2018 Jaguar E-Pace reader test team review

A small SUV with the style and luxury of a Jaguar sounds like a sure-fire hit. So, what will our readers make of the Jaguar E-Pace?...

2018 Jaguar E-Pace reader test team review

Jaguar E-Paces in studio

Jaguar's future is looking awfully prosperous. Since it joined forces with fellow British brand Land Rover in 2008, it has rapidly, dramatically and successfully altered its image.

Fifteen years ago, it was getting by primarily with the XJ, S-Type and X-Type, small-selling saloons with styling straight out of the 1950s. But today, Jaguar has a range of competitive, modern models, best-selling among them being the F-Pace large SUV, followed by this smaller Jaguar E-Pace and, next year, the electric I-Pace.

Priced from £28,500, the E-Pace is the ‘cub’ of Jaguar’s range. It will take on the likes of the Audi Q3 with dynamic looks, a luxurious interior and an eye on practicality.

So, does this not-so-big cat appeal to Jaguar fans and small SUV-seeking young families alike? We invited our readers to see it at Jaguar’s design centre in Coventry to find out.

Jonathan Bache

Jaguar E-Pace side

Age: 57 Job: Company owner Drives: Jaguar F-Pace

"“As much as I love my F-Pace, the E-Pace is better suited to my requirements, because it’s smaller and more compact. I’ve admired Jaguars since I was a child, so I’m keen to stick with the brand.

“Jaguar has done a fantastic job with the E-Pace’s design. It has taken what was good about the F-Pace and filtered it through, and I can really see it appealing to young people. It’s much better looking than the rival Audi Q3 and BMW X1, which to me are boring.

“For your average young family, I’d say the E-Pace’s entry-level price of £28,500 is spot on. Plus, standard kit is good, and there are lots of options, such as with the infotainment and upholstery.

The interior layout is great, too. The chromed air vents look fantastic, and the grab handle on the centre console, which is taken from the F-Type sports car, adds a bit of excitement.

“I’d go for the 296bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with the auto gearbox and four-wheel drive. And I’d add the 10-way electric seats and upgraded stereo."

Rating: Rated 5 out of 5

Lauren Casoria-Lambert

Jaguar E-Pace front seats

Age: 35 Job: Teacher Drives: Audi A6

“I want a car that’s high-riding and suitable for our kids, and my husband wants something sporty. It has to be comfy over long distances, too. To find that compromise, we’ve looked at every premium small SUV, and the E-Pace seems well placed in this market.

“The quality of the materials inside Audis is very high, but I actually think the E-Pace is better in that respect. The standard of finish is well above what you’d expect. It feels so luxurious, with the leather seats, fine stitching and suede roof lining, although I think the ‘jaguar cub’ imagery is a bit patronising."

“The shape of the rear windows is good for kids; they can’t even see out in the Range Rover Evoque. The rear seats are quite spacious, but I’m not sure there’s room for three child seats.

“There’s plenty of storage inside, particularly in the centre console and doorbins. I wouldn’t fancy a trip to Ikea, but the boot is roomy enough for day-to-day life."

Rating: Rated 4 out of 5

Stuart Wix

Jaguar E-Pace boot

Age: 54 Job: Lead nurse Drives: Jaguar XJ

“My XJ is my first Jaguar, and it’s made me want to stick with the brand, for its interior quality and the way it drives. But my partner and I are now in the market for a small SUV, with the key consideration practicality. We have a dog, so a large hatchback boot is crucial.

“The E-Pace’s entry-level price is very attractive, but we’d go for a model in the low £30,000s to get the nine-speed automatic gearbox rather than the six-speed manual, making it more relaxing. I’d have a diesel engine for the fuel efficiency, too.

“The connectivity is great; there are loads of USB ports. Plus, boot space is very good for a car of this size, and the spacious rear seats a’re easy to get in and out of.

“The E-Pace is very attractive, from any angle, in particular the rear. Jaguar describes it as a ‘cub’, and it certainly has character, whereas most of its rivals don’t.

“Now Jaguar has moved into SUVs, it’s a much ‘younger’ brand. It’s always been seen as a ‘man’s brand’, but I think the F-Pace and E-Pace appeal to a much broader audience than that. There really are no serious drawbacks to the E-Pace.”

Rating: Rated 5 out of 5

Keith Digby

Jaguar E-Pace dashboard

Age: 55 Job: IT consultant Drives: Mazda 6 Tourer

“I’m interested in changing my estate for an SUV because they’re more practical and, I think, more sporty looking. Jaguar has always had an ‘old man’ image – all wooden and fusty. However, the current range looks fresh and is quickly doing away with that. The E-Pace will definitely further the change.

“Infotainment is very important these days. The E-Pace’s system has a nice big 10.0in touchscreen, and it’s pretty slick in its operation. I’m not so sure about the 12.3in digital instrument display, though; I think the traditional dials look better.

“The driving position is very comfortable, especially with the top-spec, 18-way-adjustable electric seats. The rear seats are a bit tight for adults and the boot’s a bit small, but neither is much worse than those of the E-Pace’s rivals.”

“I’d go for entry-level S trim, because it’s so well equipped. But I’d get bigger wheels than the standard 17s, because they don’t look in proportion.

“The pricing starts low, but gets expensive very quickly. It’s not unreasonable, though.

Rating: Rated 4 out of 5

Read more – the best and worst small SUVs


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