Jaguar E-Pace 2018 Review

Versus the competition
A small luxury SUV priced closer to competition one class larger, the E-Pace has undeniable strengths but notable faults, many of the latter tied to its size.
The E-Pace is Jaguar's second all-new SUV in as many model years. Built off a platform that underpins the Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport from Jaguar's Land Rover affiliate, the E-Pace slots below the F-Pace in Jaguar's nascent SUV lineup. All-wheel drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine are standard; a higher-output turbo four-cylinder is optional. Seven trim levels range from a base model that starts at just less than $40,000 to R-Dynamic variants priced well into the $50,000s. We drove one of the latter, a well-equipped E-Pace R-Dynamic HSE.
Peachy-Keen Styling
Bearing a hodgepodge of cues from other Jaguars ranging from the F-Type to the F-Pace, the E-Pace looks affably stubby, and that's no easy task for what it is. Small-footprint SUVs are often awkward by design, with truncated profiles that end up as jacked-up hatchbacks or too-tall gumdrops. The E-Pace is in the latter camp, with F-Pace height but a wheelbase and overall length clipped by 7.5 inches and more than a foot, respectively. That footprint is closer in size to subcompact luxury SUVs like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 even though Jaguar prices the E-Pace to compete against rival brands' larger compact offerings (think Q5, X3 and XC60).
Quick ... Eventually
The E-Pace is quick from a standstill and revs energetically, but a lethargic transmission hampers performance once you're in motion. Standard with all variants, the nine-speed automatic can hunt for gears or delay kickdown altogether when you prod the gas to pass slower traffic or accelerate out of a turn, and little improvement comes from sportier settings on the drive mode selector. At least the high-output four-cylinder in the R-Dynamic we tested (296 horsepower, 295 pounds-feet of torque) packs acceptable oomph from as low as 2,300 rpm or so, but on part-throttle acceleration, the drivetrain often tries to add speed with such power rather than downshifting.
The Inside
The wraparound interior sports straightforward controls and a handsome design reminiscent of the F-Type's cockpit, but its confining space drew complaints from editors and front passengers alike. Hemmed in by an outcropping for the center controls, the driver's knee clearance is limited, and the protruding upper dashboard robs front-passenger space. The backseat, by contrast, is more generous than the E-Pace's exterior size might suggest, with acceptable knee clearance, good headroom and a comfortably high seating position.
The E-Pace has not yet been crash-tested. Standard equipment includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking at speeds up to 50 mph (37 mph for its pedestrian-detection function). Optional high-speed automatic emergency braking works at speeds up to 99 mph. Other options include a blind spot warning system with steering intervention, 360-degree camera systems, self-park steering, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control and lane departure steering intervention — albeit not true lane-centering steering, a feature many competitors now offer.

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