New, smaller Jaguar SUV to slot in below the F-Pace
- More stylish than all its SUV opposition
- Entry price of £28,500 makes it attainable
- A classy alternative to premium-badged rivals
- Entry-level model pricey in company car tax terms
- Its interior needed to be nicer than the F-Pace
- Will it favour handling over comfort?
The new Jaguar E-Pace joins the SUV pack, not only as the entry-level model for its maker, but also as a strong and stylish alternative to some very talented rivals. As with the rest of the Jaguar range, the E-Pace is made from aluminum, and it powered entirely by the company's efficient range of Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.
This SUV, which is a rival to the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Range Rover Evoque, is the smallest member of Jaguar’s 'Pace' family of crossovers. It will join the F-Pace and will then be supplemented by the larger I-Pace electric SUV in 2018.
What's it like inside?
It's more F-Type than F-Pace inside, which is a very good thing, and exploring pre-production models at the Frankfurt motor show suggests an uplift in material quality. It's not class-leading, but an improvement all the same.
There's a set of sporting-looking seats, and the dashboard features the passenger grab rail of the sports car, too. There's plenty of technology inside, too, with a 10-inch touchscreen for its multimedia system, and the welcome use of rotary controllers.
You get a traditional gear selector, unlike the rest of the Jaguar saloon and SUV range, which will probably help it appeal to new people coming to Jaguar. One area which Jaguar has received criticism in recent years is its interior quality, but the company says that the E-Pace is an improvement in this area. First impressions are certainly positive.
In terms of room and accommodation, it's commodious upfront, the rear seat room is acceptable, and the boot is well-shaped and offers up to 1,234 litres in capacity.
What engines does it come with?
The Jaguar E-Pace engine range starts with a 2.0-litre diesel that develops 150hp, and is mated to a – gasp – front-wheel drive transmission. Given it's a stylish family car on stilts first, all-weather SUV second, that is par for the course. It does, however, make this the only front-wheel drive car in the current Jaguar lineup.
It's efficient on paper, too. The 150hp E-Pace returns an official fuel consumption figure of 60.1mpg and develops 124g/km.
There are also 180hp and 240hp diesels on offer, but these are exclusively four-wheel drive, and are available with a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmissions.
The two petrol options are 2.0-litre turbo petrols with the range-topper offering 300hp and 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds.
How will it drive?
Clearly Jaguar is talking up the E-Pace's dynamic ability. Given the poise of the F-Pace (if it is at the expense of ride quality), we can believe that, although a final judgment will have to wait until later in the year when we give it the Parkers full review treatment.
But it's light in structure, and employs aluminium suspension components, so it certainly looks good on paper. It is also offered with adaptive dynamics, active four-wheel-drive, and torque vectoring by braking.
The most sporting version will be the R-Dynamic model. The rest of the range comprises of First Edition, S, SE and HSE. The First Edition will come with ‘Caldera Red’ paint, 20-inch alloys, a head-up display and load rails as standard.
When can I buy a Jaguar E-Pace?
The full range details are yet to be revealed, but Jaguar has announced that it will cost from £28,500, is available to order now, with first deliveries taking place 'before the end of 2017'.
If you want a Caldera Red First Edition, may we suggest you get your order in now…