Although it debuted back in Autumn 2017, this is our first chance to get our hands on Jaguar’s new SUV – the E-Pace – and it has a lot to live up to following the lauded arrival of the larger F-Pace back in 2016.
The E-Pace’s trims are split into two families – E-Pace and E-Pace R-Dynamic – and we drove the S version from the latter, which from the outside looks more dynamic and offers more interesting features.
But with the F-Pace doing such a good job as Jaguar’s first SUV, can the difficult second album be as good and offer the same levels of enjoyment and driving feel? We find out…
The E-Pace we tested was fitted with a 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium petrol engine that produced 295bhp – making it the most powerful model in the range. All of that is driven through a four-wheel drive system paired to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Along with the engine producing 400Nm, all of that combines for a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 151mph.
As a petrol, emissions are slightly raised when compared to the equivalent diesel in the line-up, but efficiency isn’t bad at all for a large petrol-powered vehicle – with the R-Dynamic S achieving a quoted 35.3.mpg. The top diesel does consume its fuel more frugally, however, as it can achieve 45.6mpg. Emissions are also in favour of the diesel, as it emits 162g/km compared to the petrol’s 181g/km.
Ride & Handling
Like with most other Jaguar models, it has a more dynamic feel than other competitors in its sector – even with the extra heft compared to other Jaguars. It has well-weighted steering so you feel confident in placing it on the road and it rides well when in the cruise, too. Slow speeds are an issue however, as with the larger 20-inch alloys specced on our E-Pace it felt uncomfortable and you could feel every part of the road as you went over it in the cabin.
The petrol engine’s pick up is good, even if the turbo can suffer from lag every now and again, and the automatic nine-speed gearbox works very smoothly in auto mode. But when switched to manual mode it can feel sluggish. The main issue was the ride, however, so we’d suggest choosing a smaller alloy wheel for better comfort.
Interior & Equipment
The E-Pace is a familiar place to be if you have driven a modern Jaguar. Focused around the driver’s seat for an involved drive and easy to adjust, the E-Pace has a dynamic feel to join the rest of the Jaguar range and is perfectly liveable. It also has a good interior finish, thanks to high quality materials being used throughout the interior, and all the equipment and fittings feel sturdy and well-made so it can last.
With the model aimed at younger families, you will be glad to hear that the rear seat and boot space is ample to say the least. The back bench offers good legroom for all but the tallest of occupants, and the boot offers 425 litres in the normal configuration. With the rear seats folded down, you’re at 1234 litres of space, which is impressive for a small SUV.
As it came in the R-Dynamic S spec, the E-Pace we tested came with a lot of quality kit – although many of that does come as standard. A 10-inch infotainment display, two-zone climate control and Bluetooth are all a standard throughout the range, while a sporty bodykit, black gloss detailing and sports seats complete the overall look of the S.
To show off what the E-Pace could offer, the version we drove also came with heated and cooled memory seats, which were a £1,125 option.
The base price for the E-Pace range is £28,500, which when compared to premium rivals is quite reasonable indeed when you consider what equipment you get as standard. But as standard, the R-Dynamic S model came in at £41,510 before you add any other equipment and that is quite a sum to stomach.
The top-end petrol can seem quite economical as it offers a quoted 35.3mpg, but the equivalent diesel in the range comes in with a 45.6mpg – so may be the smarter option in the long run.
Although there are some downsides to the E-Pace, it has plenty of good features to make it a worthy competitor in the premium SUV market. It is certainly one of the more attractive options in the current market and comes with a lot of good equipment as standard. But in the spec we tested, the prices are a little steep, so watch out when looking into the E-Pace. For what it’s worth, this car is as good in a lower trim as it is in the R-Dynamic S spec, so you could save money for a similar feel.