Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6
  • Driver-focused cockpit
  • Inspired by F-Type interior
  • Nice finish spoiled by cheap detailing

The E-Pace’s cockpit is a similar layout to the F-Type’s and looks quite clean and uncluttered, with many functions taken care of by the improved central infotainment set-up. There are still some physical controls for the important functions like the air-conditioning, which is a positive in our book. A central grab-handle divides the dashboard into wraparound driver and separate passenger zones, and on the whole, the materials used are plush and nice to look at.

Whether or not you pick the 12.3-inch digital dials and full colour head-up display, all of the information and controls for the E-Pace are pointed inwards to the driver. The wheel itself contains a lot of buttons for things like menu selection and cruise control, while a stick-type gearshifter is used rather than the more normal Jaguar rotary dial.

Disappointingly, there are still some cheap plastics littering the cabin – and you don't have to go far to look for them. If you prod for the start button and miss it, you'll be touching a dashboard panel made from cheap and nasty plastic not befitting a premium-badged product.

Entry-level models can also look a little sombre in here from the lack of colours and limited types of materials used, while the darker areas contrast badly with the brighter-coloured trim panels - such as the grey shiny plastic against the plush-looking seats.

There are hints of space constraints in here, too, with the tiny window and mirror switches almost buried out of the way into a cramped location on the doors that’s difficult to access. The stop-start, ESC and drive mode buttons are also tiny and appear to be an afterthought.

Otherwise the seating position is comfortable, and while the view out towards the rear of the car is a little restricted, the view out is good elsewhere.

Comfort

  • Harsh ride on standard dampers
  • Big wheels don’t help in this regard
  • Adaptive dampers worth considering

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 firm, 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…

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. The E-Pace seems to have been set-up to drive brilliantly on B-roads as a priority. As such, the firm standard suspension is made worse if you get tempted into paying extra for larger wheels. There's every chance you will want to do this as they make a dramatic improvement to the E-Pace's style.

Things improve if you opt for optional adaptive dampers. They're effective at making the car much less fidgety and uncomfortable, but you will have ended up laying out quite a bit more cash than originally intended. Sadly there's no real middle ground to get the best of both worlds, unless you're happy to plump for a standard setup and make do with the firmer suspension. It's far from uncomfortable, but just isn't as relaxed around town than a Volvo XC40 or Audi Q3, for example. 

The good news is that all seats available in the E-Pace are comfortable, compensating for the car's firmer ride. They offer plenty of adjustment and you feel cocooned in the interior of the car. Refinement isn't too bad either - it's only if you opt for those larger wheels when a bit more noise makes its way into the cabin. 

Plenty of cabin space up front

You can tell Jaguar’s designers were thinking about passenger comfort when they sketched out the interior of the E-Pace thanks to simple things like providing a USB charging point for each person. This isn’t a huge SUV so front seat passengers naturally do better for room, but those in the back aren’t short changed thanks to extra space liberated by scalloped seat backs.

We found those fitted with a panoramic roof to be a bit noisy on the move and the Ingenium diesel engines make their presence felt when pushed hard. The seats are firm and supportive, encouraging good posture rather than letting you slouch into them, which is actually quite advantageous on a long journey.

Those sat in the back get their own air vents and USB ports, with just enough comfort for a long-distance journey. That said, they'll be far more happy sat in the back of an Audi Q3, which also has a reclining backrest.