The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
As with the exterior, the interior of the E-Pace was clearly inspired by the F-Type. That car's low grab rail has made it in, along with the joystick-style lever for the automatic gearbox rather than the rotary selector that features in the larger F-Pace.
It’s a clean and handsome layout that’s surprisingly user-friendly. The dials for the air conditioning are a doddle to use and you sit suitably high up, whereas in rivals such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 you could almost be sitting behind the wheel of a regular hatchback.
Better still, on all but the entry-level trim, you get electrically adjustable front seats that make it super-easy to fine-tune your driving position.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
That lofty driving position gives you a good view of the road ahead and seeing out of the side windows at junctions and roundabouts isn’t too hard, either. We just wish the windscreen pillars were a bit thinner.
The view out of the back of the E-Pace is rather less impressive. However, all versions come with a reversing camera to get around this, along with front and rear sensors. Upgrade to S trim or above and you’ll get a 360deg aid to make parking even easier. Should you want to make sure your wheels stay uncurbed and paintwork scratch-free, there’s a surround-view camera system on the options list.
Sat nav and infotainment
All versions of the E-Pace come with a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system that Jaguar calls Touch Pro. It’s relatively snappy to respond when you prod it, the graphics are sharp and the interface reasonably easy to get your head around.
Mind you, some of the icons are small so can be a bit tricky to hit with any degree of confidence on the move. There’s no doubt that the X1's infotainment system, which utilises a rotary controller instead of a touchscreen, is much less distracting.
You get a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a couple of USB sockets as standard, along with a relatively weedy 125W sound system. Upgrade to S trim and you’ll also get sat-nav, while SE models get a punchier 380W Meridian sound system. Options include an even more powerful 825W sound system and TV reception. Apple CarPlay is standard on all but entry-level models, but Android Auto isn’t available.
The one area that Jaguar interiors always seem to fall short compared with rivals' is their perceived quality. True, the E-Pace looks posh inside, but it doesn’t hold up particularly brilliantly on closer inspection. From the dashboard that's wrapped in vinyl to some of the more questionable plastics and switches, the E-Pace simply isn’t as classy inside as the best rivals, including the X1 and Volvo XC40.
However, the E-Pace stops short of feeling cheap inside, and at least the leather on the steering wheel is suitably fine-grain.