The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
You sit farther from the road than you do in some rivals, including the BMW X1 (and X2), and there's plenty of steering wheel and seat adjustment. Indeed, the E-Pace gets 10-way electrically adjustable seats from S trim up, although it's frustrating that you need to add the relatively expensive 14-way electric seats – or upgrade to SE trim – to get adjustable lumbar support.
The dashboard layout is fairly conventional by the standards of the class. For example, there’s no touchscreen to control the air conditioning, like there is in the Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC40. But we actually reckon that’s a good thing because proper physical buttons and dials are less distracting to use when you're driving.
HSE 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.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The E-Pace’s lofty driving position gives you a penthouse view of the road ahead – which you don't get in the lower-slung X1 and X2 – 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 is less impressive, due to the window line rising towards the rear of the car and a relatively small rear screen. However, all versions of the E-Pace come with a rear-view camera, along with front and rear parking sensors. Upgrade to SE trim or above and you’ll get a 360deg parking aid that displays a graphic on the infotainment system to indicate how close you are to obstacles around you.
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 and can be tricky to hit with any confidence when you're driving. There’s no doubt that the X1’s (and X2’s) infotainment system, which has a separate rotary controller interface as well as a touchscreen, is far less distracting.
All trim levels 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 built-in sat nav and Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, while SE models have a punchier 380W Meridian sound system. Options include an even more powerful 825W sound system and a digital TV.
This is the one area that 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 being 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.
However, the E-Pace stops short of feeling overly cheap inside, and at least the leather on the steering wheel is suitably fine-grain.
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