Natural fiber-based composites such as jute-polyester composites have the potential to be more cost-effective and environment-friendly substitutes for glass fiber-reinforced composites which are commonly found in many applications. In an earlier study (Mache and Deb ), jute-polyester composite tubes of circular and square cross-sections were shown to perform competitively under axial impact loading conditions when compared to similar components made of bidirectional E-glass fiber mats and thermo-setting polyester resin. For jute-reinforced plastic panels to be feasible solutions for automotive interior trim panels, laminates made of such materials should have adequate perforation resistance. In the current study, a systematic characterization of jute-polyester and glass-polyester composite laminates made by compression molding is at first carried out under quasi-static tensile, compressive and flexural loading conditions. Low velocity impact perforation tests at speeds of around 4 m/s are then performed in an instrumented drop-weight testing device on square plates extracted from the same laminates. The energy absorbed in each of these tests is estimated using a novel approach based on load cell data and velocity-time history measured with a high speed camera. A new parameter is identified which is used for comparing the intrinsic resistance of jute and glass composites under impact indentation conditions. In terms of gross energy absorption capacity, the current investigation shows that jute-polyester laminates which are of lower density than glass-polyester laminates can be made comparable to the latter with an increased number of plies (i.e. laminate thickness).