Jaguar E-Pace Review

The Jaguar E-Pace is the prestigious British marque's smallest SUV. It has been with us since 2017 and has seen considerable success as an alternative to other premium compact SUVs such as the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Volvo XC40, as well as the ubiquitous Range Rover Evoque, with which the E-Pace shares some of its underpinnings. Further up the Jaguar range you will find the F-Pace and the all-electric I-Pace, but this baby Jaguar SUV has a character all of its own, with a cheeky face and an attractive profile.

Jaguar has announced its intention to go completely electric by 2025 which will see a fair pace of change, but in the meantime the E-Pace offers a range of excellent petrol and diesel engines, several of which have mild hybrid technology, and also the Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) P300E. We will look at all these in more detail during this Jaguar E-Pace review.

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Jaguar E-Pace Design

The Jaguar E-Pace has been designed to look a little different to the rest of the range, which makes it appear young and playful in comparison. Other cars in the Jaguar range such as the F-Pace and XE have narrow and angular headlights, but the bubble-shaped headlights on the E-Pace seem to give it a more cheerful expression.

Otherwise, the E-Pace shares the family look, with a high shoulder line and a curved rear end which is reminiscent of the larger F-Pace. It has a sporty and athletic design, and looks smart and sophisticated on the road.

Interior

The Jaguar E-Pace has recently had some interior updates which have brought it a little more upmarket and up to date with some of its rivals, particularly some of its German SUV competitors. The infotainment has been upgraded to Jaguar's new Pivi Pro system, and the interior build quality has also gone up a notch as Jaguar has installed some of its newer materials to level up the E-Pace with the rest of the range. The standard of materials isn't quite as nice as some of the Jaguar's peers, but it does feel suitably luxurious and hi-tech, which is very becoming of a Jag.

Style

You will feel nicely encapsulated when you clamber up into the Jaguar E-Pace. The high window line and tall transmission tunnel make you feel part of the car, while the high driver's seat gives you a good view of the road around you; the driving position is noticeable higher than on many other compact SUVs. The chunky sports steering wheel is nice to hold, and the stubby automatic gear selector has a satisfyingly solid movement. If you opt for it or choose a higher-spec E-Pace you will get the digital dash display as well, which looks smart.

The 11.4-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen is quick and responsive to touch. Thankfully, Jaguar has resisted the urge to move all the controls into this system like other cars have, with conventional heater controls and other buttons in abundance that prevent you having to search through menus to turn on the heated seats.

Comfort

Jaguar is known for comfortable seats and the E-Pace is no different, with multi-adjustable seats which are electrically operated in S models and above. All the controls are within reach and are easy to use, so you are never unduly distracted from focusing on driving.

Headroom is reasonable in both the front and the rear, with the rear seats tipped back to keep even taller rear passengers from bumping their head on the roof. This is fairly impressive given the design of the E-Pace, which slopes sharply downwards at the rear towards the C-pillars.

The Jaguar E-Pace is intended to be a sporty car so the road handling is quite sharp and taut. This can make it a bit fidgety on rougher road surfaces and it can crash into potholes. However, with the firm ride as a starting point, larger wheels have little effect on the driving experience, so you can happily specify the big wheels without worrying about any detriment to ride comfort. As a taller car there is some wind noise at higher speed, but otherwise the cabin is hushed and well-damped.

Practicality

The rear seats of the Jaguar E-Pace are fairly practical, with a 40/20/40 split as standard. However, that is broadly where the innovation ends, with some other rivals offering more in the way of sliding or removable rear seats.

The rear load area is nice and square which is helpful for loading bulky luggage, and owners will appreciate that there is no loading lip, so heavy items will slide right in. Some of the Jaguar's rivals have a little more space, but the available room in the E-Pace is more than enough, especially if you fold the rear seats down.

There are a smattering of storage cubbies and cupholders dotted around the cabin, which is suitably useful for storing odds and ends. The door pockets are also fairly wide and will swallow a large bottle of drink without much complaint.

Performance and Engine Options

The Jaguar E-Pace SUV comes equipped with a good range of engine units which should suit the tastes of most buyers. It has two diesel options and three petrol variants at present.

The entry-level diesel unit is the 2.0 litre turbocharged D165, which has 160bhp and accelerates from 0-60mph in 9.5 seconds, in return for decent fuel economy of around 45mpg. This version comes as a front-wheel drive with a manual gearbox. If you can find an extra £4,000 you can have an automatic gearbox, all-wheel drive and mild hybrid technology included.

Most Jaguar E-Pace diesel buyers are likely to go for the more capable and flexible D200 MHEV, which has 200bhp and reaches 60mph in a much brisker 7.9 seconds. This comes with an automatic gearbox and four wheel drive as standard, and it doesn't cost that much more than the D165 equivalent. For its similar 43mpg return it will be the better option for most people.

The entry-level petrol version of the Jaguar E-Pace is the P250, which offers 245bhp from its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The 0-60mph sprint is dealt with in a swift 7 seconds, but is noticeably thirstier than the diesels, returning 31mpg.

The next version up is the P300 MHEV, returning just under 300bhp and reaching 60mph in 6.6 seconds. Fuel economy is just under the 30mpg mark.

For the ultimate blend of economy and performance, look to the P300e PHEV, with plug-in hybrid technology which promises up to 197mpg and a rapid 6.1 seconds 0-60 sprint from its 305bhp combination of a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. This does come at a significantly higher price, but company car buyers and environmentally conscious owners will get economical benefits from it.

Jaguar E-Pace Trim Levels

The Jaguar E-Pace is currently offered in three trim levels when ordered as a brand new car.

The base model Jaguar E-Pace SUV is the R-Dynamic, although "base model" is perhaps a bit unkind because this car is fairly well-equipped as standard. It comes with LED headlights, a heated windscreen and washer jets, heated electric folding wing mirrors, a tailgate spoiler, 18" alloy wheels, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the excellent Pivi Pro infotainment and navigation system.

The mid-range R-Dynamic Black adds rear privacy glass, a panoramic glass roof, and gloss black bodywork highlights. It also has 19" dark grey alloy wheels, black interior headlining, adaptive cruise control and extra driving aids including configurable dynamics and all-surface progress control.

The 300 Sport features premium LED headlights with animated indicators and auto high beam, 21" alloy wheels, adaptive dynamics, extra driver assistance features, and the excellent Meridian sound system. It also has keyless entry and a powered tailgate for extra convenience.

Reliability and Safety

The E-Pace scored a full five stars in its 2017 Euro NCAP crash test, with decent results for occupant safety, child safety, pedestrian safety and safety assistance technology.

This is overall a good car in terms of safety but can always be enhanced if you choose some extras from the options list or specify a higher trim. It has automatic emergency braking (AEB), ABS, rear ISOFIX child seat mounting points and a brace of airbags as standard, but you can get extra optional features including blind spot assist, rear collision and traffic monitors, and other driver assist packages.

Jaguar's Ingenium engines are well regarded for reliability, but as always make sure you get the car serviced on time and take care of wearables and consumables including oil, brakes and tyres. There have been some reports of electrical gremlins, but these should be taken care of by the comprehensive manufacturer's warranty.

Prices

You can get yourself into a Jaguar E-Pace for a princely £36,915 for an R-Dynamic model with the D165 FWD engine. This rises to £41,785 for an R-Dynamic Black, which has the pricier D165 AWD MHEV as its entry point. The P250 starts at £45,060 in R-Dynamic spec, and the P300e PHEV from £47,520. The P300 Sport is £47,805. Some of these figures sound rather chunky at first glance, but there are usually some reasonable finance and lease deals on the market.

Do bear in mind that these are the on the road prices for a standard model, before you start browsing the extensive options list, so expect to pay a fair bit more if you start ticking boxes.

Summary

It is a good sign that Jaguar has equipped the E-Pace with a plug-in hybrid power model and upgraded the cabin in its mid-life facelift, which show that this car should be around for a few years to come. We may see an all-electric SUV version of the Jaguar E-Pace in future as Jaguar invests in electric technology, but for now we will watch this space.

The E-Pace is an entertaining compact SUV with a pleasant driving experience and a good amount of space for four adults and their luggage. It represents a good contender in the compact SUV sector, as a capable alternative to the Range Rover Evoque and BMW X1.

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