Zeitgeisty SUV is a good looker, but disappointing elsewhere
- More stylish than opposition
- Low, attainable entry price
- A classy premium alternative
- Entertaining to drive
- Expensive as a company car
- Pricey upper trims
- Handling favoured over comfort
- Weight dents performance and economy
The Jaguar E-Pace joins the SUV pack as a strong and stylish alternative to some very talented rivals. As with the rest of the Jaguar range, the E-Pace is made (largely) from aluminum, and it powered entirely by Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.
A rival to the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Range Rover Evoque, the E-Pace 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, with an uplift in material quality. It's still 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, 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 E-Pace is an improvement in this area.
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 a 249hp version and the range-topper offering 300hp and 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds.
How does it drive?
The Jaguar E-Pace is a resolutely sporty drive, with a firm ride that endows it with a strong resistance to bodyroll.
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.
The Parkers Verdict
The small SUV market is an increasingly crowded place and as such the Jaguar E-Pace needs to offer more than just sharp driving and sharper looks to stand out.
We love the way the E-Pace looks and steers but have not been set alight but the engines on offer, or the frankly eye-watering price of some of the upper-tier models.
That said, the E-Pace is a new model and it still feels like there is more to come from it. We'll be watching this particular car with great interest as it ages.