With Jaguar and Land Rover a single automotive company, in the past it made sense to let both companies focus on what they do best. Jaguar to produce sleek and seductive sedans and sports cars, while Land Rover on producing some of the best SUVs and off-roaders money can buy.
However, with the SUV market skyrocketing in recent years, Jaguar couldn’t resist the pull. First there was the F-Pace in 2016 that has since gone on to become the famous brand’s best-selling car, which has now been followed-up by the E-Pace.
Jaguar sees this as the ‘cub’ of the family and aimed at the premium compact SUV market where the likes of the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and not to mention Land Rover’s own Range Rover Evoque are established names.
Don’t get confused with the name either. ‘E’ doesn’t stand for electric, you'll want the rather brilliant I-Pace if that's the case. The E-Pace instead comes with some punchy petrol engines (and diesel ones if you’re outside the US).
Jaguar E-Pace: Design
- Styling takes inspiration from Jaguar’s sports car heritage
- Little details impress as well
- Heavier than rivals
Engines: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol
Power output: 246bhp (P250 AWD) / 295bhp (P300 AWD)
Max speed: 143mph (P250 AWD) / 149mph (P300 AWD)
0-62mph: 6.7sec (P250 AWD) / 6.1sec (P300 AWD)
Fuel economy: 30.1mpg (P250 AWD) / 28.3mpg (P300 AWD)
Rather than simply scale-down the design of the F-Pace, the E-Pace styling takes inspiration from Jaguar’s sports car heritage and borrows some inspiration from the company’s F-Type sports coupe stablemate.
This doesn’t mean that Jaguar’s simply jacked-up a F-Type, but has instead utilized some nice little styling cues, including the distinctive headlights, the neat tail lights that wrap round the side and the large haunches at the rear. This is complemented by some elegant curves to produce a distinctive looking compact SUV with a purposeful stance and sporty presence.
Some other little details impress as well, including the way the front doors seal below the sills. This means that you can avoid covering your legs in dirt and mud when you climb aboard the E-Pace.
Interestingly though, despite being smaller than the F-Pace, it actually weighs about 185lbs more. This is because the E-Pace is based on the Land Rover Discovery Sport chassis which uses less aluminum in its construction. Compared to key rivals though like the Volvo XC40, it’s only about 88lbs heavier.
Jaguar E-Pace: Interior
- Tailor the driving position to suit you
- Large 10-inch infotainment system as standard
- Decent size in the rear
Step inside the E-Pace and the sporting theme continues, with the interior borrowing more inspiration from the F-Type. This sees the inclusion of a low grab rail for the passenger and a joystick-style drive selector.
You can really tailor the driving position to suit you - there’s plenty of flexibility here, so whether you want to raise it up for a more commanding view or lower it feel even more cocooned and as if you’re driving a sports car, you can.
The quality of materials employed is also on the whole, very good, with premium leathers, pleasing chrome and solid plastics used, while the controls are neatly laid out. For instance, the controls for the climate control are within easy reach and quick to use. It’s refreshingly simple compared to some of the clumsy touchscreen controls on some rivals.
Elsewhere, all E-Pace trim levels get a large 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system known as Touch Pro. We found it quick and responsive to use, while the interface itself is easy to navigate once you’ve used it a few times.
To complement the Touch Pro display, the E-Pace can be spec’d with an optional interactive driver display. This 12.3-inch screen replaces traditional dials in favor of a digital display that relays driving information as well as navigation, entertainment/media and phone input.
Something else we’d recommend selecting from the options list is the head-up display. This presents key vehicle data directly on the windshield just below the line of sight, making it easy to reference when driving and enabling you to see all driver inputs and info with ease.
Despite the sloping roofline of the E-Pace, tall adults should be able to comfortably sit in the rear, though it does compromise the trunk a little, with a capacity of 15 cubic feet. It’s decent enough, but smaller than the likes of Audi Q3’s at 18.7 cubic feet and quite a bit less than the Evoque’s 21.5 cubic feet.
Jaguar E-Pace: On the road
- Decent range of engines
- Excellent handling for an SUV
- Worth opting for Adaptive Dynamics
Prices start at $39,950 / £29,080 for the standard 2020 E-Pace, with the R-Dynamic model starting at $46,600 / $36,800. There’s also a Chequered Flag special edition starting at $46,400 / £40,800. Compared to other premium compact SUV rivals, the E-Pace does cost a little more, but owners can expect to see the E-Pace hold its value a little better.
The E-Pace is available with two 2.0-liter petrol engines in the US, the P250 and P300 with 246bhp and 295bhp respectively, and both come with four-wheel drive. Outside of the US and there’s also a lower-powered P200 petrol unit available, as well as a range of 2.0-liter diesel units.
We’d plump for the P250 over the P300 - you’re not losing out that much in straight-line acceleration (it’s less than a second to 60mph), and it’s that bit more economical.
The E-Pace features an auto transmission, but should you want to take control yourself, Jaguar’s equipped the E-Pace with some nice alloy paddle shifters either side of the steering wheel. This means you can change up or down yourself and while certainly nice to have, we reckon that for most of your driving you’ll rely on the car to make the decisions.
As you’d expect for a Jaguar, the handling is pretty much on point here. While you have the commanding driving position of an SUV, the E-Pace feels very unSUV-like to drive. Nice and stable, it's much more car-like one the road, while the E-Pace’s steering is both accurate and responsive, with a decent amount of grip from the tires when cornering.
The payoff though is that you can experience a slightly firm ride, so selecting Adaptive Dynamics from the options list is recommended. Adaptive Dynamics offers greater comfort and agility and sees the E-Pace altering damping rates every 10-milliseconds for a better handling response and body control.
Jaguar E-Pace: Verdict
Volvo's more affordable XC40 and the E-Pace’s own stablemate, the Range Rover Evoque prove very stiff competition, but the E-Pace still has a lot to offer.
It certainly has some of the most desirable styling in its class that's complemented by decent build quality, while it has a comfy and well-appointed interior. It should also hold its value better than a lot of the competition.
Some other rivals do a lot of what the E-Pace does well (and better in some cases), but what makes the E-Pace standout from the crowd is its excellent handing (for an SUV), delivering a much more satisfying driving experience over many rivals.