The company's Jaguar F-Pace has become the fastest-selling model in the company's history. So it comes as no surprise that the British brand is keen to follow up its first SUV with another, even more affordable offering, the E-Pace.
The E-Pace is a very different beast from its larger brother. It is based on the same chassis as the Range Rover Evoque, so it is basically a front-wheeled-drive car adapted to a four-wheel-drive set-up, and with a transverse engine fitted.
The cabin is much further forward than on the F-Pace, headlights are more similar to those of the F-Type sports car and a much shorter bonnet. The overall profile of the Jaguar E-Pace does a good job of disguising what is a fairly lengthy overhang beyond the front wheels.
Jaguar will be launching the E-Pace with a choice of Ingenium four-cylinder engines. The two petrol motors – a 247bhp and the 296bhp P300 model – are available only with four-wheel drive and JLR's nine-speed automatic transmission.
Most of the diesel engines emit less than 150g/km of CO2 and the most efficient – The front-drive, manual D150 on 17-inch wheels – manages to get down to 124g/km. As with the Evoque, no six-cylinder engines are available. Nor is there any realistic prospect of a plug-in hybrid version being introduced any time soon.
There are two model ranges: Regular – also known as ‘core’ by Jaguar insiders – and R-Dynamic, which gets a body-coloured door cladding, a different front bumper design, front foglights and twin tailpipes; and then a line-up of four trim levels within each.
The entry-level editions get a heated windscreen and heated door mirrors as standard, plus 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, and front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
If you want to step up to S trim you can switch to 18-inch wheels and add features including electric folding door mirrors with puddle light, electric adjustments on the front seats, leather upholstery and navigation. SE's additional features include LED headlights with auto high beam assist, 19-inch wheels, a Wi-Fi hotspot and adaptive cruise control with queue assist.
Then there is the HSE, which brings 20-inch wheels, 18-way adjustment on the front seats, higher-quality Windsor leather upholstery, a digital instrument panel and gesture control for the powered tailgate.
Prices are roughly in line with those of the competition, which includes the Mercedes GLA and GLC, Audi’s Q3 and the BMW X1 and X3. The cheapest E-Pace is that lean diesel, which starts at less than £29,000.
An HSE with the mid-spec diesel engine like the one that can be seen in the gallery goes for just over £42,000, while the First Edition, featuring the lower-power P250 petrol and on sale for the first year of the E-Pace’s life, manages to nudge £50,000. The last of those choices is one for ultra-keen early adopters only. The key question, really, is whether the engineers have managed to turn what is inherently a front-wheel-drive SUV into something that still feels like a Jaguar. Well, they have.
This is to say that the E-Pace is not the last word in driver engagement or agility, but that does deliver more of those qualities than the norm for a small SUV.
There are plenty of useful cubbyholes and deep door pockets for storage, and the central 'bin' between the front seats are enormous; at more than eight litres, it has enough capacity for four large water bottles.
As standard, you get a pair of USB sockets and four 12-volt sockets fitted, but you can sacrifice one of the 12V inputs as an option, to gain three more USB ports for rear occupants.
Check out the video for Jaguar's official release video.