Few who have driven the new Jaguar XE have come away complaining. It’s arguably attractive, mostly well finished inside, filled with an impressive load of features including some nicely kitted out electronic…

Nürburgring dominating Jaguar XE SV Project 8 super sedan now in production

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Not your average Jaguar XE, the limited production XE SV Project 8 boasts 592-hp and track-ready capability. (Photo: Jaguar)

Few who have driven the new Jaguar XE have come away complaining. It’s arguably attractive, mostly well finished inside, filled with an impressive load of features including some nicely kitted out electronic interfaces, and plenty roomy, plus its lineup of powertrains, ranging from a 247 horsepower turbo-four to a 380 horsepower supercharged V6, make the most of its lightweight aluminum body shell and agile independent suspension. Just the same, a hyper-powerful SVR variant would be nice. 

SVR, which is a sportier marketing variation of the short-form for Special Vehicle Operations (normally called SVO albeit shown on JLR products as an SV with an O wrapped around the outside and an R following), is the Jaguar Land Rover answer for BMW’s M performance sub-brand, Mercedes’ AMG, Audi’s RS, Alfa Romeo’s Quadrifoglio, Volvo’s Polestar, Lexus’ F, Cadillac’s V, and so on. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
That massive carbon-fibre wing is necessary to keep the tail planted on the asphalt at 322 km/h. (Photo: Jaguar)

A number of Jaguar and Land Rover products already boast the three-initial moniker, but the most recent is the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, a vehicle directly related to the XE. Unfortunately, Jaguar’s compact luxury D-segment sport sedan has yet to be given the usual 550- to 575-horsepower supercharged V8 SVR treatment in order to compete with the likes of the M3, C63 AMG, Giulia Quadrifoglio, ATS-V, etcetera, but this is about to change as enthusiasts plugged into the Euro performance car pulse will already know. For those not in the know, meet the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Only 300 will be produced, at a price of $188,495 USD, the equivalent of $247,940 CAD at the time of writing. (Photo: Jaguar)

After a reasonably long gestation, which first saw the Warwickshire, England SVO outfit’s skunkworks project semi-debut in camouflage photos in May of last year; then receive an official web intro in June; arrive in the metal at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July (where it won a “Showstopper” award); make its North American debut in August at the Monterey Car Week; record the fastest time ever of 7 minutes and 21.23 seconds on the Nürburgring Nordschleife for a sedan of production-intent specification in November (which bested the aforementioned Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio’s time of 7 minutes 32 seconds, although despite the Alfa being a full production car, Jaguar plans to improve on the pre-production XE SV Project 8’s capability when the final street-ready version arrives), not to mention the fastest lap ever for a Jaguar; and debut near final production refinements in April of this year, which was quickly followed up later in April with some track time by legendary sports car racers Andy Wallace and Davy Jones on the Goodwood Motor Circuit; the finished Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is almost upon us. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Legendary Jaguar sports car racers Andy Wallace and Davy Jones take the Project 8 for a spin on the Goodwood Motor Circuit (see the video below). (Photo: Jaguar)

“Most road-legal cars on track are a massive disappointment, but Project 8 is really something,” said Andy Wallace. “It’s absolutely staggering how it has been made to feel like a proper racing car. It keeps wanting you to push harder. It’s not bothered by Goodwood’s undulations, it just hunkers down and feels totally at ease, so you’re happy to get on the throttle earlier. It inspires confidence straight away.  

The brake pedal feel is fantastic. It is absolutely linear and you can feel what it’s doing. The steering too is brilliant. It feels like a car that’s developed after days and days, and hours and hours, of testing. You don’t just ‘luck’ something as good as this. Anybody can build a fast car. But to build a fast car that feels this good – that’s quite an achievement.” 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
The XE SV Project 8 doesn’t seem to have any problem hanging its tail out in controlled oversteer. (Photo: Jaguar)

“I’m used to powerful racing cars,” added Davy Jones. “But this feels really fast. The sheer acceleration didn’t feel all that different from a 700bhp racing prototype – and that really surprised me. It’s certainly Jaguar’s best track car I’ve driven since the sports prototype Jaguars of the 1980s and 1990s. 

There is no body roll, loads of grip, the braking is incredible. When you turn into a corner, it points in, when you step on the accelerator it wants to launch out of the corner. It doesn’t do anything to spook you. It’s such an accessible car to drive. The [8-speed automatic] gear shifts are so precise and so quick too.” 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
The XE SV Project 8 promises one of the best road/track four-door combinations ever created. (Photo: Jaguar)

It’s fair to expect the ultra-exclusive group of 300 XE SV Project 8 owners should be well pleased with their upcoming purchase, the custom-built hyper-sedan, hand-assembled at the SVO Technical Centre in Warwickshire, costing a cool $188,495 USD, the equivalent of $247,940 CAD at the time of writing. 

When it arrives the XE SV Project 8 will have the highest output of any street-legal Jaguar vehicle in the British brand’s long and illustrious history, its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 making a shocking 592 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, while a sport-tuned eight-speed ZF automatic transmission promises the quickest possible shift intervals along with the ability to drop multiple ratios at once via non-sequential downshifts, which will quicken pre-corner setup to enhance circuitous road and track performance. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Expensive rubber no doubt, but the experience of finding the Project 8’s ultimate grip has got to be worth every penny. (Photo: Jaguar)

The eight-speed auto puts power down to all wheels, with a maximum of 30 percent motive power going to the front axle in order to produce rear wheel bias for maximum performance and feel. The all-wheel drive system will be torque vectoring, of course, while the electronic rear differential keeps temperatures low via an exclusive cooler situated within the rear diffuser. 

The XE SV Project 8 provides three driving modes, including Normal, Dynamic and Track, Eco not on the menu for obvious reasons, while this is the first time we’ve seen Track mode on an XE. SVO says that the drive modes adjust the throttle, torque vectoring control, dampers, steering, all-wheel drive system, and the stability control, which is about as comprehensive as such systems get. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
“Project 8” is proudly displayed on the carbon-fibre wing. (Photo: Jaguar)

The regular XE already has an extremely agile, lightweight, aluminum-intensive double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension setup, but the SVO team has modified almost everything anyway. An in-house developed billet suspension knuckle includes ceramic bearings to reduce unsprung weight by 840 grams, while also improving steering response by minimizing friction and increasing rigidity. Speaking of stiffness, Warwickshire has uprated the suspension bushings, with those in the rear upper control arm replaced with ball joints, while both front and rear anti-roll bars have been modified to improve high-speed stability. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Only the front door skins and roof carry over from the stock XE, the Project 8 wearing mostly new aluminum and carbon-fibre body parts. (Photo: Jaguar)

The electrically assisted power steering and the continuously variable damper systems in the stock XE are both carried forward into the new Project 8, although they’ve been reprogrammed for quicker, more responsive reaction, while an available Track Pack provides manually adjustable spring platforms that let you lower the ride height by 15 mm to optimize handling. 

Nothing resembling the Project 8’s Brembo carbon ceramic discs can be found in any current XE, as the massive 400-mm front rotors are clamped down on with six-piston calipers and the 396 mm discs in back get grip from a large single piston caliper. Brembo claims that its new-tech brakes achieve temperature reductions of 38 to 93 degrees Celsius, which should all but eliminate fade even when on the track, important for a car that weighs in at 1,745 kg. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Is this the world’s quickest four-door? Its record fastest time ever of 7 minutes and 21.23 seconds on the Nürburgring Nordschleife makes a good argument in its favour. (Photo: Jaguar)

The larger V8 powertrain is responsible for most of the XE SV Project 8’s 24 kilos of extra weight over the otherwise sportiest supercharged V6-powered XE S (the aforementioned Track Pack reduces weight by 12.2 kg), but the aero bodywork, especially the massive wing on the rear deck lid, has got to account for something. It’s certainly necessary to keep the car planted at its 322-km/h (200-mph) top speed, whereas any weight gain hasn’t hampered its zero to 100km/h sprint time, which is claimed to take just 3.7 seconds (3.3 seconds to 60 mph). 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
The cabin looks beautifully finished with leathers, Alcantara suede, metals, carbon-fibre and more. (Photo: Jaguar)

“The SVO design and engineering team’s mission was to create the most track-focused road-legal Jaguar in history – not only the fastest, but also the most agile,” Mark Stanton, SVO Director. “As a result, only the roof and front door skins of the Project 8 body are carried-over unaltered from XE and 75 per cent of its mechanical hardware is new. This astonishing Nürburgring Nordschleife record validates the success of such extensive changes.” 

The rear door skins, unmentioned by Stanton, are formed from aluminum and much wider as they flare into the rear fenders, which are bulge outward by 55 mm to accommodate 305-width rear tires. Most of the other modified bodywork and aerodynamic aids are made from lightweight carbon-fibre, and the list of changes is far too long to itemize. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
The optional Track Pack adds race seats, removes the rear seats in place of a roll cage, helping reduce weight by 12.2 kg, and adds manually adjustable spring platforms that lower the ride height by 15 mm. (Photo: Jaguar)

All the modifications result in a major difference to XE SV Project 8 styling, but those owners who still want to use their car as a regular driver will be happy to learn the interior hasn’t deviated much from the already spacious and comfortable stock XE. Rather than a third seat in the rear centre position, the SVO team has followed the usual rule for super sedans by providing two rear bucket-style seats. The previously noted Track Pack, on the other hand, loses its rear seats altogether for a track-ready roll cage. 

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Three hundred fortunate souls are going to have a fabulous summer. (Photo: Jaguar)

The “Project 8” embroidered sport seats up front are much more aggressively bolstered than those in the rear of the base car, although they’re still covered in leather with suede-like Alcantara insets. Rich Alcantara wraps the instrument hood, dash top, steering wheel rim and door inserts as well, while bespoke carbon-fibre lower console surfacing surrounds a conventional pistol grip gear lever in place of the regular XE’s rotating dial. 

The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is currently in production, and will soon be available to 300 fortunate owners. Whether you’re waiting for yours to arrive or simply want to see one of the most powerful four-door sedans ever made in action, make sure you check out these fabulous Jaguar XE SV Project 8 videos: 
Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | World’s Fastest Saloon — the 7min 21.23 second record lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife (7:58): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | A Legend in the Making with Le Mans champions Andy Wallace and Davy Jones (2:51): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Laguna Seca and Pacific Coast Highway Debut (1:49): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb (1:27): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Wind Tunnel Testing (1:07): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Performance in Portimao (0:40): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Handmade by Special Vehicle Operations (1:00): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Portimao Track (0:41): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Pushing Boundaries (3:06): 

Jaguar XE Project 8 | Animated Build. (1:27): 

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 | Unleashed (0:57): 


When your head spins and eyes peel to catch a glimpse of the fabulous looking new Jaguar F-Pace sport utility driving by, you can be forgiven for not knowing whether it’s a 2017 or 2018 model. After…

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport Road Test

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Jaguar’s F-Pace looks no different for 2018, although under the hood in 25t trim is a new base 2.0-litre turbo-four capable of 247-hp. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

When your head spins and eyes peel to catch a glimpse of the fabulous looking new Jaguar F-Pace sport utility driving by, you can be forgiven for not knowing whether it’s a 2017 or 2018 model. After all, the larger than average compact luxury SUV has only been around since the former model year, so therefore its styling remains the same. Then again, if you hear the unique sound of a performance-tuned turbocharged four-cylinder engine, take note, as you’ve just witnessed a brand new 2018 F-Pace 25t or 30t blast past. 

The new gasoline-powered, turbocharged and direct-injected Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine was first introduced to the 2018 Jaguar F-Type sports car last year, providing a new more affordable entry-level trim for attracting more sports car fans to the beautiful two-place coupe and convertible. Since then, both the F-Pace and the XE compact sport-luxury sedan have been given the same value-added treatment, which Jaguar hopes will make them more appealing in their respective market segments. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Hello good looking! The F-Pace looks great from all angles. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Specifically to the SUV being reviewed here, the already popular F-Pace receives a $650 price drop from $50,900 last year to $50,250 this year, while the 20d turbo-diesel, last year’s base engine, gets a minor $350 price increase to $51,250. 

Along with the reduced pricing comes dramatically improved performance in base trim, the 20d being highly efficient yet not as quick as the new gasoline-powered turbo-four. By the numbers, the new F-Pace 25t AWD model’s zero to 100km/h sprint time drops to just 6.8 seconds from 8.7, while its top speed increases from 208 to 217 km/h. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
R-Sport trim includes these standard LED headlamps. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This newfound energy is due to differences in the way gasoline and diesel engines make their power and torque, in this case the 25t good for 247 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque from 1,200 to 4,500 rpm, while the 20d makes 180 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 318 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. 

As noted the tradeoff is fuel-efficiency, with the F-Pace 25t AWD estimated to achieve a Transport Canada five-cycle fuel economy rating of 10.7 L/100km in the city, 8.8 on the highway and 9.9 combined, and the F-Pace 20d AWD good for a claimed 8.9 city, 7.2 highway and 8.1 combined, a considerable savings even before factoring in the price of diesel fuel, which is less expensive in most jurisdictions. Your choice will come down to priorities. The performance option is now standard, while a mere $1,000 bump upwards for the turbo-diesel makes it a viable option for those wanting to eke as much distance as possible out of a tank of fuel. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
An available Black Pack removes some key chrome and body-colour trim and replaces it with glossy black. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The new 2.0-litre turbo-four comes standard with aforementioned base Premium trim, as well as mid-range Prestige trim that starts at $54,750, and my test model’s performance-oriented R-Sport trim that can be had for $60,000. 

Earlier in this review I mentioned the F-Pace 30t, which is an even more potent version of the 2.0-litre Ingenium turbo-four. It starts at $52,750 and can be had in all of the above trims, while it also becomes the new base engine for the more feature-filled $67,200 Portfolio model, this engine putting out 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque for a 6.0-second sprint from zero to 100km/h and a top speed of 233 km/h. Despite the much-improved performance, fuel economy is only minimally affected at just 10.9 L/100km city, 8.7 city and 9.9 combined. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
These 20-inch alloys come standard with the R-Sport. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, the F-Pace can also be had with a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 that’s good for 380 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, making the so-named F-Pace S AWD a full half-second faster from zero to 100km/h than the F-Pace 30t AWD, with a quickest time of 5.5 seconds and higher terminal velocity of 250 km/h. 

As part of Jaguar’s overall value proposition, the F-Pace receives standard all-wheel drive, while this four-season advantage is also joined up to a highly efficient, quick-shifting eight-speed ZF automatic that includes auto start/stop, which shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling in order to save fuel and reduce emissions. Also included is the brand’s trademark space-saving rotating dial gear selector that wows passengers by powering upwards at startup, plus shift paddles on the steering wheel come standard. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Of course, the standard taillights incorporate LEDs. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Like most Jaguars, the F-Pace is built using lightweight, recyclable aluminum body panels, internal framework and chassis components, which sets it apart from the majority of its competitors. Of course, such significant mass reduction not only minimizes fuel usage, but also helps the F-Pace achieve all the straight-line acceleration numbers mentioned earlier, while benefiting braking and handling as well. 

My tester’s 255/50R20 Michelin Latitude Tour HPs on twinned five-spoke alloys were a step up from the base 19s, the wheel and tire upgrade part of R-Sport trim that also adds uprated 350-mm front brake rotors for improved stopping power if you opt for the more formidable 30t engine, while less potent models like my loaner rely on 325-mm front discs that still provided strong, linear braking capability with minimal fade after repeated stomps on the pedal. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Attractive interior design, superb digital interfaces, and an impressive assortment of features help us give a pass to some poor quality plastics. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

And there really is a need for better braking, as the combination of a lighter engine with stronger performance makes for a much sportier base F-Pace. When not trying to make the most of my tank of fuel by tapping the console-mounted JaguarDrive Control rocker switch into Eco mode, I kept it north of Normal in Dynamic sport mode, which stiffened the steering and energized the throttle mapping for a more exciting drive, the 25t AWD feeling even more athletically inclined than the 20d through the curves due to its ability to get more power down to the wheels mid-corner, while the note of the higher revving engine sounds more spirited as well. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Jaguar lays the cockpit out like a sports car, but the F-Pace’ excellent visibility makes its SUV roots known. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Jaguar also includes a Rain/Ice/Snow mode, important for the ever colder winters we’ve been experiencing lately, not to mention jaunts up the ski hill during that cold season or mucking ones way out of a muddy back road after a rainy summer weekend away at the cottage. Together with the all-wheel drive system, All Surface Progress Control for even more grip in slippery conditions, plus brake-system applied torque vectoring to improve handling and stability at higher speeds, the F-Pace is one of the more confidence inspiring SUVs in its class. 

Good visibility is as important a confidence builder as anything else, and to that end the R-Sport creates more day-like light at night than the base model’s halogen headlights with daytime running lights (DRLs), as well as the Prestige model’s bi-function Xenon headlights with signature “J” blade LED DRLs by adding full LED headlamps with adaptive corning capability and auto high beam assist, these also adding a more sophisticated look. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
A fully configurable digital TFT gauge cluster is available. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Along with the LED headlamps the R-Sport gains visual impact via an exclusive body styling and exterior trim kit comprised of a sportier front bumper design, satin-chrome front fender “power vents” with R-Sport badges, body-colour R-Sport door claddings with grained matte black finishers, and more, which makes the addition of standard blindspot monitoring with reverse traffic detection all the more important—we wouldn’t want to scratch all that sporty bodywork now, would we? 

The front and rear parking sensors pulled up from Prestige trim help in this respect too, that mid-range model also providing the R-Sport with headlight power washers, a powered steering column with memory, cool soft glowing mood lighting, a very accurate and easy to program navigation system, and more. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
The well sorted F-Pace centre stack can be optioned to include this 2.0-inch larger 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

All F-Pace R-Sport models get the most important advanced driver assistance systems too, including collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and lane monitoring with lane keeping assist, while a driver condition monitor makes sure you’re not falling asleep at the wheel. 

Additionally, you’ll be stepping over R-Sport branded metal treadplates to get inside, where you’ll also find exclusive bright sport pedals, a satin chrome console storage surround to go along with the satin chrome touchscreen surround that also gets pulled up from Prestige trim, perforated grained leather upholstery, and more. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
The infotainment system comes loaded with features, navigation being optional. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, some highlights from base Premium trim that remain part of this R-Sport model include proximity access and ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, a garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, touch-sensitive JaguarSense switchgear for the LED overhead lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto-dimming and power-folding heatable side mirrors with approach lights and memory, driver’s seat memory, dual-zone auto climate control, a large 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with attractive graphics and an easy-to-use layout, an excellent backup camera with dynamic guidelines, great sounding 11-speaker 380-watt Meridian audio, satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, a massive panoramic sunroof, a powered liftgate, a reversible load floor that switches from luxury carpeting to a more washable rubberized surface, more convenient 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks that allow longer items like skis down the middle while rear occupants enjoy the more comfortable window seats, a commodious 648-litre (22.9 cubic-foot) cargo compartment (948 litres or 33.5 cubic feet by U.S. EPA standards) that expands to a generous 1,798 litres (63.5 cubic feet), etcetera. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Jaguar’s rotating gear selector is smart, efficient and wow’s passengers as it powers up from its otherwise flush resting position on startup. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Incidentally, the fully configurable 12.3-inch HD TFT Virtual Instrument Display you may have already seen in a photo as part of this review isn’t standard with the F-Pace or this R-Sport trim, but rather it’s an upgrade (from a regular analogue gauge cluster with a 5.0-inch colour multi-info display) that comes as part of the $3,320 Technology Pack, which also includes an enhanced InControl Touch Pro Navigation system on a larger 10.2-inch widescreen display; InControl Pro Services featuring a door-to-door route planner companion app, the ability to share your ETA, a Commute Mode that learns your regular route and automatically advises of traffic problems and possible detours, plus an Arrival Mode that displays an interactive 360-degree street view of your destination; and a sensational Meridian surround sound system with Trifield Technology, 825 watts of power through 16 amplifier channels, 17 speakers including a sub, Advanced DSP, Audyssey MultEQ equalization, and dynamic volume control. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
The R-Design’s seats are extremely comfortable and plenty supportive. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Jaguar also added a $440 heated front windshield, a factory-installed $720 tow hitch receiver, and finished the outer panels in no-cost Fuji White paint (one of 12 colour choices), while its complete lack of exterior chrome trim meant that a $510 Black Pack R-Sport trim package replaced the metal brightwork surrounding the grille, side power vents and side window surrounds with Gloss Black, while the mesh grille itself was also glossy black, as were the otherwise body-colour door cladding finishers. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Kudos to Jaguar’s interior design team for dreaming up this cool light green stitching on grey leather motif. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester also featured no-cost Oyster medium grey leather with cool looking light green contrast stitching (Ebony with white stitching, two-tone Ebony/Pimento with red stitching, and two-tone Ebony/Light Oyster with light grey stitching are no-cost options too), this found across the dash, down the sides of the centre stack/console, on the door panels, the armrests and the seat upholstery, while the R-Sport model’s standard piano black lacquered instrument and door panel inlays were replaced with $260 Etched Aluminum ($410 worth of Satin Burr Ash hardwood is also available). 

While the F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport that Jaguar loaned to me for my weeklong test was nicely outfitted, there were many more features that could have been added to this specific trim, such as an $1,130 Adaptive Dynamics Pack featuring configurable electronically controlled dampers and Adaptive Surface Response (ASR); a $2,040 Comfort and Convenience Pack with cooled front seats, heatable rear outboard seats, power-reclining rear seatbacks, rear seat remote release levers, and a gesture liftgate; a $2,350 Luxury Interior Pack with illuminated treadplates, a Suedecloth headliner, four-zone climate control, an air quality sensor, a cooled glove box, configurable mood lighting, premium carpet mats, and two 12-volt power sockets in the second row; a $3,320 Driver Assist Pack including a surround parking camera, a 360-degree Parking Aid, semi-autonomous Park Assist self-parking, traffic sign recognition, an Adaptive Speed Limiter, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist and Intelligent Emergency Braking. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
This massive powered panoramic sunroof comes standard across the F-Pace line. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Finally, standalone features not yet mentioned include $160 cargo storage rails, $360 InControl WiFi, a $410 waterproof Activity Key that wears like a bracelet while swimming or doing other outdoor activities, a $490 full size spare tire on a matching alloy wheel, a $1,020 head-up display, and myriad wheel and tire options. 

If I could find a weakness it’s the use of subgrade hard plastics in unusually visual areas, such as the shroud above the primary gauge cluster. Bizarrely, the Toyota Corolla I was testing during the same week featured a much more upscale surface treatment in the same area, but like the F-Pace its glove box lid and lower door plastics were also made from hard shell plastic, something you’d never find in a competitive BMW X3. Such blatant cost cutting is obviously not an issue for the thousands of luxury buyers that have stepped up to Jaguar’s largest and priciest SUV, but plenty of others may have been turned off, so the British brand may want to address this issue by upgrading key areas done better by competitors. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
Rear seat roominess is very generous. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Speaking of market growth, before the F-Pace arrived Jaguar had zero SUV sales, but after just seven months on the market it had found 1,289 buyers, while after a full 12 months of sales ending on December 31, 2017 the F-Pace managed 2,612 deliveries, placing it eighth out of 14 competitors. What’s more, the F-Pace clearly leads all other Jaguar models in sales, proving once again how important sport utilities are to a brand’s bottom line. 

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t AWD R-Sport
The F-Pace is one of the more accommodating SUVs in its class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While the F-Pace is up against some serious competitors, the market segment led by Audi’s all-new Q5, Acura’s completely redesigned RDX, Mercedes’ still fresh GLC, Lexus’ edgy NX, and BMW’s fully reworked X3, just to name a handful, it’s easily one of the sportiest of its ilk, arguably one of the best looking, and no doubt one of the most practical due to its larger than average size. Its newfound increase in base performance and slight decrease in price should only help it gain more traction in its segment, which bodes well for a positive future. Now the question remains whether you’ll be part of its success story.

Jaguar fans that liked the I-Pace Concept and kept fingers crossed that the production version wouldn’t stray too far from its inspirational design can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the…

Production Jaguar I-Pace crossover EV remains true to stylish concept

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The production Jaguar I-Pace EV was introduced TV show-style, in front of a live and online audience on March 1st. (Photo: Jaguar)

Jaguar fans that liked the I-Pace Concept and kept fingers crossed that the production version wouldn’t stray too far from its inspirational design can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the real deal has been revealed, because it’s nearly identical to the prototype launched in Geneva a year ago.

Jaguar introduced the 2019 I-Pace EV to the world on Thursday, March 1 in Graz, Austria, at Magna Steyr’s production facility where it will be built alongside the new E-Pace subcompact luxury SUV. The introduction, which was hosted by British comedian Jack Whitehall (Fresh Meat, Bad Education, panellist on the game show A League of Their Own, host of the 2018 Brit Awards) in a similar format to the BBC’s Top Gear, took place in front of a live audience and simultaneously online, a video of which we’ve included in its entirety at the end of this story (plus loads of event photos within the gallery).

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The all-new 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV will become the world’s first electrically-powered compact luxury SUV when it arrives this summer. (Photo: Jaguar)

Still scheduled to go on sale during the second half of this year as reported here before, the new I-Pace is admittedly attractive, benefiting from trademark design cues currently in use by the just noted E-Pace, its larger F-Pace SUV sibling, as well as every other Jaguar within the iconic luxury brand’s lineup, including the beautiful F-Type sports car. Production details that differ from the I-Pace Concept include slightly reworked front and rear fascias, larger side mirrors, remoulded side window surrounds, a slightly smaller maximum wheel size of 22 inches (the concept wore 23-inch rims), and other changes both outside and within.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace’ crossover SUV styling and five-door body style should appeal to environmentally minded motorists that still need something practical. (Photo: Jaguar)

At least as importantly, of all the EVs that have come before, the I-Pace will be one of only two fully electric crossovers available when it hits the market, and the sole compact luxury SUV to be sold without an internal combustion engine (ICE). It’s in good company with respect to the former statistic, its slightly larger competitor being Tesla’s Model X that sold 1,800 units in Canada last year (if their perfectly regular 150 per month totals are to be believed). In case you were wondering, SUV-based electric vehicles are rare amongst mainstream volume brands too, with Kia’s near four-year old Soul EV finally being joined by sister brand Hyundai’s all-new Kona Electric, but that’s it.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Could the new I-Pace become the ideal long-range plug-in electric? With 386 km of potential distance between charges, it certainly leaves range anxiety in the dust. (Photo: Jaguar)

Considering the success of crossover SUVs in today’s market and newfound challenge of selling traditional cars, the new I-Pace will have a clear advantage over competitive car-based EVs, such as BMW’s i3 and Mercedes-Benz’ B-Class Electric Drive (the latter not available in Canada). Still, it will soon be forced to face off against SUV EV rivals from Audi and Mercedes that are on the way, so it had better make haste while it can.

Make haste it should. We reported on the I-Pace drivetrain in a previous story, but Jaguar provided some more exact details with its March 1 announcement. For starters, range increases from the previous maximum estimate of 355 km (220 miles) to 386 km (240 miles), which will allow most users multiple days without the need to charge, as well as the ability to head out of town on short trips. The new number is also strategic, as it stretches 5 km (3 miles) farther down the road than the base Tesla Model X 75D.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Fancy a trip to Blue Mountain or Whistler? Charge it fully and you should be able to get there and back without worry. (Photo: Jaguar)

Providing you’re easy on the throttle, maximize use of the regenerative braking system when coasting downhill, and spend as little time as possible at highway speeds (we recommend leaving during rush hour), such range would allow someone living in Toronto to drive all the way to Blue Mountain and back again with enough battery storage left over for a few side jaunts, while a wine tasting tour to Niagara on the Lake and back shouldn’t require any extra charging at all. A trip to Muskoka, on the other hand, will require a top up in Barrie or somewhere else along the way.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace promises to be very quick off the line, even faster than the Tesla Model X in 75D and 100D trim (see the video below). (Photo: Jaguar)

If you’re reading this from the West Coast, Vancouver to Whistler takes less time to travel than Toronto to Blue Mountain (and traffic is often so backed up you’ll have no problem keeping speeds down), so it should be no problem to go there, tour around a bit, and then come back in the I-Pace, while wine tasting in Kelowna is almost reachable from a single charge, theoretically at least (you’ll probably need to top up in Merritt or at best West Kelowna).

The I-Pace uses a 90-kWh liquid-cooled battery that’s housed in an aluminum casing within the floor’s structure, and requires just 40 minutes to fill from a fully drained state to 80-percent capacity when hooked up to a 100-kW DC quick charger. On a regular 240-volt Level 2 home charger you’ll need about 10 hours to achieve the same results, or slightly less than 13 hours (12.9) to fully top it up. Still, considering the range available, a single night of charging, or alternatively multiple nights during off-peak hours makes the I-Pace easy to live with.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
You’ll need to spend more than $200k to find a Tesla Model X capable of beating the I-Pace in a drag race. (Photo: Jaguar)

If access to a charger isn’t an issue, you might appreciate I-Pace performance more than its range. The British brand calls its newest creation an “all-electric performance SUV,” thanks in part to its balance of power. It uses an electric motor at each axle for standard all-wheel drive, the combination good for 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque, which means it can sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. This said, eco-enthusiasts looking for I-Pace Concept performance might be a bit disappointed.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Well that’s embarrassing! Then again, it was only a matter of time before a brand bred on motorsport beat the electric elite at their own game. (Photo: Jaguar)

The new numbers make it the quickest of all Jaguar’s “Pace” models nonetheless, the fastest new E-Pace R-Dynamic good for 6.4 seconds from zero to 100km/h, and the F-Pace S capable of the same feat in 5.5 seconds. In fact, you’ll need to step up to the 550 horsepower F-Type R Coupe in order to beat the new I-Pace off the line, although with 0.7 seconds to spare (or a full second in SVR trim) the iconic sports car doesn’t have to worry about losing its title just yet.

Likewise for top-speed bragging rights, the I-Pace maxing out at 200 km/h (124 mph), which is 30 km/h (18.6 mph) down on the slowest E-Pace, let alone the 322 km/h (201 mph) terminal velocity of the F-Type SVR Coupe. Still, unless we’re talking Tesla Model X, 200 km/h is mighty fast for any EV.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace builds on Jaguar’s trademark styling cues, and like most other models from the British brand, bases it on a lightweight aluminum framework. (Photo: Jaguar)

The Model X can manage 210 km/h (130 mph) in base 75D trim, by the way, but the I-Pace beats it from standstill to 100km/h by half a second. What’s more, the I-Pace is 0.2 seconds quicker than the mid-range Model X 100D, but keep in mind that few production cars can match the Model X P100D that can sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.

Like the F-Type and most other models in the Jaguar lineup, the I-Pace utilizes the automaker’s expertise in lightweight engineering, its monocoque body shell comprised mostly of aluminum. This said it rides on a totally unique EV architecture, the aforementioned battery actually part of the floor’s structure, which allows for much greater flexibility in designing the cabin.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
I-Pace production wheels measure up to 22 inches in diameter, for a sporty look and strong performance. (Photo: Jaguar)

“The I-Pace’s electric powertrain offered us unprecedented design freedom,” said JLR head of design Ian Callum. “Starting with a clean sheet enabled the dramatic cab-forward profile, unique proportions, and exceptional interior space—yet it is unmistakably a Jaguar. We wanted to design the world’s most desirable EV, and I’m confident we’ve met that challenge.”

First of all, the I-Pace starts out considerably longer than the E-Pace and slightly shorter than the F-Pace, slotting between Jaguar’s two conventionally powered SUVs in outward dimensions. By the numbers it’s 287 millimetres (11.3 inches) longer than the E-Pace and 49 mm (2.0 inches) shorter than the F-Pace, the latter of which is already a large compact SUV, but the I-Pace’ wheelbase is 309 mm (12.2 inches) and 116 mm (4.6 inches) longer respectively, for much greater front and rear legroom than either. What’s more, the I-Pace Concept’s roof is 84 mm (3.3 inches) lower than the E-Pace’s and nearly 86 mm (3.4 inches) down on the F-Pace, resulting in a sleeker, sportier profile. Added to this is much greater width for a sportier stance and greater side-to-side spaciousness, the I-Pace measuring 155 mm (6.1 inches) wider than the E-Pace and 69 mm (2.7 inches) more so than the F-Pace.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The battery is sandwiched into the base of the chassis, providing a low centre of gravity for improved performance and a solid base to build the rest of the car upon. (Photo: Jaguar)

The unique layout allows for a cab-forward design featuring a windshield that reaches far over the front wheels, as well as a shorter more steeply raked hood, plus shorter front and rear overhangs, with each wheel pushed out as far to its corner as possible, resulting in much greater interior volume and a strong, athletic stance.

Having much of its weight down low, thus reducing its centre of gravity, plus endowed with the advantages of the lower roof height, increased wheelbase and the more substantive track that comes from the greater width mentioned a moment ago, handling should be another I-Pace strongpoint. The standard chassis appears to use unequal-length control arms and a stabilizer bar up front, plus an Integral Link setup with a stabilizer bar in the rear, while it all floats upon a standard Active Air Suspension featuring auto-leveling as well as the ability to reduce the I-Pace’ drag by automatically lowering a half inch at highway speeds, which should combine for an exceptionally good ride quality and handling compromise. Additionally, Jaguar says the I-Pace achieves ideal 50:50 weight distribution, so we should prepare ourselves for a particularly well-balanced EV.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar’s head-of-design Ian Callum goes in-depth about the I-Pace design (see the video below). (Photo: Jaguar)

Jaguar’s driver-configurable continuously variable Adaptive Dynamics system is optional, which analyzes vertical wheel positions, vehicle acceleration, steering inputs, plus throttle and braking actuation before it automatically adjusts the suspension damping settings depending on your personal drive mode choice (Dynamic being the sportiest setting), while Adaptive Surface Response is also available, this system harvesting info from myriad sensors in order to calculate approximate adhesion levels on low-grip surfaces, such as ice, before you even apply steering input, and then after making your turn it minimizes understeer and oversteer levels by controlling throttle and braking inputs.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace cabin is ultra-spacious thanks to a completely unique EV-specific chassis design. (Photo: Jaguar)

Speaking of those binders, two levels of regenerative braking are part of the I-Pace’s standard package, with either its high or low settings providing different degrees of “engine braking” when lifting off the throttle. It’s in the nature of EVs to slow down when lifting off the accelerator pedal, but providing firmer automatic powertrain braking makes using the brake pedal less necessary, easing everyday driving and saving on brake maintenance plus otherwise expensive repair costs.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Sporty, luxurious, and filled with digital interfaces, the I-Pace will be a high-tech tour-de-force. (Photo: Jaguar)

As anyone familiar with modern-day Jaguars will appreciate, the I-Pace will combine contemporary design with rich traditional materials, not to mention state-of-the-art digital interfaces. The overall interior design is very similar to the I-Pace Concept, featuring available contrast stitched padded leather over most surfaces that aren’t finished in standard metals or hardwoods. To be specific, Jaguar will include its best Windsor leather as standard unless opting for a sport interior that features a premium textile in Dapple Grey. The four leather-covered cabin motifs will include Ebony (black), Light Oyster (light grey), Mars Red (crimson), and Siena Tan (caramel/saddle), while light beige and black headliners will be available in woven cloth or Suedecloth. Even the steering wheel rim will be available in Suedecloth or traditional leather, while decorative inlays, which highlight key areas on the instrument panel and doors, include Gloss Charcoal Ash veneer, a piano black lacquer Gloss Black, a patterned Monogram Aluminum, and Aluminum Weave Carbon Fibre.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The HVAC interface gets its own 5.5-inch display, while the gear selector and drive mode switchgear is placed down each side of the centre console buttresses. (Photo: Jaguar)

Like with other Jaguar models a head-up display system will be optional, but take note that a fully configurable 12.3-inch primary gauge cluster will be standard fare, as will two infotainment touchscreen displays that Jaguar dubs InControl Touch Pro Duo, the main top screen measuring 10 inches diagonally and a 5.5-inch secondary display, used primarily for the climate controls, sitting lower on the sloped centre console. All displays feature voice activation via Amazon’s Alexa, which should promote the use of hands-free interaction.

Speaking of the latest tech, the I-Pace’ climate control system makes use of an artificial intelligence (AI) system that senses the number of occupants on board before adjusting the temperature, while the AI system is also capable of calculating the I-Pace’ remaining range based on climate control usage, weather conditions, topography, driving style, and traffic conditions.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
Rear seating room appears spacious, and by the numbers should be especially wide for good side-to-side comfort. (Photo: Jaguar)

The HVAC controls sit atop a centre console that slants up toward the main display upon two flying buttress-style supports that house controls for the gear selector and driving mode switchgear, this at least partially paying homage to a design theme used by Jaguar in its F-Type sports car and new E-Pace utility, although the overall look of the new climate control interface, which incorporates large dials that appear as if they’re floating on top of a digital background, is more reminiscent of the new Range Rover Velar.

Interestingly, a total of 12.2 litres (0.43 cubic feet) of storage space can be found under the centre armrest, its impressive size due to the absence of a transmission tunnel, whereas the rear seating area incorporates trays for tablets and laptops, not unlike what Jaguar offers in its top-line XJ.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace sits between the subcompact E-Pace and compact F-Pace, but overall interior room is larger than both. (Photo: Jaguar)

A large panoramic sunroof will shed light over both rows of occupants, while rear passengers will have the option of another two automatic climate control zones for a total of four. Rear passengers will also be able to enjoy Jaguar’s “Click and Go” front seatback attachment system, which will allow features such as display screens to be mounted quickly and easily, while plenty of cargo area add-ons will help enhance load space functionality.

That cargo area measures 656 litres (23.1 cubic feet), incidentally, which makes it considerably larger than the E-Pace’s 577-litre (20.4 cubic-foot) rearmost compartment and similar to the F-Pace’s 685 kilos (1,510 lbs) of usable luggage space when the rear seats are upright. Jaguar hasn’t included a photo of the cargo area, but it’s likely finished nicely with high-grade carpets, chromed tie-down hooks, and split-folding rear seatbacks, hopefully in the most useful 40/20/40 configuration, or at least with a centre pass-through.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
LED headlamps are just some of the standard features we can expect. (Photo: Jaguar)

Jaguar Canada is currently touting S, SE, and HSE trims on its website (yes, you can configure everything but pricing already), but so far there’s no sign of a First Edition. Jaguar normally offers special First Edition trim in a new model’s initial year, and has already announced it will do so in the U.S., but we’ll need to wait and see if a First Edition gets added to the Canadian offering.

Of course, the I-Pace will also qualify for any provincial rebates, which are currently set to a maximum of $14,000 in Ontario, $8,000 in Quebec (which also offers a $4,000 rebate for purchasing a pre-owned EV), and $5,000 in BC, although West Coast buyers should be aware that new rules don’t allow for rebates for vehicles costing more than $77,000, and it’s likely the new I-Pace will exceed this number.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The new 2019 Jaguar I-Pace appears ready to transform the luxury EV sector when it arrives later this year. (Photo: Jaguar)

While you can place an order immediately, we won’t know exact pricing until closer to launch, but take note the automaker’s U.S. division has already confirmed it’s targeting an MSRP below $100,000 USD ($128,940 CAD at the time of writing). Jaguar will probably undercut the larger 2018 Tesla Model X that starts at $111,950 in Canada, goes up to $135, 250 for the mid-range 100D, and tops off at $199,800 for the most powerful P100D, but we can’t expect something this stylish, luxurious, well made, high-tech, performance-oriented and prestigious to be fighting it out with the $45k Chevy Bolts of the world.

Jaguar has promised that half of its vehicles will incorporate some sort of electrified drivetrain by 2025, so it’s quite possible plug-in models will eventually appear both above and below the new I-Pace.

While you’re waiting for the new I-Pace to arrive, make sure to check out this entertaining video introducing the new 2019 I-Pace at its Graz, Austria production facility (1:00:04):

Or if you don’t have an hour to dedicate to a video right now, check out this shorter 12-minute video on its features and benefits (12:21):

Or how about an even shorter 4-minute video showing the new I-Pace going head-to-head with the Tesla Model X SUV? (3:47):

Let’s face it. Luxury brands that haven’t yet anted up to the subcompact SUV segment are missing out on a lot of business, not to mention the loss of entry-level luxury buyers in the thousands, all…

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S Road Test

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
Great looking new 2018 Jaguar E-Pace in just-above-base P250 AWD S trim should prove popular with subcompact luxury SUV buyers. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Let’s face it. Luxury brands that haven’t yet anted up to the subcompact SUV segment are missing out on a lot of business, not to mention the loss of entry-level luxury buyers in the thousands, all of which could eventually move up into more profitable models.

Last year BMW sold 6,120 X1s, Mercedes-Benz delivered 4,090 GLAs, Audi purveyed 3,724 Q3s, Land Rover retailed 1,734 Range Rover Evoques, and Infiniti hawked 997 QX30s. All of these sales totals were 100 percent higher than Acura, Cadillac and Lexus achieved in this market, not to mention Volvo and Jaguar.

We’re still waiting to find out whether Acura’s Chinese-exclusive CDX will be sold here, as well as when Lexus’ just revealed UX and Cadillac’s upcoming XT4 will go on sale, the former scheduled to arrive at the Geneva motor show in a week’s time and the latter expected to debut at the New York auto show on March 28, but we know for sure the new Volvo XC40 will arrive this spring. Even better, the new 2018 Jaguar E-Pace is primed to do battle with the five aforementioned luxury marques right now, and believe me it’s a worthy contender.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
The E-Pace’ stylish lines look even sleeker in the metal. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Walking around my brand spanking new 2018 E-Pace P250 AWD S tester, I couldn’t help but noticed how much longer and leaner it looks in the metal than it does in pictures. The front fenders are especially low-slung and obviously inspired by the beautiful F-Type sports car, while the same can be said of its slender LED taillights and diffuser-style rear bumper cap that comes fitted with sporty dual exhaust pipes at each corner.

Inside, there’s even more F-Type design elements in use, the most noticeable being the centre stack and lower console combination with its leather-wrapped passenger grab handle and more traditional shift lever, rather than the rotating dial selector that wow’s newcomers to every other Jaguar model. I especially like the metal-edged rocker switch that juts up out of the console for selecting JaguarDrive modes, which once again is pulled right out Jaguar’s sports car. We’re off to a good start and I haven’t even put my foot to the floor.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
Familiar Jaguar grille gives the new E-Pace immediate premium presence. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The base P250 all-wheel drivetrain isn’t the most potent in the E-Pace lineup, but at 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque from only 1,200 rpm the 2.0-litre four-cylinder delivers considerable off-the-line jump and plenty more energy when revs climb. It felt best when the aforementioned driving mode toggle was set to its sportiest Dynamic setting before flipping the gear lever to the left “S” mode for manual actuation, this feature altering throttle response, transmission shift points, climate control efficiency and more, its other modes being Comfort, Eco, plus a Rain/Ice/Snow setting that would be ideal for clambering out of ski hill parking lots, but don’t look to Jaguar’s AWD to lure you as far into the hinterland as the Range Rover Evoque’s Terrain Response system—the two have different agendas.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
Standard LED headlamps, fashioned after the beautiful F-Type sports car, make all E-Pace models safer than most rivals. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Speaking of that Landy, the E-Pace’ shifter connects through to a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission that would be a class-exclusive if it weren’t for the more established, slightly higher end SUV this E-Pace shares much of its underpinnings with. That Evoque gets renewed with the same in-house JLR Ingenium engine lineup this year, while both SUVs can be upgraded with more potent versions of the same engine making 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, Jaguar’s version dubbed E-Pace R-Dynamic P300 AWD.

Fuel economy is competitive too, with the P250 AWD rated at 11.0 L/100km city, 8.4 highway and 9.8 combined and the P300 AWD good for a claimed 11.2, 8.6 and 10.1 respectively.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
These 19-inch multi-spoke alloys aren’t standard, but provide a sportier stance for a reasonable $1,120 cost. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This new naming scheme is my only very minor complaint, as it causes some confusion when sizing it up against its familial F-Pace, the larger compact luxury utility given 25t AWD and 30t AWD designations when fitted with the same powerplants respectively. I can only guess we’ll see Jaguar’s older naming convention completely replaced later this year, for reasons that will likely make perfect sense to the British brand yet leave everyone else dumbfounded, similarly to how other luxury manufacturers have lapsed into momentary unreasonableness with their respective model naming schemes. Still, if this is its only negative, Jaguar has a good thing going.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
Love the stylish F-Type-inspired taillights. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Back on the road my just-above-base P250 AWD S tester was more than just a good time in a straight line, it also provided the type of high-level agility expected in a modern-day Jaguar. Looking back, the F-Pace commanded respect right out of the box, even from Audi SQ5 and Porsche Macan owners, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say this high-strength steel-intensive subcompact outpaces its larger aluminum-skinned sibling, it’s easily one of the best at managing corners in its segment.

Underfoot were upgraded 19-inch alloys on Pirelli Scorpion 235/55s, an obvious advantage even in the wet, slippery, water and slush covered streets that wound their way through my city after an unexpected snowfall, allowing the little ute to grip tarmac with a little more tenacity than its base 17s would’ve otherwise provided. While wonderfully capable through fast-paced S-curves and thoroughly stable at freeway speeds, its ride was never choppy despite its shorter wheelbase, and while bordering on firm I think most should find it pleasant enough. More importantly the E-Pace felt solid and well-made, much more so than a number of others in this class.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
In some ways the E-Pace cabin is even nicer than the larger, pricier F-Pace. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Along with an extremely tight turning circle that made it easy to park, I also found the E-Pace’ ride height a little taller than most segment rivals, which aided visibility all around. Its rear windows are narrower than some, this providing the sharp profile that makes it so attractive, but rearward vision was never hampered while the view out the passengers’ side is excellent.

On that note the driver’s seating position is also superb and overall ergonomics as good as this class gets, albeit take note my tester’s seats offered no powered or even manual lumbar adjustment. Nevertheless I was able to set up my seat perfectly, and could also extend the telescopic steering wheel to the point that it was ideally positioned for optimal control, enhancing both performance and safety. This is one aspect of Jaguar ownership I appreciate more than with some other brands, such as Lexus that rarely provides enough steering wheel reach and therefore rarely fits my body type. Additionally, the E-Pace seat squabs extend more comfortably under the legs, while the backrest is carved out nicely for the lower torso.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
Premium materials abound, Jaguar smartly covering the entire dash top in soft touch synthetics this time around. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

When the driver’s seat was set up for my five-foot-eight frame I still had about five inches of open air ahead of my knees when seated in back, plus plenty of space to move my feet around when wearing winter boots, while there was room to move from side-to-side too thanks to five or so inches next to my outside shoulder, about four inches next to my hips, and more than four inches above my head. Yes, the E-Pace is truly sizeable for a subcompact SUV, meaning someone substantially taller should fit in back comfortably, making this a suitable conveyance for a small family with large teens, or a couple that regular transports adults in back.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
This analogue/digital combination gauge cluster is standard, with a full digital replacement available. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The cargo area is generously proportioned as well, measuring 577 litres (20.4 cubic feet) under the nicely finished hard shell cover behind its rear seatbacks, which makes it two litres (0.1 cubic feet) more accommodating than the Evoque and (for reference) 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 fits squarely within the subcompact luxury SUV camp.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
The E-Pace 10-inch infotainment display is the largest in its class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While accommodating, the seatbacks’ 60/40 division was a tad disappointing, as I prefer a 40/20/40-split or at least a large centre pass-through so as to lay skis down the middle while rear passengers enjoy the more comfortable window seats and rear seat heaters if equipped, but as buyers in this most affordable luxury SUV segment will know, you can’t always get what you want. They fold easily via buttons on the seat tops, and the cargo compartment is nicely finished with high-quality carpeting up the sidewalls and rear seatback, four chromed tie-down hooks at each corner, plus webbed netting and an elastic holder on the passenger’s sidewall.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
F-Type owners will feel right at home in the E-Pace thanks to a very similar centre stack and gear lever design. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

As we should expect from a Jaguar the passenger compartment is nicely finished too, although I admit to being surprised when finding some surfaces more upscale than the larger, considerably more expensive F-Pace noted earlier, particularly the dash top that’s covered in a more generous piece of soft touch synthetic. It’s even doused in high grade pliable plastic overtop the primary instruments, which is unfathomably made of hard plastic in the F-Pace. Some of that squishy stitched pleather goodness glides all the way down the side of the centre stack before wrapping around the lower console and shifter too. The front and rear door uppers are made from premium-padded composite as well, while hovering above are the segment’s usual fabric-wrapped A-pillars. Like others in the class the B- and C-pillars weren’t covered in cloth, but instead finished in hard plastic, which is also the case for the lower dash and door panels. Just the same, the E-Pace fit and finish is excellent, and the quality of most materials is on par with or above the class average.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
The E-Pace seats are inherently comfortable and its overall driver ergonomics excellent, but take note that adjustable lumbar support is optional. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This is especially true of switchgear, which is extremely tight fitting and nicely damped. I’d point to the three metal-rimmed, colour display-topped dials that make up the dual-zone auto climate control interface as personal favourites, as they incorporate a seamless minimalism that’s appealing even for the E-Pace’s premium sector that prides itself in going at least one step above its mainstream volume-branded counterpart, while metal-trimmed window switches and other niceties make it clear this little SUV represents the luxury class.

Those features are standard in all E-Pace trims incidentally, as are auto on/off LED headlamps, branded metal treadplates, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, an attractive and fully featured colour multi-information display within the gauge cluster, rain-sensing wipers, the segment’s largest 10-inch TouchPro touchscreen infotainment display with tablet-style swipe, pinch and zoom gestures, voice activation, a rearview camera, six-speaker 125-watt audio, front and rear parking sensors, plus more for just $42,700.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
The E-Pace’ rear passenger compartment is one of the roomiest in its class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

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, and more.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
Cargo space is good, but we would have appreciated 40/20/40-split seatbacks or at least a centre pass-through. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester was in second-rung S trim, which meant that for $45,200 it comes with one-inch larger nine-spoke 18-inch alloys, signature LED daytime running lights on the lower edges of each headlamp, auto-dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors with approach lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a rear centre armrest, upgraded Navigation Pro infotainment, Smartphone and Connect Pro packages, plus more.

On top of this, Jaguar added the aforementioned 19-inch alloys for $1,120, Santorini black metallic paint for $670, heated front seats for $510 (yes, shocking these aren’t standard in Canada), an $820 Cold Climate package with a heatable steering wheel, a heated windscreen, heated windshield washer jets, and a higher grade soft grain leather steering wheel, a head-up display for $1,020, an Ebony Morzine (black) headliner for $410, three rear power sockets for $230, a powered liftgate for $360, and Configurable Dynamics for $360, bringing the total up to $50,860 before freight and fees.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
Jaguar’s new in-house turbocharged four-cylinder Ingenium engine lineup is an E-Pace highlight, this unit making 246-hp and the optional mill good for 296-hp. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While I was happy the way it was outfitted, if this were my personal ride I’d be more than tempted to go with a sportier looking set of 19-, 20- or 21-inch rims that range in price from the same $1,120 as my upgraded wheels to $3,670 for the largest on offer, while the $1,180 panoramic sunroof would be a must-have add-on. Audio quality is important to me too, and while the base 125-watt six-speaker stereo was passable I’d upgrade to either the $410 380-watt 11-speaker Meridian system or the $1,230 825-watt 15-speaker surround sound alternative, while the $570 fully configurable digital gauge cluster would be a good choice too. That said adding auto high beams for only $260 is a no-brainer, as are any number of other options available with this S trim, or you may want to consider moving up to the SE package or for that matter R-Dynamic or First Edition trims. I cover all available trims, packages, options, prices and more in a separate E-Pace news story that I recommend you check out, as I’ve got to cut this review off now before it gets bogged down in minutiae.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD S
It’s easy to recommend the new 2018 Jaguar E-Pace. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I could also bore you with fine details like the dual powered USBs, 12-volt charger, and micro SIM card slot in the velvet-lined front centre console bin, multiple rubberized trays for stowing phones up front, handy webbed pockets on the backsides of the seats, and more, but suffice to say that Jaguar has put a lot of time and effort into making sure its new E-Pace targets the wants and needs of today’s compact luxury SUV buyer, which should help it pull buyers away from those competitors named earlier, some that have been around too long without updates and therefore aren’t as compelling.

The E-Pace is as fresh as fresh gets, impressively finished, well equipped for the money, plenty of fun to drive, and great looking, so it should definitely be on your shortlist.

Jaguar’s F-Type sports car needs no introduction, but you may not realize this 2018 model has gone through a much more comprehensive mid-cycle makeover than mere appearances suggest. Along with subtle…

2018 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe Road Test

There's no more iconic modern-day Jaguar than the F-Type. It's the heart and soul of the famed British brand, just like the sensational XK, elegant XJ-S, legendary E-Type, and revered XK150/140/120 were in decades' past. For good reason the F-Type has become one of the best-selling sports cars in the premium sector, and likewise it goes without saying that any opportunity afforded me within its cockpit is met with enthusiasm.

I was especially excited to get my hands on this 2018 model, as it represents the F-Type's first-ever mid-cycle refresh. Premium sports cars don't get made over as often as volume-branded alternatives, this being the fifth model year of its availability, so its changes were welcome even if ultimately subtle in application. Look closely and you'll see the new standard LED headlights that add a premium-level, high-tech appearance and better nighttime visibility no matter the trim, while the front bumper and lower fascia design features new air intakes with Read Full Story