2018 Jaguar E-PACE
Good things come in small packages
I just spent another week with the impressive new F-PACE SUVs, this 2018 model featuring the British luxury brand’s newest Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder that’s good for 247 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. I imagine this new engine will feel right at home in the all-new, smaller E-PACE SUV, which will soon be available.
Like with the larger F-PACE, the new gasoline-powered turbo-four found in the E-PACE P250 AWD comes in a more potent state of tune, the top-line version dubbed E-PACE R-Dynamic P300 AWD and capable of 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. I’ll make sure to petition Jaguar Canada for one of these hyper-tuned versions when the automaker’s earmarked press units finally join the western fleet, but only time will tell how lucky we Vancouver journos are. Still, both E-PACE powertrains should provide plenty of driving thrills, and just like its bigger F-PACE sibling, the more compact model should pull just as many eyeballs when zooming past.
Some E-PACE design cues were obviously inspired by the British brand’s revered F-Type sports car, particularly its sweptback headlight clusters. Its taillights are wholly unique, however, and promise to be Jaguar signatures in the future.
Stylish E-PACE provides impressive value
On that note, I find sporty elegance works ideally in SUV form. Unusual for this somewhat jaded auto scribe, I kept doing the driveway pirouette when walking away from my recent F-PACE tester, catching one final nighttime glance at its tasteful trademark Jaguar grille, sporty fascia vents, alluring fender curves and racy R-Design upgrades. Fuji White made a nice contrast against this model’s blackened trim and red/green R-Design grille crest, as it also does with the new E-PACE that looks just as alluring despite its smaller dimensions and sizeable savings.
You can get into an E-PACE for just $42,700 plus freight and fees, a significant $7,550 less than a base F-PACE, which means that owning a Jaguar SUV just became a lot more affordable. It’s not like it’s a barebones SUV either, the base model one of the only vehicles in its class to boast standard LED headlamps, plus pushbutton ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone auto climate control, a backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, not to mention the largest standard infotainment display in its class at 10 inches.
The base engine is one of the most powerful in its segment too, and comes standard with a class-leading nine-speed automatic transmission featuring auto start/stop that temporarily shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling in order to save fuel and reduce emissions. Also benefiting your wallet and the environment, the powertrain features an Eco mode too, while its standard Normal, Sport, Rain, Ice and Snow driving modes improve both performance and safety. Likewise, optional paddle shifters enhance the E-PACE’s driver engagement, which should be at the top of its class if brand DNA passed down from its larger sibling has anything to do with it.
Small on the outside yet big on the inside
The E-PACE rides on a modified version of Jaguar Land Rover’s “D8” platform architecture, which already supports the similarly sized Range Rover Evoque and considerably larger Land Rover Discovery Sport. Size-wise it sits in between the two, measuring 4,395 millimetres long, 1,984 mm wide with the side mirrors folded, 2,088 mm wide with those mirrors extended, 1,649 mm tall, and rides on a 2,681-mm wheelbase. This makes it 24 mm longer than the Evoque with a 21-mm longer wheelbase, as well as 84 mm wider and 14 mm taller than Range Rover’s smallest, while it’s 195 mm shorter than the Discovery Sport with a 60-mm shorter wheelbase, plus 85 mm narrower and 75 mm closer to the ground—and we’re not talking ground clearance which measures a considerable 204 mm.
On that note the E-PACE can haul up to 577 litres of cargo under the cargo cover behind its rear seatbacks, which makes it two litres more accommodating than the Evoque and 349 litres less so than the Discovery Sport. The E-PACE has 685 litres of cargo space when the area above the cargo cover is included, while folding its 60/40-split rear seatbacks down ups the ante to 1,487 litres, which once again is exactly two litres more than the Evoque albeit 407 litres less than the Disco Sport. In other words, the E-PACE is more squarely in the subcompact luxury SUV camp than the compact, which is exactly where Jaguar needs it.
Performance an E-PACE strong point
Although the E-PACE shares some architectural underpinnings with the Evoque, its rear suspension is completely unique. Due to the brand's on-road performance demands, the E-PACE incorporates a downsized version of the F-PACE’ rear suspension design, while aluminum steering knuckles and aluminum front suspension components improve geometry while lowering unsprung weight. Specifically, the E-PACE uses a McPherson strut front suspension with lower control arms, coil springs, passive shock absorbers, and a passive anti-roll bar, plus an integral multi-link rear setup with coil springs, passive dampers and a passive anti-roll bar.
Additionally, the electric rack and pinion steering system has been solidly mounted to the SUV for better feel. What’s more, the E-PACE’ fenders and tailgate are formed from aluminum in order to reduce its curb weight to 1,893 kilos. Such weight reductions help launch the base E-PACE from standstill to 100km/h in just 7.0 seconds, while it tops out a heady 230 km/h. The sportier of the two powertrains sends the little SUV from zero to 100km/h in a mere 6.4 seconds before attaining a top speed of 243 km/h, which is truly impressive performance for this class.
While we’re talking numbers, the base E-PACE 250 AWD is rated at 11.0 L/100km in the city, 8.4 on the highway and 9.8 combined, whereas the E-PACE 300 AWD gets an 11.2 city, 8.6 highway and 10.1 combined five-cycle Transport Canada rating. Again, these are very good results when factoring in the E-PACE’ performance.
Luxurious interior comes well equipped with standard features
Inside, the E-PACE provides a dual-cockpit front seat layout divided by a wrap-around centre console featuring a prominent flying buttress-style leather-wrapped grab handle on the passenger side, the lower console completed by a regular shift lever rather than the usual rotating dial selector. Like some of the E-PACE’ exterior details, the interior design and layout resembles the F-Type more closely than its other siblings, which is just fine by me.
What’s more, the driver and front passenger aren’t the only pampered occupants, because the rear seating area appears nicely finished and roomy, while the E-PACE promises to lead competitors in connectivity with up to five USB outlets, four 12-volt sockets, and 4G WiFi that’s capable of supporting up to eight devices, the latter standard on all trim levels above base.
Speaking of features, the E-PACE strikes a good value proposition due to standard all-wheel drive, a continuously variable semi-active suspension, braking system-based torque vectoring, LED headlamps, branded metal treadplates, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, JaguarDrive dynamic mode selection with four settings including Normal, Dynamic, Eco, and Rain/Ice/Snow that alters throttle response, transmission shift points, climate control efficiency and more, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone auto climate control, 10-inch TouchPro touchscreen infotainment with tablet-style swipe, pinch and zoom gestures, voice activation, a rearview camera, plus front and rear parking sensors.
Additionally, even the base E-PACE gets plenty of advanced driver assistance systems such as semiautonomous low-speed cruise control that automatically adjusts engine and brake settings to help drivers maintain control on slippery surfaces, autonomous emergency braking from 5 km/h to 80 km/h for frontal collisions and 5 km/h to 60 km/h for pedestrians, lane keeping assist, All Surface Progress Control, Hill Launch Assist, a Driver Condition Monitor that sounds an alert if the driver is getting drowsy, plus more.
Reasonably priced E-PACE upgrade packages will no doubt be popular
As impressively equipped as the base E-PACE comes, I expect many buyers will want to upgrade to one of two mid-range trims. Second-rung S trim, which is priced at $45,200, adds unique 18-inch alloys, signature LED daytime running lights, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors with integrated approach lamps, powered front seats, leather upholstery, upgraded Navigation Pro infotainment, a 360-degree parking monitor, semi-autonomous Park Assist, and more, while the $48,200 SE includes everything from the S plus 19-inch alloys, 350-mm front brakes, auto high beams, 11-speaker 380-watt Meridian audio, a powered liftgate, adaptive cruise control, high-speed emergency braking, blindspot monitoring, and more.
Along with the extra engine performance, the $51,000 E-PACE R-Dynamic adds an Active Driveline system incorporating an electronic rear differential with wet-plate clutches that send power rear-to-front (with up to 100-percent to the front for improved fuel economy, and a return to AWD in only 0.3 seconds), side-to-side, and even to a single wheel if need to improved traction and/or handling, plus a unique front fascia featuring a gloss black grille insert, deeper corner air intakes, body-coloured side sills, a lower rear bumper with a gloss black valence, satin chrome exterior trim, 18-inch alloys, an R-Dynamic sport steering wheel with paddles, bright metal pedals, 10-way powered sport seats with unique leather upholstery, standard navigation, yet more advanced driver assist systems, plus most of the features included with the previous S package as standard.
The R-Dynamic can also be had in $54,000 SE and $57,300 HSE trims, the former adding 19-inch alloys, 14-way powered front seats with memory, and similar features to the previously noted SE package, while HSE trim includes 20-inch alloys, proximity access with a gesture activated liftgate, 18-way powered front seats with memory, and perforated Windsor leather upholstery with contrast stitching.
E-PACE First Edition provides special appeal
Fingers crossed, I’m hoping to spend a little time in the $59,000 E-PACE First Edition that provides unique design treatments such as Caldera Red paint, a Black Exterior Package, and satin grey-finish 20-inch alloys outside, plus Ebony Windsor leather upholstery with Flame Red contrast stitching, an Ebony Suedecloth headliner, and special floor mats printed in a jaguar fur pattern, plus the same pattern found on the shoulder-height seat tags, while it also includes a standard panoramic sunroof and everything featured in the R-Dynamic HSE as well as Land Rover’s new Activity Key wristband that lets you leave your keys in the car while going on a hike, skiing, hitting the beach, or doing some other kind of activity that might potentially make finding lost keys impossible.
On top of all these trims are plenty of additional packages and options, allowing you to personalize your E-PACE to your hearts content. Whether opting for a base or fully equipped model, the E-PACE’ attractive styling, exciting performance, advanced engineering, luxurious interior, impressive active safety equipment, and strong value proposition will give it a leg up over its competition. I’m certainly looking forward to spending some quality time with the new E-PACE when it arrives in Vancouver press fleet, and will be sure to share my experiences here.
The E-PACE will be available at Jaguar Vancouver starting March 2018. To find out more, contact Jaguar Vancouver at (604) 738-5577 or drop by the showroom at 1730 Burrard Street, Vancouver.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Jaguar
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.