THERE’S a big clue to the thinking behind the Jaguar E-Pace within touching distance of your left hand.

The theatrical rising rotary drive selector has been replaced with a traditional automatic shift lever.

It’s only a small detail, but points to the sporting intent.

A seriously smart compact SUV, the E-Pace has been designed and engineered to be beautiful, fun, sporty and clever. It is also charged with introducing new customers to the brand.

With a sporting silhouette, it takes its inspiration from the Jaguar F-Type sports car and outshines rivals such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

It’s all about being bold, and your eyes are soon drawn to the headlights that stretch back into the bonnet and the tapering side windows. Look at those muscular haunches, too.

And when you step inside you find an interior that’s been detailed to the tiniest degree to be practical, connected and quite simply a lovely place to be behind the wheel or in a passenger seat.

Design director Ian Callum was keen to inject an attitude into his creation and has succeeded in not only fostering a balance of masculinity and femininity but also ensuring the car is sensuous, muscular and curvaceous at the same time.

There’s also some very clever all-wheel drive technology called Active Driveline. During steady state cruising, it disengages the AWD system, sending power only to the front axle, increasing fuel efficiency. The system can re-engage AWD seamlessly within just 300 milliseconds (0.3 seconds) when a change in driving conditions is detected.

The technology ensures all four wheels are engaged whenever needed – pulling away from rest, accelerating sharply around a corner or when poor driving conditions are detected. When Eco mode is selected using the JaguarDrive controller, the disconnect thresholds are revised to optimise fuel efficiency but in rain, ice and snow and dynamic modes, all-wheel drive is always on. Active Driveline is available on the 300PS petrol version and the 240PS diesel variant tested here

The inside of Jaguar’s new cub offers a sense of command and control; dominant of the road, in touch with the car and spoiled with a quality of design and execution not seen before in this segment. Mixing premium leathers and technical surfaces picked up by contrast stitching and personalisable interior lighting, the E-Pace is beautifully packaged.

If it looks like a Jaguar, it should drive like a Jaguar. The E-Pace won’t disappoint anyone here – it’s a Jaguar to its very core.

The adaptive dynamics system is capable of adjusting the E-PACE’s damper settings every 10 milliseconds, reducing body roll and immediately prepping the vehicle for poor or no-road use as soon as a change in conditions is detected.

The E-Pace is available with a choice of two Si4 Ingenium petrol units delivering 249PS or 300PS. Both come with twin-scroll turbocharging, delivering faster throttle responses and virtually eliminating turbo lag.

Customers have a choice of three diesel options: a highly efficient 150PS Td4 unit, a more powerful 180PS Sd4 option and, at the top end, a high-performance 240PS Sd4 version producing 500Nm of torque.

The E-Pace has a range of up to three new visual interfaces. Most dominant is the new 10-inch Touch Pro tablet, which allows you to touch, pinch, zoom and scroll through all your contacts, music, vehicle and navigation options. Meanwhile non-traditionalists can opt to have their analogue instruments replaced with a digital screen – a 12.3-inch, fully-configurable TFT panel. The third option is Jaguar’s most advanced head-up display, a TFT-powered, LED-illuminated, full-colour widescreen system capable of displaying more information with greater clarity directly in the driver’s line of sight.

There’s more clever stuff on the safety front, with a range of options including blind spot assist and autonomous emergency braking powered by cameras that will trigger steering or brake interventions to keep you out of harm’s way. The same systems power the E-Pace’s optional adaptive cruise control with queue assist to keep you a safe distance from the vehicle in front and park assist that takes over the steering function entirely in tight parking manoeuvres.

On the practical front, there is a cavernous 8.4-litre central stowage compartment between the front seats that will swallow two one-litre water bottles with space left over for smartphones and tablets-on-charge.

And it doesn’t stop there. There are another 10 litres of space in the glovebox and almost the same in the two front door bins. In the boot there’s 577 litres of luggage space, or the equivalent of six carry-on cases. That’s with the rear seats in place.

Fold them and the space more than triples to 1,234 litres. Fold the narrower of the 40:60 split seats and there’s room for 1.6-metre-long objects as well as two passengers.

Both the E-Pace and E-Pace R-Dynamic are available with S, SE and HSE specification packs.


Jaguar E-Pace Diesel HSE R-Dynamic

Price: from £48,650

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel producing 240PS

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic driving all wheels

Performance: 0 to 60mph in 7.0 seconds; top speed 139mph

Economy: 45.6mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 162g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: *****

Security/Safety: *****

Value For Money: ****