Priced from £28,500 Release date Late 2017
Jaguar may have been slow to enter the SUV market, but its first effort, the F-Pace, has since taken more than half of the brand’s sales. Like most late bloomers, then, it's keen to make up for lost time, with this smaller Jaguar E-Pace the first of three additional SUVs on the way.
The E-Pace will cost from £28,500 when it goes on sale later this year, which means it will go head to head with the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. However, while those cars closely resemble the bigger SUVs in their respective ranges, the designers of the E-Pace have been bolder, taking their inspiration from Jaguar’s F-Type sports car.
This can be seen in headlights that stretch back into the bonnet and side windows that taper to a point over the car’s muscular haunches. And yet none of this looks out of place in the way that sports car details traditionally have done when applied to SUVs.
Callum puts this down to the need to build brand awareness, but he says: “Now that Jaguars are becoming a more familiar sight on the road, we are going to separate the cars more. Only the rectangular front grille has to remain consistent.”
Jaguar E-Pace interior
Jaguar markets itself as a sporty brand, and this is reflected in the interior of the E-Pace, which is very driver-focused. Models with an automatic gearbox ditch the rotary selector used in the F-Pace in favour of a joystick that allows manual shifts, and there’s a central grab handle that seems to fence the passenger off from the dashboard controls.
The layout is user-friendly (at least for the person behind the wheel), because there are simple rotary dials for the air conditioning and the more sophisticated of Jaguar’s two infotainment systems is standard. Called Touch Pro, it’s displayed on a 10.0in touchscreen with a customisable home page that makes most operations quite quick and simple.
You can also opt to replace the E-Pace’s instrument dials with a 12.3in digital display that lets you decide what information is displayed directly in front of you. Meanwhile, the list of connectivity features includes five USB ports, up to four 12V charging sockets and a 4G wi-fi hotspot for up to eight devices.
If there’s one area in which Jaguar interiors usually fall short of their rivals’, it’s perceived quality. And while great attention to detail is promised this time, we’ll have to wait to pass judgement, because the car we sat in was a pre-production model. What is clear, though, is that a lot of thought has gone into the look of the interior, from the attractive contrasting stitching on the dashboard to the subtle Jaguar animal print available in the floor mats.
Jaguar E-Pace practicality
Adults will have enough leg room in the back of the E-Pace, as long as those sitting in front aren’t over 6ft tall. Plus, the rear bench seat is quite flat, making it reasonably comfortable for three people.
Adding to the practicality is a boot that can accommodate a folded buggy or six carry-on suitcases, thanks to its square shape and 484-litre capacity. By comparison, the Q3 has 420 litres of space and the GLA 481 litres. And while the X1 provides 505 litres, the E-Pace can have additional space beneath its boot floor if you don’t specify a spare wheel.
It is a little disappointing that the rear seats split-fold 60/40 rather than 40/20/40 and that they don’t slide to let you change the balance between rear leg room and boot space. But you can get a tailgate that opens and closes when you swipe your foot beneath the rear bumper – handy when your hands are full.
The E-Pace also has a lot more in-car storage than Jaguar has traditionally provided. Indeed, the storage cubbyhole between the front seats is big enough for multiple iPads.
Jaguar E-Pace engines
The E-Pace may look a bit like the F-Type, but under the skin it has far more in common with sister brand Land Rover’s Discovery Sport. This means there’s more steel in its structure than there is in other Jaguars, but the lighter aluminium that’s found in the brand’s other cars is still used for the bonnet, tailgate and roof, something that helps fuel efficiency.
The entry-level E-Pace, for example, is a front-wheel-drive, 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which averages 60.1mpg in official tests. That’s slightly down on its rivals (the equivalent Q3 manages 62.8mpg and the X1 68.9mpg) but close enough that it’s unlikely to be a deal-breaker.
All other E-Paces have four-wheel drive, with the engine options the 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel that we recommend in the Discovery Sport, a 237bhp diesel with the same capacity, and turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol units with 247bhp or 296bhp.
The petrols both come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, as does the 237bhp 2.0 diesel, while the 148bhp and 178bhp diesels get a six-speed manual as standard, with the nine-speed automatic costing extra.
Whichever E-Pace you choose, you can switch between four driving modes. Normal is designed for everyday use; Dynamic sharpens up the steering, accelerator and auto gearbox responses; Eco softens those responses to encourage more efficient driving; and Rain, Ice and Snow enhances stability in low-grip conditions.
If you specify the optional Adaptive Dynamics system, selecting Dynamic also firms up the suspension to reduce body lean in corners. Plus, this system monitors the E-Pace’s movements every 0.002sec to help it soak up bumps in the road better.
You can also have a Torque Vectoring system, which will brake individual wheels to improve stability and turn-in to corners, and All Surface Progress Control, which is designed to enhance traction in off-road conditions by automatically maintaing a set speed between 1.1mph and 18mph.
Jaguar E-Pace equipment
Buyers can choose from S, SE and HSE specifications, but no E-Pace is poorly equipped; the list of standard kit includes a rear-view camera, a driver drowsiness monitor and automatic emergency braking.
To this you can add everything from an 825W Meridian sound system to a waterproof and shockproof ‘activity key’, which takes the form of a wristband for times when carrying a conventional key is inconvenient.
In addition, all three trim levels can be combined with an R-Dynamics pack, which brings body-hugging sports seats, gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel and a gloss black finish for the front grille, rear lower bumper and tailpipe surrounds.
Next year, the E-Pace will be followed into showrooms by the electric I-Pace SUV, which Jaguar showed in concept form at the 2016 Los Angeles motor show, and then a larger model is expected in 2020.
However, it’s the E-Pace that will remain the most affordable Jaguar SUV, and consequently it’s by far the most significant.
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