Jaguar's first compact crossover has arrived, and it's called the E-Pace. While the name makes this car sound like an electric vehicle (it's not), we suspect Jaguar chose the letter E simply because it comes earlier in the alphabet than F, and F-Pace is this brand's larger, mid-size crossover.
For the record, there will be an electric Jaguar soon, and it will be called I-Pace.
But we digress. Jaguar's tight relationship with its fellow Brits at Land Rover (both brands are owned by India's Tata Motors) means the E-Pace shares its underpinnings with the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque but, unsurprisingly, wears styling that links this little utility both to the F-Pace and Jaguar's range of cars.
All E-Pace models are powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine used extensively throughout the Jaguar and Land Rover family. Here, it makes 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque in base, S, SE and First Edition trims, while a trio of R-Dynamic variants (S, SE and HSE) use a version tuned for 296 hp and 295 lb-ft. AWD is standard, as is a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The AWD system incorporates brake-based torque vectoring conceived to improve handling responses, while R-Dynamic models boast an active AWD setup that can direct nearly all torque to either the front or rear axle as conditions dictate. All E-Pace variants get four drive modes and Jaguar's all-surface progress control, which functions as cruise control in off-road situations.
Tech highlights include a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen Jaguar says simplifies the car's secondary controls and reduces the number of hard buttons on the dash. Meanwhile, there's an optional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and head-up display that puts critical information in easy view of the driver. And as is de rigueur these days, the E-Pace can be ordered with a hands-free power tailgate.
But one of the coolest tech tidbits is Jaguar's activity key, a wearable, waterproof and shockproof transponder that locks and unlocks the car when placed near a sensor on the tailgate. Locking the car this way also renders the regular key fobs inactive so that you can leave them in the car without fear of someone stealing the vehicle if they break in.
Base models come with 17-inch wheels, cloth seating with eight-way power adjustments up front, LED headlights, low-speed automatic emergency braking, backup camera, cruise control, lane keep assist and front and rear parking aids.
S (base and R-Dynamic) trim adds 18-inch wheels, LED running lights, auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors, leather seating with 10-way front seat adjustments and navigation.
SE (base and R-Dynamic) brings 19-inch wheels, automatic high beams, 14-way power front seats, Meridian sound system, 360-degree camera, park assist, rear traffic monitor, adaptive cruise, high-speed emergency braking and blind spot assist.
First Edition (base only) trim gets 20-inch wheels, the activity key, 18-way front seats and head-up display.
The HSE (R-Dynamic only) gets 20-inch wheels and perforated leather upholstery with 18-way front seats.