It is telling of just how dominant SUVs have become that even Jaguar, a company renowned for its saloons and sports cars, predicts its best selling model will soon be a family-sized crossover that shares its core underpinnings with a Land Rover.
That car is the E-Pace, which stormed into the new car market at the beginning of 2018 as a rival to the Volvo XC40, BMW X1 and Audi Q3. In other words it’s a premium-badged crossover designed to capitalise on the market’s insatiable appetite for SUVs of all sizes. As a side note, while most E-Paces are four-wheel drive, it is also available in front-wheel-drive form, making it the first Jaguar to be offered as such since the Ford Mondeo-based X-type of 2001.
As you’d expect of a modern Jaguar, the E-Pace is a striking piece of design, different enough from the company’s larger F-Pace SUV to have its own visual identity, but still a Jaguar through and through. The same goes for the interior layout, which borrows a fair few themes from the F-Type sports car – and to good effect. Admittedly, Audi isn’t going to be losing any sleep for fear Jaguar has eclipsed it for interior quality, but the E-Pace is still a very pleasant place to cover miles, as well as packed with practical storage spaces.
What’s more, if you’ve ever been tempted by the company’s XE saloon only to find the interior too cramped then the E-Pace won’t disappoint. This is a much roomier car, with loads of space for a couple of child seats or tall passengers in the back, and a boot that pretty much matches the XC40’s in terms of capacity if not useful features.
UNDER THE BONNET
Regardless of what E-Pace takes your fancy, it’ll be powered by a 2.0-litre engine from Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Ingenium’ family. This could be diesel or petrol and have a power output ranging from 148bhp to 297bhp, while gearbox options are a six-speed manual or an automatic with no fewer than nine gears.
Jaguar’s latest diesel unit is a smooth performer, and even in entry-level 148bhp guise pulls keenly enough to make the E-Pace feel brisk if not outright fast. On the petrol front meanwhile the 247bhp P250 can get from 0-62mph in 7 seconds, while in the 297bhp P300 the same sprint takes just 6.4 seconds.
It requires only a short time behind the wheel to appreciate that Jaguar has set the E-Pace up to be a much sportier drive than most other SUVs too. The steering is sharp and weighty, the body stays flat when you corner and the whole car positively spears into corners. To make this possible in such a tall vehicle has necessitated equipping the E-Pace with fairly firm suspension, but if want a compact SUV that thinks it’s a sports car and can live with the busy ride then this is the one to have.
The core E-Pace range is divided into standard, R-Dynamic, and (for the first year of production) First Edition trim levels. You’ll find examples of all three for sale on CarGurus, with the gadget count improving the higher you go.
It’s also worth being aware that Jaguar offers specification packs branded as S, SE and HSE. Depending which you choose, these add extras such as larger alloy wheels, leather seats, a powered boot lid and keyless entry to the already generous equipment list.
Connectivity is generally very good, with all cars featuring a 10-inch Touch Pro central touchscreen through which you can access many of your smartphone’s features by using Jaguar’s own app. Just be aware that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not supported.
BUYING A USED E-PACE
While there is an undeniable thrill to specifying a new car to your precise your requirements, it is equally true to say that waiting months for it to turn up can be a touch frustrating. Buy a used car and the opposite is true, with the potential for not finding the exact combination of features you’re after tempered by the instant gratification of being able to drive it off the forecourt as soon as the paperwork is complete. Plus you’ll save a little bit of money in the process (it really is a little bit at present however, so in demand is the E-Pace).
Being such a new entrant to the used car market you’ll struggle to find an E-Pace with more than 10,000 miles on the clock, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t already a few from which to choose of both petrol and diesel varieties. All should of course still qualify for their original manufacturer warranty too, which means that if the car develops a fault within the first three years of its life a Jaguar dealer will fix it free of charge.
Shopping for a new vehicle?
Bring along CarGurus’ mobile app to help check prices, find good deals, and research cars on your smartphone.