Jaguar is a British car manufactuer with extensive history in racing.
They’re also known to have built some of the most beautiful sports coupes in automotive history. Jaguar had been strictly building coupes and sedans, up until recent years when they finally decided to make their mark in the crossover market. The subcompact crossover class has become a lucrative segment, making all of the premium manufacturers put their hands into the pot of gold.
To get their share of gold, Jaguar released their first SUV, the F-Pace with great success. To follow up with this success, they announced an entry into the heavily contested segment of subcompact crossovers with the E-Pace in 2018. We got up close and personal with the 2019 Jaguar E-Pace P300 R-Dynamic HSE to try and determine if Jaguar has been successful in shrinking their winning formula into a compact package.
The E-Pace is no exception to Jaguar’s reputation; it is easily the best-looking luxury compact crossover in the market today. The E-Pace has taken many styling cues from the F-Pace (reviewed here), as well as the breathtaking F-Type sports coupe. Up front we have a large signature honeycomb grill set high and center with large air ducts on both sides. A beautiful pair of stretched headlights that elongate the front end. The grill and headlights work together giving the E-Pace a sleek but brutish front fascia.
The rear quarter is one of the most beautiful angles, with a muscular shoulder line and a sloping roofline for a sports car profile. The rear is finished with long horizontal taillights and lower valence with embedded exhaust tips, mimicking what you would see in the F-Type (reviewed here). The result is a compact crossover with the physique of an exotic sports coupe. It looks like a big cat hunched over and ready to pounce on its prey.
Does this baby jag have the athleticism to back up its looks? Yes, to an extent. We still have to remember the E-Pace is limited by its 1,649mm ride height and 4,000 pound weight. To add to its sportiness, Jaguar has done an excellent job with the driving position allowing a wide range of adjustability. I was able to sit low and close into the chassis with the steering pulled close to me as I would in a low-slung sports car. Steering weight is perfect on center with excellent response; quick and direct for this class of vehicle.
The E-Pace’s suspension tuning has a wide range of adjustability with Normal and Dynamic drive modes, but overall tuning is on the stiffer side for the segment without being too thrashy like the Mercedes-Benz GLA (reviewed here). Hence, the E-Pace has good agility but comfort is sacrificed a little bit.it still rides well and is reasonably comfortable, but it is aimed towards the driver who prioritizes sportiness over absolute comfort.
Despite being the baby of the Jaguar line, Jaguar has given the E-Pace a potent powertrain. In P300 trim, the E-Pace has a potent 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that produces 294 horsepower at 5,500RPM and 295 lb-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 4,500RPM. Unfortunately this powerplant does not provide the same sound track as other Jags, but it still has a deep purr when you give it the beans. Despite peak torque coming on at 1,500RPM, the engine still feels sluggish at the lower end of the rev range.
There is a bit of turbo lag, but once the turbo kicks in this cat sprints fast. It takes 6.4 seconds to get from 0-100 km/h, rather impressive for a compact crossover. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission; the shifts are smooth and paddle operation is responsive. The gearbox does not always keep the car in its power band. It is not the most refined drivetrain on the market, but it suits the characteristic of a sporty crossover.
With such small displacement and so much power, the E-Pace still manages respectable efficiency ratings. Jaguar rates the fuel consumption at 11.2L/100km city and 8.6L/100km highway for a combined 10.1L/100km. During my week of testing, I managed to observe an average of 11.3L/100km with mostly city driving. With its performance tuning, the engine requires 91-octane premium fuel for its 68.5-litre tank. Considering the performance output from a four-cylinder engine carrying 4,000 pounds, these figures are pretty good.
When you get into the driver seat of the E-Pace, you are lavished with supple leather all around. The leather covers most of the door, dash and center console. High quality brush aluminum trim pieces look like jewelry spread around the interior. The seats really set the E-Pace apart as a luxury vehicle. Not only is the leather supple, but the comfort it provides is some of the best. The driver’s seat allows for a great driving position as well as providing excellent support from the bolsters that absorb some of the harshness from the sporty tuning. Everything you touch in the cabin is soft and high quality.
The infotainment display from the Jaguar InControl Touch Pro touchscreen is vibrant with a pleasant interface design, but the fixed display is tilted at an angle that makes it nearly impossible to see in direct sunlight. The plastic shroud around the screen is the only part of the cabin which that uses subpar materials, which takes away a bit from all the beautiful materials use all around it. Connectivity is complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as the proprietary InControl apps.
Safety features are also at abundance in the E-Pace. There is emergency braking, lane keep assist and driver condition monitors to ensure the driver is aware of surroundings at all times. There is also adaptive cruise control with speed limiter and queue assists to make cruising at any speed the most relaxing.. All of these safety features leave the driver and passengers feeling secure and relaxed when driving the E-Pace.
The E-Pace starts at $49,500 at base trim, while the top-trim P300 HSE starts at $58,500. Our tester tops out at $69,640 with $11,140 worth of options. Competitors to the E-Pace include the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 and BMW X1. The E-Pace easily surpasses these three with a more responsive powertrain, nicer interior materials and better dynamics. The dark horse in the segment is the Volvo XC40 (reviewed here), which is a segment leader if comfort is your priority.
The 2019 Jaguar E-Pace P300 R-Dynamic lives up to Jaguar’s standard of being a head turner with its stunning design, excellent interior comfort and quality. While it lacks a bit of refinement, the E-Pace is easily one of the more interesting choices in a sea of otherwise-similar crossovers. The baby Jag lives up to the standard of the Jaguar and Land Rover range.