Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Driver-focused cockpit
  • Functional, if a little uninspiring
  • Some cheap feeling details

How is the quality and layout?

The interior of the Jaguar E-Pace looks modern without feeling too futuristic or tacky. You can also choose from a range of coloured materials to brighten it up on higher-spec models, extending from the seats, to the doors and dash.

Entry-level versions can suffer, however, as they look a little sombre in here from the lack of choice and limited materials used, while the darker areas contrast badly with the brighter-coloured trim panels - such as the grey shiny plastic against the plush-looking seats.

Disappointingly, there are still some cheap plastics littering the cabin – and you don't have to go far to look for them. If you prod for the start button and miss it, you'll be touching a dashboard panel made from cheap and nasty plastic not befitting a premium-badged product.

There are hints of space constraints in here, too, with the tiny window and mirror switches almost buried out of the way into a cramped location on the doors that’s a little clumsy to access. The stop-start, ESC and drive mode buttons are also tiny and appear to be an afterthought.

Things do pick up though. The E-Pace's dash adopts a similar layout to other models in the Jaguar range, with many functions taken care of by a central infotainment touchscreen accompanied by some physical dials and buttons for the climate control, vehicle functions and stereo volume, which is a positive in our book.

Updates for the 2021 model introduced a much more modern gearlever, along with the steering wheel found on the electric I-Pace. The Range Rover Evoque still manages to feels much more special in here, but the E-Pace's simplicity also means that ergonomics is a strong point, with the controls located in a logical place.

A central grab-handle inspired by the one found in the F-Type sports car divides the dashboard into separate driver and passenger zones, too.

Infotainment and tech

The E-Pace underwent some major changes for 2021, with a new infotainment system called Pivi Pro. It's controlled by an 11.4-inch touchscreen system that is really easy to use, especially if you're au fait with smartphones. Highlights include over-the-air updates, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and the ability to connect two phones at the same time via Bluetooth.

The new climate control system with its two large rotary controls and haptic buttons tidy up the long line of buttons that used to reside here. The gloss black haptic controls require a firm press, but thankfully these aren't used very often and don't prove too distracting to use when driving.

The crisp digital dials add that final touch to help bring the interior up to date, while the optional head-up display shows large font that's easy to read, as well as a basic rev counter in the sportier Dynamic drive mode.

Is it comfortable?

  • Bumpy ride on standard dampers
  • Big wheels don’t help in this regard
  • Adaptive dampers worth considering

Most E-Pace buyers are expected to be new to the brand, but that smaller proportion of marque loyalists are likely to be confused by the firm's, un-Jaguar-like ride quality – assuming they’ve got past the notion of a small SUV with a growler badge on the grille in the first place…

Ride quality on the optional 20-inch wheels – lower grade E-Pace wheels are 17 and 18s as standard – is firm, but never too harsh, however it might be a bit too fidgety for some around town. The E-Pace seems to have been set-up to drive brilliantly on B-roads as a priority. As such, the firm standard suspension is made worse if you get tempted into paying extra for larger wheels. There's every chance you will want to do this as they make a dramatic improvement to the E-Pace's style.

Things improve if you opt for optional adaptive dampers. They're effective at making the ride far less busy, but you will have ended up laying out quite a bit more cash than originally intended. Sadly there's no real middle ground to get the best of both worlds, unless you're happy to plump for a standard setup and make do with the firmer suspension on smaller wheels. It's far from uncomfortable, but just isn't as relaxed around town than a Volvo XC40 or Audi Q3, for example. 

The plug-in hybrid (badged P300e) is set up differently. Despite it weighing more than two tonnes, it simply glides around at 30mph and below. The ride is smooth and very little road noise enters the cabin. Rolling round on pure electric power really suits the E-Pace, but it does become less hushed and bumpier at motorway speeds.

Refinement isn't too bad either - those large door mirrors generate some wind noise, but it's only if you opt for those larger wheels when a bit more road noise makes its way into the cabin, resonating around the windows. The newer Range Rover Evoque has moved the game on in this respect.

We found those fitted with a panoramic roof to be a little more noisy on the move, too, while the diesel engines make their presence felt when pushed hard. The petrols fare a little better, sending fewer vibrations into the cabin, but you'd have to drive them back to back to notice.

The good news is that all seats available in the E-Pace are comfortable, compensating for the car's firmer ride. The seats are firm and supportive, encouraging good posture rather than letting you slouch into them, which is actually quite advantageous on a long journey.

The seat base provides plenty of thigh support for taller drivers, and while there could be a little more side bolstering, there's otherwise plenty of adjustment and you feel cocooned in the cabin. The only minor niggle a few of us find is the steering wheel sits a little high even on its lowest setting, but this can be easily rectified by raising the seat a little instead.

Otherwise the seating position is comfortable, and while the view out towards the rear of the car is a little restricted, the view out is good elsewhere.

Those sat in the rear get a pair of air vents but little else, with just enough comfort for a long-distance journey. That said, they'll be far more happy sat in the back of an Audi Q3, which also has a reclining backrest. The benefit of the optional panoramic roof helps reduce the feeling of being claustrophobic over longer journeys and during the darker winter months, too.