The Car Connection Jaguar E-Pace Overview
The Jaguar E-Pace takes over as the brand's smallest crossover SUV for the 2018 model year, giving the bigger F-Pace a relief after just a year on sale.
With the E-Pace, Jaguar will have a two-SUV lineup–at least until it adds its upcoming battery-powered I-Pace electric crossover SUV.
MORE: Read our preview of the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace
The E-Pace renders some of the cues of Jag's bigger SUV on a shorter body, though the two are built on different architectures. The E-Pace has a similar tall front end, a mesh grille flanked by two large air intakes and one thin wide one, and angled LED running lights that underscore its headlights. A deep recess is sculpted into the lower half of its door panels, while the rear fenders arch from the midpoint of the rear doors. Fender vents and a cat-eyed rear side window match up with a steeply raked roofline and a slim band of angled LED taillights. The roof can be painted black, or fitted with panoramic glass.
The interior of the E-Pace cribs the cockpit-style layout from the F-Type sports car. The center stack of controls angles toward the driver, with a built-in grab handle that walls it off from the passenger. Round climate controls live below a wide touchscreen and above the automatic shift lever. The dash wears stitched material for a neat, finished appearance.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 powers the new 4,175-pound E-Pace. In base specification, it's rated at 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The uprated version spins out 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Both are part of Jaguar's in-house Ingenium engine family, and sport direct fuel injection, and twin-scroll and variable-geometry turbochargers. Jaguar promises the lower-output model will hit 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, while the uprated version will shave that number down to 5.9 seconds.
In the U.S., the engines come only with a 9-speed automatic. The ZF-sourced gearbox also is available in the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport. On R-Dynamic models, the E-Pace adds steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. The usual shift modes apply: Eco mode slows down throttle and upshifts quickly, while Dynamic mode turns up the wick on shift speed and eagerness. A slush mode helps the E-Pace stick to the road when grip subsides due to snow, ice, and rain.
All-wheel-drive systems differ by output. The 246-hp E-Pace splits torque between the front and rear wheels in the usual way, and has a braking system that simulates torque vectoring. The 296-hp E-Pace has a more sophisticated system that can disconnect the rear axle for better fuel economy, or split power between the rear wheels through twin wet clutches, for more precise power distribution and better cornering behavior.
MacPherson struts in front couple with an integral-link rear suspension. Some components are cast in aluminum, and both setups are isolated on subframes for better chassis performance. An adaptive set of dampers can be adjusted to normal or Dynamic settings, while the infotainment houses a display that clocks lap times and cornering forces. The crossover's stability control has a low-speed mode that smooths out launches on mixed-traction surfaces.
Inside the E-Pace, Jaguar provides seats for five passengers in a body composed of steel, aluminum, magnesium and composites. It's much less aluminum intensive than the F-Pace, but has some panels glued and bonded in the same way as Jaguar's aluminum-intensive cars. Overall, it's 173.0 inches long and rides on a 105.6-inch wheelbase (think Honda Civic), and its split-fold rear seats can boost the cargo space from 24.2 cubic feet with the rear bench up, to 52.5 cubic feet with the rear bench folded down.
Base models come with synthetic leather, while leather is an option on some versions and standard on the plushest models. The center console holds four big water bottles, and the doors have molded-in pockets for additional storage.
Safety options include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings.
The E-Pace comes with cruise control, power features, and Bluetooth with audio streaming. A 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system can be upgraded to a 12.3-inch screen. High-power audio, ambient lighting, a head-up display, and up to five USB ports can be specified, as can a power-operated, gesture-controlled tailgate and in-car data service, as well as navigation.
Priced from below $40,000, the E-Pace goes on sale in the fall of 2017.