Does Jaguar’s compact SUV reprise the triumphs of its big bro or does the E-Pace get an E-plus? We’ve scoured the first reviews to find out…
Jaguar has gone from offering no SUVs to having two in as many years and the E-Pace is the smaller and younger sibling of the F-Pace – a World Car of the Year winner and the fastest-selling Jaguar ever. So no pressure then.
“Another smash hit”
Awarding it four out of five stars, Auto Express (AE) fully expects the E-Pace to be “another smash hit for Jaguar” and hailed it as a “great blend of agility and comfort with decent cruising refinement and impressive practicality”, not to mention “fun to drive – exactly how a Jaguar should be”.
So that’s a positive start, but AE did find flaws in the baby Jag, criticising the infotainment as not nearly as convincing as the rest of the car. Certain variants, such as the HSE, also seemed too pricey for a car of this size and if a more affordable version was available, AE admitted it may have dished out a fifth and final star.
How does it drive?
Driving the D180 E-Pace (a mid-spec 178bhp two-litre Ingenium diesel on 20-inch wheels), AE was impressed by the car’s hushed nature, with the engine sitting happily at just below 2,000rpm during a motorway cruise.
However, pressing the throttle a tad more resulted in tyre roar and wind rush around the side mirrors. This led AE to suggest that an SE model on 19-inch rims would be a sweeter compromise.
Behind the wheel of the P300 HSE E-Pace, Evo’s Antony Ingram dished out possibly the E-Pace’s weakest rating of 2.5 stars. While he praised the car’s steering response, grip and balance, he dissed the cabin as “drab” before laying into the “dreary engine and inevitable ubiquity”.
In fact, Antony took major issue with Jaguar’s money-chasing, writing “[the E-Pace] is sure to sell well, but those buyers will not be getting a class-leading vehicle. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) already has a full lineup of SUVs on offer through the Land Rover brand itself [but] Jaguar wants a slice of that growing pie too”.
The four-pot Ingenium petrol engine didn’t do it for the Evo man either, who deemed the unit as “incongruous”, writing: “The F-type just about gets away with it, thanks to a deep and fruity exhaust note masking an almost absence of engine noise, [but] there’s no such luck for the E-Pace, which reverts to the same flat delivery and tuneless drone you get in any other car with this engine.” Ouch!
With such a scathing account from the usually polite and mild-mannered Ingram, you’d expect Top Gear (TG) to tear the E-Pace to pieces – however, the car received one of its strongest scores here (8/10).
“It’s the most handsome, best-handling car in its class and Jag’s best interior, aside from the XJ,” TG reported, with its ‘against’ section consisting of a price gripe and a criticism of the car’s firm ride.
Elsewhere, Carwow praised the E-Pace’s smart looks, reasonable practicality and self-driving tech, but felt it wasn’t as fun to drive as it could’ve been, while the interior wasn’t premium enough to warrant the asking price.
Autocar – 3.5 stars
Top Gear – 8/10
Evo – 2.5 stars
Carwow – 6/10
Auto Express – 4 stars
Does Jaguar have another World Car of the Year on its hands? No. This year’s awards have already come and gone without a single longlist nomination for Jaguar and the reviews outline why.
Yes, the E-Pace will sell by the lorryload, but reading these reviews, you can’t help feel that Jaguar has missed an opportunity here.
So what do you think of the E-Pace? Let us know by leaving a comment below!