overall, which is more stylish and slightly more practical, but not as high-tech inside.
Model tested: Jaguar E-Pace 300e R-Dynamic SE
Body-style: Premium compact SUV
Engine / CO2: 1.5 litre petrol engine and electric motor / 44 g/km
Trim grades: R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, R-Dynamic HSE
On-road price: P300e range from £ 38,855. Price as tested: £47,920
Warranty: Three years / Unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.5 Stars