Jaguar E-Pace SUV - Interior & comfort
The Jaguar E-Pace has a luxurious, smart, and comfortable interior, but its infotainment system is the weak link
Jaguar has adopted some of the styling elements of its F-Type sports car in the making of the E-Pace and there’s evidence of that when you look at the design of the interior. The grab handle on the central console and the sloping dash are from the F-Type and it means the inside of the E-Pace feels a bit sportier than the interior of the bigger F-Pace SUV. Double stitched leather on mid-range models and above give the cabin the upmarket feel you’d expect in a Jaguar, even if there is the odd slab of underwhelming black plastic, and some will find the BMW X2 dashboard more interesting to look at.
The quality of the ride you get with an E-Pace can feel a little jittery and it certainly isn't as compliant as the most comfortable cars in this class. More of the thumps and jolts come into the cabin as you go up in wheel size, so it's little surprise that in order to have the optional 21-inch wheels, Jaguar insists you also have to select the optional adaptive dampers. The ride is more compliant than rivals such as the Jeep Compass, but prospective buyers may be surprised to read the E-Pace feels less fluid and refined than a number of the competition, including the Volkswagen Tiguan.
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The engines available in the E-Pace are refined, however, and aside from the occasionally fidgety ride, the car never feels unrefined; the only other thing you’re likely to notice is the wind rushing past the wing mirrors at high speed and tyre roar from the bigger wheels.
Jaguar E-Pace dashboard
The dashboard features a simple layout, with rotary dials used to control many of the car’s systems and there’s an option to have a TFT screen instead of traditional dials behind the steering wheel.
The E-Pace trim range consists of two main pillars: regular and R-Dynamic. Each pillar contains the same four trim levels: standard, S, SE, and HSE but the R-Dynamic versions have body-coloured door cladding, a different front bumper design, front fog lights and different trim pieces, for a sportier look.
The entry-level E-Pace comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, heated front seats, plus a heated windscreen and door mirrors. It’s also equipped with a 10-inch touchscreen Touch Pro infotainment system.
Move up to the S trim and you get 18-inch alloy wheels, electric folding door mirrors with puddle lights, electric adjustment for the front seats, leather upholstery, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.
The SE model gets extras such as 19-inch wheels, a wi-fi hotspot and adaptive cruise control, while the range-topping HSE features 20-inch alloy wheels, 18-way adjustment on the electric front seats, upgraded Windsor leather upholstery, the TFT display instead of the instruments and gesture control for the bootlid.
Optional equipment for the interior includes an infrared reflective windscreen to keep the car cooler in hot weather, ambient interior lighting, an air quality sensor, a digital TV, and a 360-degree surround camera.
Offered as part of the Connect Pro Pack, Smart Settings brings artificial intelligence to the E-Pace, following its debut in the electric Jaguar I-Pace. Using your key fob and smartphone, the car detects who's driving and adjusts systems like the climate control, infotainment and even media to suit your profile. Smart Settings can even learn what you prefer and observe the time, weather and location to anticipate actions like turning on the heated seats on a cold morning.
External optional equipment includes larger alloy wheels, a tow bar, a black contrast or panoramic roof, tinted windows and Matrix LED headlights.
The E-Pace’s 10-inch widescreen infotainment display is easy to read but the speed of the system is disappointing, particularly when compared with the infotainment systems in a BMW, Audi or Mercedes. When the facelift arrives, it will be replaced with the latest setup seen in the Land Rover Defender, with more computing power and over-the-air updates. There are two well-placed USB sockets between the front seats but integrating your smartphone through Jaguar’s own software isn’t great. At least the system now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can mirror your phone and use your familiar apps and operating system.