Jaguar’s medium-sized F-Pace, its first foray into the SUV market, has been a big success and the last time we checked, it was the top selling model from the famed UK automaker. It’s a very logical move, then, to follow up with a compact SUV as this is the hottest-selling market segment when it comes to SUVs and crossovers. Jaguar’ response is the smaller E-Pace model and it starts out at a very competitive entry-level price. There are three basic versions of this product, the least expensive of which priced at an attractive $42,700 with a very generous equipment level.
Smaller that the E-Pace is compared to its larger stablemate, the vehicle is far from being a bare bones product with a stripped-down level of luxury and engineering. It looks and feels very much like the bigger vehicle and has just about the same level of opulence. It’s a Jaguar in every respect. By comparison, the E-pace is slightly bigger than three key competitors – The BMW X2, the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes GLA. It’s a tad smaller than the rival BMW X-3.
The E-Pace uses similar styling cues to the F-Pace but takes a more sporty approach with coupe-like lines. It’s fairly low and sleek with neatly streamlined LED lighting front and rear. The black egg-crate grille follows Jaguar’s current trend and has the maker’s badge prominently at its centre. It’s a tidy, uncluttered looking compact and makes no use of gimmicky features to spoil its svelte lines. Very large alloy wheels set it off nicely.
All variants use a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine but there are two variations on offer, one delivering 246-horsepower and the other, 296-horsepower. Even the smaller engine offers a lot of power for a rig in this class. Transmission is a 9-speed automatic that shifts smoothly and efficiently.
The interior can only be described as “very Jaguar,” but much of the styling was planned to attract younger drivers who are often very design conscious when it comes to the compact luxury SUV field. It’s very “driver focused,” which is what most manufacturers in the class aim for. It’s a roomy vehicle, possible one of the best in its class, and with the rear seats folded down, there’s almost 1,500-litres of cargo space. Even with the rear 60/40 seatbacks in place for a full passenger load, there’s a generous amount of space back there.
Many of the engineering features of the E-Pace were inspired by the Range Rover Evoque, produced, of course, by Jaguar’s sister automaker. This means that it draws on a lengthy history of four-wheel drive and as any Land Rover enthusiast will tell you “nobody does it better.”
Combine this kind of technology with Jaguar’s legendary sportiness and you have a compact SUV that should sell very strongly despite intensive competition. Whether it will outdo the hugely successful F-Pace remains to be seen, but it’s certainly in with a chance.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Compact 5-seat performance SUV
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 7-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.3-litres/100 km highway; 11.2-litres/100 km city.
PRICE: Base MSRP, $42,700