Jaguar has already proven it’s fully capable of producing a sport utility vehicle worthy of pulling eyeballs as it runs rings around much of the competition, but the impressive F-Pace is on the large side of compact, leaving lots of room below for a smaller, more affordable entry-level SUV to conquest upwardly mobile buyers entering the luxury realms. So, say hello to the new E-Pace, the subcompact premium SUV segment’s newest arrival.
Speaking of pulling eyeballs, stunt driver Terry Grant did just that in a new E-Pace as he performed a Guinness World Record setting 15-metre (50-foot) 270-degree “barrel roll” jump for the SUV’s global reveal at the London ExCel Centre (see photo gallery above and video below).
As you might have expected, such handling chops were procured from a modified version of Jaguar Land Rover’s “D8” platform architecture, which already supports the similarly sized Range Rover Evoque and considerably larger Land Rover Discovery Sport.
To be clear, the new E-Pace measures 4,395 millimetres (173.0 inches) long, 1,984 mm (78.1 inches) wide with the side mirrors folded, 2,088 mm (82.2 inches) wide with those mirrors extended, 1,649 mm (64.9 inches) tall, and rides on a 2,681-mm (105.6-inch) wheelbase. That makes it 24 mm (0.9 inches) longer than the Evoque with a 21-mm (0.8-inch) longer wheelbase, as well as 84 mm (3.3 inches) wider and 14 mm (0.5 inches) taller than Range Rover’s smallest, while it’s 195 mm (7.7 inches) shorter than the Discovery Sport with a 60-mm (2.3-inch) shorter wheelbase, plus 85 mm (3.3 inches) narrower and 75 mm (2.9 inches) closer to the ground—and we’re not talking ground clearance which measures a considerable 204 mm (8.0 inches).
Likewise, the E-Pace can haul up to 577 litres (20.4 cubic feet) of cargo under the cargo cover behind its rear seatbacks, which makes it two litres (0.1 cubic feet) more accommodating than the Evoque and 349 litres (12.3 cubic feet) less so than the Discovery Sport. The E-Pace has 685 litres (24.2 cubic feet) of cargo space when including the area above the cargo cover, while if you fold its 60/40-split rear seatbacks down it can manage up to 1,487 litres (52.5 cubic feet) of gear, which once again is exactly two litres (0.1 cubic feet) more than the Evoque albeit 407 litres (14.4 cubic feet) less than the Disco Sport. In other words, the E-Pace is more squarely in the subcompact luxury SUV camp than the compact, which is exactly where Jaguar needs it.
While the E-Pace shares some architectural underpinnings with the Evoque, the rear suspensions are totally unique. Due to Jaguar’s on-road performance demands, the E-Pace incorporates a downsized version of the F-Pace’ rear suspension design, while aluminum steering knuckles and aluminum front suspension components improve geometry while lowering unsprung weight. Specifically, the E-Pace uses a McPherson strut front suspension with lower control arms, coil springs, passive shock absorbers, and a passive anti-roll bar, plus an integral multi-link rear setup with coil springs, passive dampers and a passive anti-roll bar.
Additionally, the electric rack and pinion steering system has been solidly mounted to the SUV for increased feel. That said the E-Pace is less aluminum-intensive as the rest of Jaguar’s lineup, although the fenders and tailgate are formed from the lightweight metal in order to reduce its curb weight to a manageable 1,893 kilograms (4,173 pounds), which is still quite considerable for such a small vehicle.
Still, the new E-Pace should be one of the subcompact luxury SUV segment’s more exhilarating performers. For starters, the transverse-mounted base 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium engine in the E-Pace P250 AWD model makes 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque from only 1,200 rpm, whereas the even sportier R-Dynamic P300 AWD variant uses the 296-horsepower version of the same mill that’s capable of 295 lb-ft of torque from just 1,500 rpm, both mated to a state-of-the-art ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission with optional paddle shifters. Jaguar promises 7.0 seconds to 100km/h and a top speed of 230-km/h in the base model, and a more energetic 6.4 seconds to the 100km/h mark along with a higher 243 km/h terminal velocity in the R-Dynamic, which is formidable performance for the class.
Of note, Jaguar’s internal fuel economy tests of the base 246 horsepower E-Pace resulted in 10.2 L/100km in the city and 8.4 on the highway, though take heed no official fuel economy results have been announced.
No doubt the E-Pace’ sleek styling helps to minimize drag and commensurately reduce fuel economy, some of its design cues even taken from the revered F-Type sports car, particularly its sweptback headlight clusters. Its taillights are wholly unique, however, and promised to be Jaguar signatures in the future.
Likewise, the E-Pace more closely resembles the F-Type inside thanks to a dual-cockpit front seat layout divided by a wrap-around centre console featuring a prominent flying buttress-style leather-wrapped grab handle on the passenger side, the lower console completed by a regular shift lever rather than Jaguar’s usual rotating dial selector. A large 8.3-litre storage area between the two front seats makes sure a practical element is included in the emotive design.
The driver and front passenger aren’t the only pampered occupants, because the rear seating area appears nicely finished and roomy, while the E-Pace promises to lead competitors in connectivity with up to five USB outlets, four 12-volt sockets, and 4G WiFi that’s capable of supporting up to eight devices, the latter standard on all trim levels above base.
With a base MSRP of $42,700 plus freight and fees the E-Pace won’t be the most affordable subcompact SUV in its class, but it won’t be lacking features either thanks to standard all-wheel drive, a continuously variable semi-active suspension featuring both passive and adaptive dampers, and braking system-based torque vectoring to aid handling by dragging the inside wheels during turns to increase vehicle rotation and reduce understeer.
Additional standard features include auto on/off LED headlamps, 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, branded metal treadplates, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, a colour multi-information display within the gauge cluster, JaguarDrive dynamic mode selection with four settings including Normal, Dynamic, Eco, and Rain/Ice/Snow that alters throttle response, transmission shift points, climate control efficiency and more, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone auto climate control, 10-inch TouchPro touchscreen infotainment with tablet-style swipe, pinch and zoom gestures, voice activation, a rearview camera, six-speaker 125-watt audio, plus front and rear parking sensors.
The base E-Pace includes all the expected passive and active safety equipment too, as well as and plenty of advanced driver assistance systems like semiautonomous low-speed cruise control that automatically adjusts engine and brake settings to help drivers maintain control on slippery surfaces, autonomous emergency braking from 5 km/h to 80 km/h for frontal collisions and 5 km/h to 60 km/h for pedestrians, lane keeping assist, All Surface Progress Control, Hill Launch Assist, a Driver Condition Monitor that sounds an alert if the driver is getting drowsy, plus more.
The base E-Pace can be upgraded with S and SE option packages too, the former priced at $45,200 and adding unique nine-spoke 18-inch alloys, signature LED daytime running lights on the lower edges of each headlamp, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors with integrated approach lamps, power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a rear centre armrest, upgraded Navigation Pro infotainment, a Smartphone package and a Connect Pro package, plus a Park package featuring a 360-degree parking monitor and semi-autonomous Park Assist, while the latter $48,200 SE boasts everything from the S as well as a different set of 10-spoke 19-inch alloys, larger 350-mm front brakes, auto high beams, an 11-speaker 380-watt Meridian audio system, a powered liftgate, and a Drive package featuring adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, high-speed emergency braking, and blindspot monitoring.
Along with the extra engine performance, the $51,000 E-Pace R-Dynamic adds an Active Driveline system incorporating an electronic rear differential with wet-plate clutches that send power rear-to-front (with up to 100-percent to the front for improved fuel economy, and a return to AWD in only 0.3 seconds), side-to-side, and even to a single wheel if required for improved traction and/or handling, plus a unique front fascia design with a gloss black grille insert, deeper air intakes at the corners, body-coloured side sills, a lower rear bumper with a gloss black valence, satin chrome exterior trim, 18-inch five-spoke alloys, paddle shifters behind the spokes of a special R-Dynamic branded leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, bright metal pedals, 10-way powered front seats, sport seats with unique leather upholstery, standard navigation, yet more advanced driver assist systems, and most of the features included with the previous S package as standard.
The R-Dynamic can also be had in $54,000 SE and $57,300 HSE trims, the former adding unique five-spoke 19-inch alloys, 14-way powered front seats with memory, and similar features to the previously noted SE package, while HSE trim includes twinned five-spoke 20-inch alloys, proximity-sensing keyless access with a gesture activated liftgate, 18-way powered front seats with heat and memory, and perforated Windsor leather upholstery with contrast stitching.
Lastly, the $59,000 E-Pace First Edition provides unique design treatments such as Caldera Red paint, a Black Exterior Package, and satin grey-finish 20-inch twin-spoke alloys outside, plus Ebony Windsor leather upholstery with Flame Red contrast stitching, an Ebony Suedecloth headliner, and special floor mats printed in a jaguar fur pattern, plus the same pattern found on the shoulder-height seat tags on the inside, while it also includes a standard fixed panoramic sunroof and everything featured in the R-Dynamic HSE as well as Land Rover’s new Activity Key wristband that lets you leave your keys in the car while going on a hike, skiing, hitting the beach, or doing some other kind of activity that might potentially make finding lost keys impossible.
The First Edition is available in Santorini Black and Yulong White as well for an extra $670, but that’s it for colour options, whereas the R-Dynamic comes standard in Fuji White instead of Caldera Red and can also be had in Corris Grey, Indus Silver, Firenze Red, Caesium Blue, and Borasco Grey for $670, plus Farallon Black and Silicon Silver for $1,640 (or $1,430 in R-Dynamic SE trim).
The Black Exterior package costs an extra $260 if you want it, while the standard Grain Leather sport seats can be had in Ebony with Light Oyster beige stitching, Ebony with Reims blue stitching, and Light Oyster beige with Ebony stitching at no charge, or higher grade Windsor leather in Ebony/Oyster, Oyster/Oyster, Mars Red/Ebony, Ebony/Eclipse blue, and Siena Tan/Ebony for $1,980. The headliner can be had in Ebony or Oyster at no charge or the aforementioned Ebony Suedecloth for $1,020.
Additionally, the 380-watt Meridian audio upgrade can be had for $410 and an even more potent 15-speaker 825-watt version for $1,230 (or $820 in the SE and HSE). Additionally, a 12.3-inch fully configurable colour HD Interactive Driver Display virtual gauge cluster can be added for a mere $570, while a head-up display system will project vital info such as vehicle speed, entertainment functions, adaptive cruise control settings, plus alerts for the optional blindspot monitor and lane departure warning on the windshield for $1,020.
Of course there’s more depending on trim, an $820 Cold Climate package ($670 in R-Dynamic trims) adding a heatable windshield, heated washer jets, and a heatable steering wheel, and a $970 Drive package featuring adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, high-speed emergency braking, and blindspot assist, while many of the features found in upper trims can be had individually, such as proximity access for $620, the activity key for $410, bright metal pedals for $260, auto high beams for $260, ambient interior lighting for $360, a universal garage door opener for $260, the 360-degree surround parking monitor for $360, satellite and HD radio for $510, heated rear seats for $1,020, a fixed panoramic sunroof for $1,180, the powered liftgate for $360, the liftgate with gesture control for $460 (or $110 with the SE), Configurable Dynamics that let you personalize the JaguarDrive dynamic modes via the touchscreen, for $360, adaptive dynamics for $1,020, loads of wheels from 19 to 21 inches in diameter for $510 to $3,670, plus more.
The E-Pace will soon go up against its own sibling Range Rover Evoque as well as the segment bestselling Buick Encore, second most popular BMW X1, third-place Mercedes GLA, as well as the Audi Q3, Mini Countryman, and Infiniti QX30, while in short order it will also have the Volvo XC40, Acura CDX, and Lexus UX to deal with. Still, despite the crowded subcompact luxury SUV segment the E-Pace’ attractive styling, exciting performance, advanced engineering, luxurious interior, bevy of standard and optional features, impressive active safety equipment, plus strong value proposition to help it to succeed.
E-Pace models headed for Jaguar Canada showrooms are being built in Graz, Austria by Magna Steyr, the vehicle-assembly division of Canadian auto parts maker Magna International, whereas the majority of Asian markets will receive theirs from Chery Jaguar Land Rover, JLR’s joint venture partnership in Changshu, China.
The E-Pace will be available across Canada starting January 2018. Until then, check out a video of the new E-Pace achieving its Guinness World Record setting 15-metre 270-degree “barrel roll” jump below: