This is Jaguar’s new offering in the compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment, introduced in a London dramatic leap which earned it a Guinness Book of Records title. The E-Pace undertook exhaustive testing from the Arctic Circle to the deserts of Arabia to ensure that when it enters this crowded segment it would be the “sports car of the SUV segment.” The company built more than 150 prototypes for an extensive test program over a 25-month period. It was presented in media tests recently in Portugal.
This is Jaguar’s second venture into the SUV territory after a renowned success with the larger version, the F-Pace, which became the brand’s best-selling model. There is a third Jaguar in the segment, the all-electric I-Pace, which the company intends to reveal next year.
It is predicted that the smaller – and cheaper – E-Pace would attract even more interest from consumers. Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design, wants this model to appeal to customers for whom this is their first Jaguar. He focused on practicality and does not discount the idea of an even smaller Jaguar SUV in the future. The company expects a 23 percent growth in the compact SUV segment between now and 2020.
The company used aluminum in many parts of the E-Pace in order to keep weight down. The car will use a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines matched to a nine-speed ZF automatic transmission. There is a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive, with the latter forming most sales.
Jaguar wants to distinguish its E-Pace from the German competition by accentuating the sporty character of the compact SUV. The sporty theme is also repeated in the interior without compromising the practical aspects of the car. Many features were borrowed from the larger F-Pace with some driver-focused aspect taken from the F-Type sports car. There is a grab handle built into the central console and a conventional lever for the nine-speed automatic transmission, instead of the capstan dial used in other Jaguars.
The instrument pack is conventional analogue with dials for speed and revs. Passengers would be able to stream five devices and there are USB ports for all five seats in the car, two of which are in the central cubby box. And there are also further 12V charging points in the front, the center console, and even the boot. Using a USB in the central cubby, one can easily connect a phone to the Meridian sound system — which itself has an 825W surround option.
As always with Jaguar cars, attention to details in the cabin is remarkable. Driver assistance technologies include a stereo camera to enable autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition. Intelligent speed limiter and driver condition monitor systems are also offered, while front and rear parking aids are standard.
There is also blind spot assist function in addition to a pedestrian airbag which deploys from under the bonnet in the event of a collision. A new generation of head-up display is deployed in the E-Pace. It can project up to 66 percent more information on to the windscreen using large, full-color graphics with enhanced clarity. Essential information, including vehicle speed and navigation directions, is in full view at all times.
For active customers, the E-Pace is available with a wearable activity key. It comes as a waterproof wristband allowing the driver to lock the main key inside the car when enjoying outdoor activities.
The E-Pace is available with a choice of engines. The two petrol engines come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox while the diesels get a six-speed manual as standard, with the nine-speed automatic costing extra. Drivers can choose between four driving modes for all road surface and weather conditions. There are three trim levels which can be combined with an R-Dynamics pack.
The E-Pace is the most affordable Jaguar to date, and is expected to lead the brand’s sales into the next decade.