Jaguar E-Pace SUV review
"The Jaguar E-Pace is a stylish SUV but it doesn't lead the field in any particular area"
- Slow infotainment system
- Top-spec model is expensive
- Feels heavy in corners
Making a smaller SUV like the Jaguar E-Pace was an easy decision for Jaguar once it gauged the popularity of the F-Pace. The F-Pace may have been the manufacturer’s first SUV but it quickly became its fastest-selling model ever, and the obvious potential in making a smaller, less expensive version, to compete with upmarket rivals such as the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA, Volvo XC40, Lexus NX, BMW X1, and Volkswagen Tiguan was too good to ignore.
The E-Pace isn’t, however, just a shrunken F-Pace. Sharing its underpinnings with the Range Rover Evoque, the silhouette of the car is noticeably different, with a significantly shorter bonnet. The car is much more influenced by the styling of the Jaguar F-Type sports car, outside and in, even if the rear of the car bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the F-Pace.
The E-Pace range consists of three petrol (P200, P250 and P300) and three diesel (D150, D180 and D240) models, all of which are based on Land Rover’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium engines, with power outputs that increase as you ascend the model hierarchy. From its name, you might imagine the E-Pace is electric, but the Jaguar I-Pace is actually the company’s battery-powered SUV.
The 2.0-litre D150 diesel engine at the bottom of the range is the most economical being capable of 39.5-42.7mpg, partly because it’s the only model available with front-wheel drive. Calling it ‘economical’ is relative because the E-Pace can’t match the 42.2mpg of the equivalent Audi Q3 and it almost exactly matches the fuel economy of a petrol BMW X1. Four-wheel drive is available on the E-Pace and is mandatory if you want an automatic gearbox. The more powerful D180 is our pick of the range, combining its 178bhp with economy of 41.2mpg when fitted with a manual gearbox. If your preference is for petrol, the 197bhp generated by the P200 will be more than adequate, but it will cost significantly more to run than a diesel E-Pace. You’ll struggle to see more than 30mpg from any of the petrols.
The E-Pace is available in four trim levels, which are the unnamed entry-level model, the S, the SE and the HSE. You can choose to have all four trim levels in R-Dynamic form, which means the car comes with some styling add-ons to give it a sportier appearance. Range-topping HSE models feel distinctly expensive for what they are, so our recommendation is to opt for the E-Pace in S trim unless you really fancy the extra kit included on the SE model.
The E-Pace is a decent car to drive but it feels heavy compared to a number of the other cars in its class, such as the Volkswagen Tiguan. The interior is smart and surprisingly practical, and the performance on offer doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, even if the car can feel a bit fidgety sometimes, especially on larger alloy wheels.
Our main gripe with the car is the infotainment system, which is sluggish compared to most other systems on the market. At least it now offers support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard on S models and above - given these are standard on a number of superminis nowadays, it was surprising that they were previously absent in a luxury SUV.
Reliability is somewhat hard to judge. The E-Pace shares parts with the Range Rover Evoque but neither of these cars appeared in our 2020 Driver Power ownership survey. It’s concerning that, overall, 25.6% of Jaguar owners reported a problem within the first year of ownership. Safety won’t be a worry, though, with a stellar five-star score and a huge array of driver assistance features.