The E-Pace is diminutive when compared with the F-Pace, and it doesn’t look much like it. It has more in common with the Range Rover Evoque, because it uses the same chassis. There are other Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) models rolled into the mix, too. The new SUV’s headlights are reminiscent of the two-seater Jaguar F-Type, possibly hinting at the athletic potential of the E-Pace.
There are two petrols and three diesels on offer. I drove the most potent diesel, the D240 twin turbo. As the numbers in its name suggest, the SUV churns out 240PS, and it’s fitted with an automatic transmission and fourwheel drive only.
There are a couple of model lineups: regular and R-Dynamic; the latter of which gets twin tailpipes, front fog lights and body-coloured door cladding. Then there are four trim levels within each range. I drove the ‘S’ trim in R-Dynamic form, which boasts fat alloys, navigation, electrically adjustable front seats and leather upholstery. Behind the wheel, the E-Pace’s steering weights up well at speed and it feels planted, inspiring confidence in corners. Zero to 62mph is achieved in 7.4 seconds and the top speed is 139mph. The jewel in the E-Pace’s crown is its ride quality. The car feels refined on every road surface, behaving better than an SUV has any entitlement to. Potholes are soaked up so well that there are times when you wonder if the Jaguar has metamorphised into a hovercraft.
The E-Pace’s ZF nine-speed automatic ’box changes smoothly, and on the R-Dynamic, gearshift paddles make things more fun. Rather than staying in ‘auto’ mode, you can dance through the cogs yourself using the shifters behind the steering wheel. Room-wise, the car will sit fourup and tall occupants in the back won’t have cause to moan about legroom or headroom. There’s plenty of that. The practical side of things continues to the Jaguar’s boot. At 577 litres, it offers more cargo capacity than most other small SUVs.
JLR has every right to look like ‘the cat that got the cream’ with this fresh product. The E-Pace has a near-flawless mix of comfort, practicality, power and refinement. Not every premium compact SUV can do that.