Ad closing in a few seconds...
Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6
  • Lots of choice in diesel or petrol
  • Frugal or high-power choices
  • No hybrid or electric model though

The Jaguar E-Pace comes with six different petrol and diesel power outputs, plus a choice of six-speed manual and nine-speed automatic gearboxes, and front or all-wheel drive.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds though – all E-Pace cars are powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, and there’s currently no hybrid or electric version.

Ingenium diesel engines

There are three choices here named after their power outputs – the closely matched D150 and D180 plus the high-power D240. Kicking things off, the D150 is the only two-wheel drive E-Pace available, and this comes with a manual gearbox. It develops 150hp at 3,500rpm and 380Nm at 1,750rpm, which is good for a 9.5 second 0-62mph time. You can also select this motor with all-wheel drive, although this is half a second slower in the benchmark sprint whether you have it with the manual or automatic gearbox.

Next up is the more powerful D180, which makes its peak power at 4,000rpm, and 430Nm of torque at 1,750rpm. It’s a tenth faster than the D150 from 0-62mph in manual form, but the auto ‘box takes 8.6 seconds, which is quite a bit quicker. The D180 tops out at 128/127mph depending on transmission. Despite being a reasonably new engine the D180 is quite gruff in voice, especially when worked hard, although undeniably effective in its power delivery. Jaguar reckons this output will be the most popular thanks to its extra power over the D150 with seemingly no extra running costs.

2019 Jaguar E-Pace Yulong White

Finally there’s the D240, which is AWD and automatic only, boasting a 6.8-second 0-62mph time thanks to a twin-turbocharged 500Nm at 1,500rpm and peak power at 4,000rpm. This engine sounds like a great all-rounder. 

Stat fans note the Jaguar’s 139mph top speed and 7.4-second claim for the 0-62mph sprint – it’s amply swift, but slower on paper than both of the petrol alternatives.

The 2.0-litre diesel feels more consistent and linear in its power delivery than its petrol twin, making it easier to live with whether you’re plying a motorway or exploring windy B-roads. Consequently it’s more of a relaxing experience, even with the quicker-responding accelerator settings in Dynamic mode. Comfort feels more like its natural sweet spot, though, and in this mode the standard nine-speed automatic feels more harmonious. Yes, there are paddles for gear-changing behind the steering wheel, but it’s more than happy doing its own thing in fully automatic mode.

The 2.0-litre diesel in its most powerful form feels the best fit for the E-Pace. Despite its compact size, the E-Pace is actually quite heavy, and it feels it. So the hefty 500Nm torque figure is more than welcome in this car, and makes for a smooth and relaxed power delivery thanks to the slick automatic gearbox. 

Caesium Blue Jaguar E-Pace 2019

Ingenium petrol engines

There are three choices here and they’re all AWD and auto ‘box only, kicking off with the P200. This makes its peak power at 5,500rpm and 320Nm at 1,250rpm, which means a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds, and a top speed of 134mph.

Despite its name the P250 only makes 249hp at 5,500rpm, and 365Nm at 1,350rpm. It’s faster than the most powerful diesel with a 6.7-second 0-62mph time and 143mph top speed.

Top of the bill however is the P300, which cracks the sprint in 6.4 seconds and goes on to 149mph, thanks to 400Nm at 1,500rpm and 300hp at 5,500rpm. As it stands this is the closest thing Jaguar makes to a hot hatch, although the weight of the E-Pace means it doesn’t accelerate quite like a similarly powerful VW Golf R. The P300 unit is used in the F-Type where it sounds a little more characterful – here the E-Pace is quite gravelly but not as aurally exciting as in the sportscar.

Slip the E-Pace into its Dynamic drive mode, with a more responsive throttle, and that rush of energy comes on suddenly as the revs approach 2,000rpm, resulting in a shove of acceleration; fine on a long straight, but less than ideal on a windy stretch of back road where it charges forward just as you need to begin braking. Conversely it feels more pliable left in the Comfort setting. One of the downsides of leaving it in Comfort is that the petrol motor’s uncanny ability to sound diesely becomes more obvious – again a switch back to Dynamic mode pipes a rortier, more muscular note through the E-Pace’s speakers.

Handling

  • Firm and sporty suspension
  • Resists bodyroll well in corners
  • Surprisingly good off-road too

The Jaguar E-Pace is based on the same oily bits as the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport – a chassis that goes back in one form or another to the previous Ford Mondeo. That means it’s not as light as JLR’s newer all-aluminium underpinnings and as a result the E-Pace weighs in quite a bit heavier than its rivals. It’s surprising therefore how tidy the small SUV’s body control is, and how much grip is offered up by the all-wheel drive system, where fitted.

Despite its surprising green-laning ability, asphalt – and perhaps gravel driveways – will be under the E-Pace’s wheels the vast majority of the time, and here Jaguar’s subscribed to the modern mantra of sportiness, rather than the peerless comfort one associates with its older models.

Caesium Blue Jaguar E-Pace cornering 2019

Few new to the marque are likely to care much, and will instead be pleased with how well-composed their E-Pace is through sweeping bends. We’re not talking a high-riding sports car here – and more’s the pity – but for well-heeled customers looking for something sporty-ish with a family-friendly wrapping it's more than acceptable. It doesn't feel too big and bulky on the move and the weighty steering inspires confidence through a series of corners. 

It’s agile, amplified by well-controlled body movements and roll through corners that’s kept neatly in check, and the steering’s quick to respond through corners, ably assisted by electronics that adjust the power flow to the rear wheels, ensuring a tight line is maintained most of the time.

Pity there’s not more communication about what the front axle is up to through the steering wheel, but there’s enough traction for it to be predictable and confidence-building. Most E-Pace buyers are expected to be new to the brand, but that smaller proportion of marque loyalists are likely to be confused by the un-Jaguar-like ride quality – that’s assuming they’ve got past the notion of a small SUV with a growler badge on the grille in the first place…

Jaguae E-Pace 2019 side profile

Ride quality on the optional 20-inch wheels – S grade E-Pace wheels are 18s as standard – is firm, but never too harsh, however it might be a bit too fidgety for some around town. There’s an optional adaptive suspension set-up available which reintroduces comfort into the handling equilibrium - it's effective but we're not sure it's worth paying the extra cash for.

Specific suspension set up

While the basic architecture isn’t new, the E-Pace does feature some model specific suspension componentry including a compact rear axle plus stiff bushes and antiroll bars. Never mind what this all is – the result means the E-Pace is sharp and agile on the road but rides quite firmly, especially when fitted with big wheels. We haven’t sampled the adaptive dampers yet but Jaguar promises less bodyroll and a more balanced ride, plus better comfort.

Configurable Dynamics

All E-Pace models come with the Drive Control system, which has four drive modes including Normal, Dynamic, ECO plus Rain, Ice and Snow. Helping to tailor the E-Pace’s handling is the optional Configurable Dynamics package – this gives you a special page on the touchscreen where you can alter the throttle, steering and transmission.

This system also configures the adaptive suspension, where fitted.

Active Driveline all-wheel drive

All E-Paces except for the D150 model come with all-wheel drive, but there are actually two types of AWD drivetrain you can choose from. The standard car has a typical Haldex-based system (like most part time all-wheel drive cars), which powers the front wheels until slip is detected, when it can shift engine torque rearwards. This is available on the D150, D180 and P250 – the top diesel and petrol engines use a more sophisticated Active Driveline, with a similar rear differential to the Range Rover Evoque or Ford Focus RS.

As such it can direct up to 100% of that torque to either rear wheel to ensure maximum cornering control in inclement conditions.

2019 Jaguar E-Pace off-road

All Surface Progress Control

An optional low-speed cruise control used for off-roading and other low-traction situations – All Surface Progress Control makes the most of the grip available, letting you concentrate on steering. The system takes over the engine and brakes and can be set between 1-18mph, to maintain a comfortable, steady speed on inclines and descents. We tested this system off-road and found it delivered a fuss-free and effortless drive on some pretty tricky terrain.

If the very idea of a Jaguar SUV makes you shudder (and if it does then get used to the idea quickly because the range has got further expansion to go yet), then the notion of taking a Jag off-road must seem preposterous.

Of course, few E-Pace owners are likely to venture too far from the black top with their steeds, despite much of the car’s hardware being developed from its Range Rover Evoque cousin. But, if you do fancy a bit of adventure, then be safe in the knowledge that it’s satisfyingly capable.

Okay, you’re hardly likely to tackle much beyond the foothills of Snowdon, but the electronically controlled four-wheel drive system meters out the power where traction is most likely to result in motion. Naturally, the D240’s rich seam of torque is a useful accomplice here.

A variety of wet, rocky and gravelly inclines and descents proved no problem for the E-Pace on test, although a lack of forward visibility as you crest peaky summits leaves something to be desired.