The Jaguar E-PACE fairs well in an increasingly crammed SUV market

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It may be the smallest of Jaguar’s SUVs, but the E-PACE’s usability will surprise many.

The Jaguar E-PACE is geared towards drivers who want the looks and driving position of a larger car, but don’t want the difficulty that comes with one.

You can have it with petrol or diesel, and two- or four-wheel drive. On paper, it has enough to match most preferences.

Upgraded tech

The E-PACE is loaded with a number of safety features, from emergency braking and pedestrian detection to lane-keeping and reversing aids – it’s little surprise that the car has a five-star NCAP safety rating.

You also get the manufacturer’s Navigation Pro system, with real-time traffic updates and the ability to show you street parking availability.

The model we sampled had the ‘Connect Pro Pack’ that adds a 4G wifi hotspot – ideal for those wanting to stay connected on the move.

The E-PACE’s performance

Our tester was fitted with one of the manufacturer’s higher-spec engines – a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with a more-than-healthy 247bhp.

It’s not the most potent engine on offer – with a 298bhp unit sitting just above it – but it’ll be more than most drivers need.

It generates 365Nm of torque, put to the road through all four wheels and an eight-speed automatic gearbox that carries it from 0-60mph in only 6.6 seconds.

To give some context on that figure, a sub-seven-seconds time is quick for a hatchback, so it’s doubly impressive for something bigger.

What’s it like in real driving?

Jaguar claim fuel economy of 36.7mpg combined and a CO2 reading of 174g/km. Granted, a full tank of fuel will take you further with one of the lower-spec engines, but that won’t bother you if you want performance.

A white E-PACE travelling along a coastal route

The steering’s weight is decent too, and it’ll put the car where you want it without hassle.

The ride is a bit firm, but that’s the way it goes with larger alloys – the 20-inch rims on our HSE R-Dynamic trim are certainly at that end of the scale.

That being said, you don’t feel it as much at motorway speeds, at which there’s also reduced road noise.

It looks like a Jaguar

The E-PACE is styled on Jaguar’s F-TYPE sports car, with similar rear lights and front grille.

It’s as good looking as it is imposing, especially in the HSE R-Dynamic guise that our model was wearing. The larger F-PACE isn’t largely dissimilar, it must be said, but there are enough between the two to separate them.

And if you’re going to compare it with like-for-like models from other carmakers, it’ll definitely stand out.

An interior typical of the brand

The interior’s been built for the driver, with the dash controls and screen angled towards the driving seat.

The E-PACE's front grille is similar to the F-TYPE's.

If you were to describe it in a word, it’s solid. The buttons and switches are bulky and satisfying to press, while the cabin’s overall use of high-quality materials is just as pleasing.

There’s the odd bit of tough plastic in the cabin, but not to a degree that spoils the feel inside.

Legroom in the back is about as reasonable as you’d expect in a compact SUV – taller passengers will spot it, but it’s not overly restricted.

Boot space is 425 litres – smaller than other cars in the class but is easy to make use of thanks to the shape and height of the boot floor.

Spec list

Jaguar Land Rover spec lists tend to fair well in comparison with rivals, and the E-PACE’s is no different.

Jaguar’s full sound system and automatic LED headlights feature at no added cost, along with cruise control – a feature you’ll find on most modern cars, but still worth celebrating if you’re often at the wheel for extended periods.

The HSE R-Dynamic spec adds a few impressive bits to that, with a 12-3-inch screen, premium Meridian sound system and the Park Pack, which utilises a 360-degree camera to help with manoeuvres.

The verdict

An increasing demand for SUVs has generated countless models over the past few years, from the larger motors down to the compact SUVs.

A white E-PACE from the rear

With striking looks and a favourable spec list, however, the E-PACE ranks at the higher end of its segment. It’s more costly than most alternatives, but does come with a fair bit more than those.

The Jaguar E-PACE will appeal to many, whether that’s through the added style and performance of the model we drove, or the increased practicality and comfort of the other trims.

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