Sun. Oct 21st, 2018
2018 Jaguar E-PACE

2018 Jaguar E-PACE: First Drive Review

Automaker Jaguar Land Rover already produces a full line of Land Rover SUVs, so logic would dictate that Jaguar does not need to add SUVs to its lineup. But the first Jaguar crossover, F-PACE, easily leapt to the top of Jag sales charts after joining the lineup last year.

2018 Jaguar E-PACE

While the Land Rover pedigree stems from a history of extreme off-road vehicles, Jaguar crossovers are poised to spring from the sporting character of Jaguar’s heritage. Thirteen inches shorter than F-PACE, the new E-PACE slots between Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport, aimed at the fast-growing luxury compact crossover segment.

Sporty Design

The E-PACE design is heavily influenced by Jaguar’s beautiful sport coupe, the F-TYPE. Exterior design elements that reflect the F-TYPE include swept-back headlights, side window graphics and a tapered cabin to emphasize the rear-fender haunches.

Model Lineup

The E-PACE lineup is divided into two segments based on engine choice: The Core line is powered by a 246-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, and the R-Dynamic line draws power from a 296-horsepower version of the same 2.0-liter engine.

E-PACE R-Dynamic

In addition to the S or SE standard equipment, the E-PACE R-Dynamic adds the 296-horsepower engine, black shift paddles, Active Driveline, R-Dynamic bumpers, a gloss black grille, a black front skidplate, front fog lights, sport seats, an R-Dynamic steering wheel, metal scuff plates, an ebony headliner and bright metal pedals.

Under the Hood

The standard engine for the E-PACE is a new 2.0-liter Ingenium 4-cylinder unit producing 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, combined with a ZF 9-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive with a torque-vectoring system to distribute torque between the front and rear axles based on driving conditions.

Body Structure and Suspension

The architecture of the new Jaguar E-PACE employs a combination of ultra-high-strength steels, lightweight aluminum and composites to create a stiff, strong and lightweight structure. The hood, front fenders, roof and liftgate are aluminum for weight savings, while the structure that supports the instrument panel is made of lightweight magnesium.

Competition

At first glance, the E-PACE would seem to be aimed at the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC — three of the most popular compact luxury SUVs on the market. However, Jaguar sees the competitive set being smaller models such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Infiniti QX30.

Rating: 8.5

Jaguar E-PACE is a dynamic, sporty new addition to the luxury compact crossover segment.
Pros: Sports car design, SUV package; fun to drive; sport sedan-like.
Cons: Adding options gets expensive; Blind Spot Assist not standard on all trims; new entry in competitive segment.