Model on test: £46,780
Back in 2017, I drove the Jaguar F-Pace; their big, 4×4 SUV offering. Ahead of the review, I was a little perturbed. Simply down to the fact that I didn’t feel an SUV should be Jaguar territory. I knew every manufacturer was doing it, and it was only a matter of time before Jag followed suit, but I had it in my head that it wasn’t what the iconic British sports car manufacturer should be about.
Thankfully, I was wrong and it was a stunning car. But the E-Pace… the smaller SUV offering… what would that be like?
Once again, Jag have pulled it off. Plenty of space, and some great lines make it good looking as well as practical, and while the two-litre turbocharged engine in my review car was good, I think the V6 would have made it much better. Not on the fuel economy front, in fairness, but in performance.
From the outside, it looks like an SUV, but only from the ground up. That sounds odd, so let me explain. If you look at the car from, say, half way up the doors and up, it looks quite sporty. It’s only when you add in the big tyres, high suspension and all round stocky appearance, that it takes on the SUV look. Its stance is very much more that of a sporty car than a Chelsea tractor.
I think the black alloys on the model I tested really had an impact – with the grey (almost white) paintwork, it really stood out. And with the twin exhausts and hunkered down rear, it looked properly ‘Jag-like’ from the back.
Space-wise inside: a very strong contender. Lots of space for the kids, comfort and boot space all in a package that didn’t seem too large. In fact, manoeuvring this around towns and car parks didn’t cause any issues, and the noise from the exhaust was reassuring to the petrol head in me.
The interior layout was good – lots of nice toys and gadgets as you’d expect, although not all as standard… the model I tested was a shade under £47k, but with this model (with engine and trim) starting at £40k, that’s a lot of extras. Those black alloys I mentioned? they’ll set you back slightly north of £1,500. Want a glass panoramic roof? another £970. The upgraded sound system? Just over £1,000.
So some pricey options, not all completely necessary, but in fairness, I’d go with them. If you’ve gone for a pale paint colour, the black alloys really work well, and the kids always love a panoramic roof. As for the stereo – it was amazing. With the V6 power unit, I’d probably pass as the noise from that engine and exhaust would more than compensate, but with this engine… yep; take the stern upgrade.
One thing I’ll criticise, is Jaguar’s steering wheel. With 14 buttons as well as the flappy paddle gear shifts, it’s a bit busy for my liking. But all in, that’s a fairly innocuous downside.
Would I buy an E-Pace if I had the budget? Comparatively from what I’ve reviewed recently, you’d be looking at the Volvo XC60 and even allowing for the higher spec that came with, the Jag was simply more fun. Arguably a little less practical, but when you’ve made the concession that your family situation needs an SUV, why not enjoy it and choose the big cat? I would.