Mixed in with Jaguar's 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 10.1-inch infotainment screen is the sports car's driver-oriented layout and electric shifter (rejoice, ye that dislike the retracting rotary shifter). This latest crossover confidently casts its own shadow with a design theme paralleling that of the stunning Jaguar F-type coupe. There's loads more to tell, so expect to hear more on the E-Pace soon.
The E-Pace has been undergoing development testing for 25 months across four continents ahead of the auto performing its record setting leap. The 2-litre 150bhp diesel with front-wheel-drive will be popular, I think, but there is always the AWD 180PS version or the 300bhp petrol. The base motor makes 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, and puts that power to the ground via a standard all-wheel-drive system.
Manual E-PACE models are available in other markets but we'll only have the option of the ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic. Yet all E-Paces bar the entry-level diesel come with four-wheel drive as standard, so this less significant than it first seems.
"We wanted to give E-Pace a very different look from F-Pace", said Wayne Burgess, the man who heads up the design team behind it. Sculpted rear fenders and Jaguar's new chicane graphics visible on the lower door panels and within the rear taillamps accentuate the design. Enter the E-Pace, a vehicle that sits below the F-Pace in Jaguar's line-up, and is meant to capitalise on the 23% growth Jaguar is expecting to see in the compact SUV market between now and 2020.
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Jaguar is not heavily pushing its baby SUV's off-road ability and while the 4WD system should be handy on loose surfaces, it's the so-called Active Driveline's ability to push all drive to the rear for more sporty handling, or 100 per cent to the front wheels for fuel-efficiency on a cruise that makes plenty of sense. The idea of taking the front end of F-Type and applying it to a compact SUV was one of several ideas we tried, but we liked the challenge of it.
Finbar McFall, Jaguar's Global Product Director, says that the vehicle will attract "typically couples, maybe young families", and that 80% of E-Pace buyers will be new to the Jaguar brand. In addition to the more powerful 296-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, the E-Pace R-Dynamic models offer a more sophisticated active driveline that can send nearly all the engine torque to either front or rear axles in extreme conditions.
Inside the vehicle, the E-Pace is equipped with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that has a customizable home screen. And there are also further 12v charging points in the front, the centre console, and even the boot. Other neat treats include an optional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that's customizable and can almost fill the screen with a navigation display, much like Audi's Virtual Cockpit. It might not find a place on teenager bedroom walls like the Ford Escort Cosworth, Aston Martin DB9 or other highlights from Callum's CV, but the E-Pace is certainly pretty. Available only in the first year of sales, it shares specification with the R-Dynamic line and gets unique First Edition carpet mats and tread plates.
The customers, Jaguar hopes, will be younger than average and as a result the E-Pace's price is lower too, starting at £28,500.style="text-align: center;"