In the hugely competitive small SUV class, every new model needs to give buyers a compelling reason to hand over their money. And while there’s no denying that the cub of Jaguar's range handles nicely, is striking to behold and offers decent practicality, as a whole it feels off the pace.
It doesn’t ride with the control you'd expect of a car developed on British roads and, due to its hefty weight, it’s not particularly fast or economical. Smaller wheels and adaptive dampers could make the difference, but for now the jury is still out.
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2017 Jaguar E-Pace First Edition D180 AWD automatic
Price £47,500 Engine 4cyl, 1999cc, petrol Power 178bhp @ 4000rpm Torque 317lb ft @ 1750rpm Gearbox 9-spd automatic 0-62mph 9.3sec Top speed 127mph Official economy 50.4mpg CO2, tax band 147g/km, 31%
The best small SUVs 2017
If you want a small SUV but aren't convinced by the E-Pace, the good news is there are numerous alternatives. Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid.
10. Kia Soul
The Soul is more of a jacked-up hatchback than a fully fledged SUV. However, it still offers many of the benefits buyers in this market are looking for – it's competitively priced and its interior is roomy and well equippped. All of the Soul's engines could be more efficient and quiet, though, and there's plenty of wind noise at motorway speeds. There's a fully electric version to consider if you'll mainly be driving in town.
Our pick: 1.6 GDi 2
9. Audi Q3
While high-end versions are pricey, the Q3 is a desirable choice in this market, with a high quality interior. It's also good to drive and relatively inexpensive to run, with engines that are mostly smooth and strong.
Our pick: 2.0 TDI 150 SE
Compact on the outside but spacious inside, the Vitara is an easy car to live with. There's lots of standard kit on offer and it's relatively practical. It's just a pity that its petrol engines' CO2 emissions are unusually high for this class.
Our pick: 1.6 SZ4
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