This is the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace, and no, it’s not the electric Jaguar crossover. That would be the I-Pace. It’s a bit counterintuitive, but rather than signaling an electrified platform, this Jaguar’s name comes from its relationship to its bigger brother, the F-Pace. Contrived names notwithstanding, this is the weapon with which Jaguar wades into battle against a wide range of contenders in the expanding subcompact luxury segment.
To call this segment crowded would be an understatement. The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace competes against the BMW X1 and X2, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Infiniti QX30, Volvo XC40, Lincoln MKC, as well as the impending Lexus UX and Cadillac XT4. It also faces competition from within, by way of the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Jaguar’s baby crossover is based on the front-wheel drive Evoque platform, although all-wheel drive is an option. While Europeans get a range of diesel and gasoline engines, we only get two flavors of the same 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline mill, with either 246 or 296 horsepower.
Things look promising when you look at the numbers for the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace. It comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine – as is fashionable in the segment – mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This particular E-Pace is the P250 model, with 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. A more powerful P300 version is available, with 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Jaguar quotes the 0-60 time at 6.7 seconds for the P250, and pegs the top speed at 141 mph.
Even in its less powerful state, it’s still peppy enough to give some satisfying acceleration. However, the throttle response is throughout the rev range, even when you put the car in Dynamic mode. There’s noticeable turbo lag, when you press it hard from a stop, but it picks up well off the line. Once you get high into the rev band, however, it feels like it struggles with its 4,000-pound mass. The engine does give a nice, satisfying growl when you do push it, which is a nice touch.
While the out and out performance may be a bit lackluster, the handling is anything but. The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace feels small and remarkably agile on the road. The E-Pace’s steering is among the most responsive I’ve ever experienced in a crossover. It changes direction with the slightest input, but it doesn’t feel twitchy. The ride is also taut and well-controlled, if on the firm side. Adaptive suspension is available on the E-Pace, but this particular model rides on coil springs with passive dampers. Its road-holding ability and well-controlled ride made it an absolute blast on the twisty mountain roads in Northern Colorado.
Comfort & Convenience
The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace sports the familiar interior of any other mass-market Jaguar. That is to say, it has a stylish, minimalist layout with all the controls falling easy to hand. The digital gauge cluster provides an upmarket feel, while the 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen was also a welcome addition. It’s not the most responsive system in the world, nor does Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support come as standard equipment (it is available on R-Dynamic models). However, it does a healthy amount of configurable features, and there are standard buttons for the climate controls and a volume knob for the stereo.
The interior trim looks inviting, and gives the E-Pace the ambience you’d expect from a Jaguar. However, once you start feeling around, you notice some of the plastics – particularly around the infotainment and climate control stack – don’t feel particularly high-class. The leather trim on the door panels also felt hard to the touch, instead of the soft and supple padding I’d been expecting. The optional 18-way adjustable leather seats, on the other hand, were fantastically comfortable. They are a $1,530 option, but the adjustable lumbar support proved incredibly useful on longer drives.
The steering wheel also feels just right in your hands, although it may take some time to get used to all the buttons. The stitching throughout the interior, the panoramic sunroof, as well as the color palette in this model, made the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace a pleasant place to be.
Overall, the only major complaint I held against the E-Pace was its gear lever. Ergonomically, it’s fine, although the trigger to shift from reverse to drive is a bit finicky. However, you can accidentally knock the car into neutral while in motion by bumping the lever forward, like I did when I rested my forearm on the center console and went to adjust the climate controls.
The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace may be a cub to the full-grown F-Pace, but it offers up its own brand of fun in a small, user-friendly package. It’s an excellent looking car – particularly in Caesium Blue – while also managing a good mix of performance and agility.
Prices on the E-Pace cover a wide range, from $38,600 at the low end to nearly $60,000 for a fully-equipped R-Dynamic HSE model. With its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace delivers decent fuel economy at 21 City / 28 Highway / 24 Combined mpg for the P250 AWD version.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Jaguar E-Pace SE
|Price as Tested:||$54,190 (incl. $995 destination charge)|
|Engine:||2.0-liter turbocharged I-4|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Front engine, all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||246 hp @ 5,500 RPM|
|Torque:||269 lb-ft @ 1,200 – 4,500 RPM|
|Suspension:||Front: MacPherson strut w/ lower control arm, coil springs, passive dampers and passive anti-roll bar
Rear: Integral multi-link w/ coil springs, passive dampers and passive anti-roll bar
|Brakes:||Front: 12.8-inch ventilated discs
Rear: 11.8-inch solid discs
|Tires:||Pirelli Scorpion Verde All-Season P235/55 R19 105V|
|Fuel capacity:||18.1 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||21 City/28 Highway/24 Combined MPG
TFL observed: 24.6 MPG
|Width:||78.1 inches (incl. mirrors)|
|Cargo Capacity:||Seats down: 43.6 cubic feet
Seats up: 20.4 cubic feet
|Turning Circle:||37.6 feet|
|Curb Weight:||4,038 pounds|