THINK Jaguar and you’re likely to imagine two things. It’ll either be a sports car like the classic E-Type or current F-Type or one of its elegant saloons like the XJ or the old Mark 2. What almost certainly won’t spring to mind is a crossover like the F-Pace or this smaller E-Pace.
As with other companies known for very specific models, most notably Porsche, Jaguar has something of a problem with the crossover boom. Its F-Pace and E-Pace are doing very well in showrooms and now account for the majority of its sales. But what does that mean longer-term for Jaguar as a whole and also for its public image among non-enthusiasts and enthusiasts alike?
That was a large part of why we wanted to live with the E-Pace for a longer period, spending some time with it and seeing if it could not only do justice to that emotive badge on its bonnet, but also if it could cut the mustard as a proper family car. This latter point is a crucial one too as, along with the Volvo XC40, Audi Q3 and the BMW X1, the small premium crossover market is fast becoming a fierce battle.
The sector might be competitive, but we think the E-Pace has got its rivals licked in terms of styling – only the XC40 comes close. In all honesty, we think this baby Jaguar looks superb – better than the larger F-Pace in fact – with its chunky, squat lines and sleek lights. The only downside of that was its width which we were often very wary of through tighter street restrictions.
Under the bonnet is the E-Pace’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine with 240bhp in this guise and linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s enough to get it from 0 to 60mph in 7.0 seconds and on to a 139mph top speed, although in reality