2021 Jaguar E-Pace pounces on more tech, upgraded style

The outside's changes are minor, but inside looks pretty swell.

New duds are here.

Sedans are out and SUVs are in, if you haven't heard. Jaguar has and it's decided to drop its entry-level sedan, the XE, for 2021. Instead, the Jaguar E-Pace will serve as the most affordable Jag for sale -- and the company gave the compact SUV a slew of updates.

The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace bowed on Tuesday with massaged styling and lots of new technology. The latter point is a good thing because with the tech, the cockpit grows far sleeker. I won't spend a lot of time on the exterior since, well, it's not too different. There is a new front fascia, which Jaguar said takes lessons from its aerodynamic departments. A blade element now runs through the mesh grille, trimmed with chrome details -- a nod to the brand's heritage logo. Overall, the updates help the E-Pace look fresh, especially with updated LED light signatures.

Inside is where I think designers knocked it out of the park, especially compared to the current E-Pace, which is... a little chintzy. Gone is the smaller infotainment screen in favor of a massive, curved 11.4-inch unit running Jaguar's latest Pivi Pro system. The gear selector gets a total overhaul and is now far shorter. That's a good thing for ergonomics because it looks like it will be much easier to reach into the cubby behind it, which also houses a wireless phone charger. The optional 12.3-inch digital display is also a massive leap forward over the outgoing SUV's analog dials. Other small touches include more soft-touch materials throughout, and a "cricket ball" stitching to remind all of us that Jaguar is still very British (and a bit Indian). You'll also notice a redesigned steering wheel that borrows elements from the electric I-Pace SUV.

The name of this refreshed SUV game is more tech, and there's a lot of it. There's an optional rearview camera mirror and a new electronic vehicle architecture makes the 2021 E-Pace more connected than ever with over-the-air update capability. Heck, Pivi Pro will even sync Google and Microsoft Outlook information for drivers if they want. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remain onboard for the ride.

Although Jaguar revamped the trim names, what they bring to the table on the mechanical side of things stays the same. All-wheel drive is standard across the board and a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine serves every single trim. However, the base P250 and the midrange P250 SE make 246 horsepower. The 300 Sport trim's 2.0-liter engine adds some light electrification that helps boost the output to 296 hp. A nine-speed automatic handles shifting duties no matter which variant buyers choose.

With the updates, Jaguar did jack the price up a tad. The starting price for the E-Pace comes in at $42,045 after a $1,050 destination charge. That's $1,045 more than the outgoing SUV, if you don't want to do the math. But the E-Pace looks like a far more attractive machine now, and it'll probably help American buyers miss the deceased XE sedan even less than they already did.

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