The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
You sit higher up in the Jaguar E-Pace than you do in other SUVs, including the BMW X1 and X2, and there's plenty of steering wheel and seat adjustment. Indeed, the E-Pace gets 12-way electrically adjustable seats with four-way lumbar support from mid-range S trim up. Many rivals charge extra for those.
The dashboard layout is fairly conventional by the standards of the class. For example, you still get dials for the air-con and heated seat controls, just like in the Range Rover Evoque, rather than the touchscreen interface you'll find in the Volvo XC40. We think that’s a good thing, though, because proper physical buttons and dials are less distracting to use when you're driving.
SE versions and above come with a 12.3in digital instrument cluster that replaces conventional analogue dials behind the steering wheel. This can place lots of useful information right in front of you, including fuel economy statistics and sat-nav directions, but it’s nowhere near as configurable as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The view out of the back is less impressive because the window line rises towards the rear of the car and there is a relatively small rear screen. However, all versions of the E-Pace come with a 360deg camera system, front and rear parking sensors and a graphic on the infotainment system that tells you how close you are to obstacles around you.
Sat nav and infotainment
All versions of the E-Pace come with an 11.4in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. We’ve only tried the upgraded version found in S trim and above. It's called Pivi Pro and adds live sat-nav, cellular internet and over-the-air updates, as well as having faster response times than the standard Pivi set-up.
It's a massive improvement on the previous system thanks to a straightforward menu layout, crisp graphics and highly customisable home screen. However, like all touchscreen-based systems, it’s more distracting to use on the move than the BMW X1 and X2 iDrive system, which has a separate rotary controller interface with physical shortcut buttons.
The standard 180W sound system is perfectly acceptable, but music lovers can pick from two upgrade options: a 400W Meridian Sound System with 12 speakers (standard on R-Dynamic HSE models) or a more powerful version of the same system with a 600W and 16 speakers. We’ve tested the former and it is utterly fantastic, with weighty bass and crisp high notes.
This is the one area where Jaguar interiors always seem to fall short compared with the competition. True, the E-Pace looks reasonably posh inside at first glance, but it doesn’t hold up to closer inspection.
From the dashboard wrapped in vinyl to some of the more questionable plastics and buttons, the E-Pace simply isn’t as classy inside as its premium-badged rivals, including the X1 and Volvo XC40. It does stop short of feeling too cheap inside, though, and the leather on the steering wheel is suitably fine-grain.
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