Jaguar E-Pace Review logo

Jaguar E-Pace Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Bold looking, firm riding SUV”

Best bits

  • Stylish design
  • Rugged off road
  • Highly equipped across the board

Not so great

  • Not as spacious as rival SUVs
  • Sub-par fuel economy across the board
  • Doesn’t drive like a sporty Jaguar should

Read by

Jaguar E-Pace frontleft exterior

Overall verdict

Jaguar E-Pace front interior

On the inside

Jaguar E-Pace backright exterior

Driving

Jaguar E-Pace backleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

Jaguar E-Pace boot open

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The E-Pace is a sporty-looking alternative to the SUV-norm that fails to deliver the drive you’d expect from a Jaguar. Some refined engines, four-wheel drive capability and reasonable practicality can’t quite balance out the high price, jittery town ride and poor fuel economy. "

Jaguar E-Pace frontleft exterior

Jaguar took decades to launch its first SUV - the F-Pace - back in 2016, and it rapidly became the brand’s best-selling model. To capitalise on this, it quickly rolled out two more SUVs, the all-electric i-Pace at the top of the range, and the smaller, more affordable E-Pace at the bottom.


It competes against a wide variety of premium rivals, including the Volvo XC40, Range Rover Evoque, BMW X2, and Audi Q3, to name just a few. The Jaguar brings to the table a sporty design inspired (loosely) by the F-Type sports car, and a choice of 2.0-litre engines. 


Diesels range from 150PS to 240PS, while the petrols start with 200PS and go all the way up to 300PS. All but the least powerful diesel models are fitted with four-wheel drive as standard, and most variants also come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, although there’s also a six-speed manual available on the cheaper diesel models.


Unfortunately, the E-Pace doesn't live up to its sporty styling and it doesn’t feel especially agile. It's relatively heavy, rolls in corners and has inert steering that doesn’t inspire confidence, even if it does have plenty of grip.That wouldn't usually matter in an SUV but Jaguars have a reputation for sportiness that isn’t lived up to here – the larger F-Pace is much more accomplished in this regard. 


Its portly weight also blunts the E-Pace’s performance. The entry-level diesels feel ponderous, and only the most potent models - which are thirsty on fuel - build momentum with any real urgency. For us, the relaxed D180 diesel automatic is the pick of the bunch, especially if you do a lot of motorway driving.


This engine struggles to compete with its rivals for efficiency though, there’s no mild-hybrid technology to help it save fuel and, unlike some rivals, the E-Pace isn’t available as a plug-in hybrid, which would make it very cheap on tax.


The news isn’t much better when you consider the E-Pace’s interior. It feels plasticy and, although it’s a five-seater, the middle seat in the back is set quite high, with a narrow base and nowhere to put your feet. It’s much better sampled with four on board. 


The E-Pace has plenty of clever interior storage which makes up for the fact it’s boot isn’t as large or as flexible as in rivals such as the BMW X1.


Entry-level models with front-wheel drive are keenly priced, especially considering the level of equipment on board. All have LED headlights, a 10-inch media screen, climate control and all-round parking aids.


However, we would upgrade to the S grade. It brings sat-nav and full smartphone integration, plus luxuries such as leather upholstery and electrically operated seats and a smooth-shifting auto gearbox.


Even in this configuration, though, the E-Pace lags well behind rivals. Okay, so it looks sporty, but the driving experience doesn’t live up to the exterior styling, the car’s expensive to run, feels dated inside and isn’t as practical as rivals. Sadly, the entry point to Jaguar’s SUV range is the model most worth avoiding. 


Is the Jaguar E-Pace right for you?

The answer to this rather depends on what you want from your compact SUV. The E-Pace is handsome, but feels lead-footed compared to its premium rivals, is quite pricey in its higher specifications with the stronger engines, and is less economical than other SUVs in this price range.


It trades more on its looks and the strong appeal of its badge than anything else, but the market does reflect this and there are some great deals on used and pre-registered cars. At the right money, the E-Pace starts to make a lot more sense. 

What’s the best Jaguar E-Pace model/engine to choose?

Despite the athletic looking exterior, underneath the E-Pace is on the heavy side for a compact SUV. This means it feels slower than other cars with a similar power output, forcing you to go for the pricier engines.


That takes the entry-level D150 diesel and P200 petrol off the table. While the front-wheel drive, manual versions of the former are the most efficient, they're not the smoothest to drive, and too slow to recommend.


Instead, we would step up to the D180 paired with the optional nine-speed automatic. This combination plays to the car's strengths as a cruiser, and while not especially quick, it is more effortless than the D150 model. Pick one up in S trim and you'll have a luxurious, capable four-wheel drive car that sneaks under the £40,000 barrier - saving you a packet on road tax - but you'll have to skip the R-Dynamic pack to keep below that limit.

What other cars are similar to the Jaguar E-Pace?

Few cars are closer to the E-Pace than its sibling from sister brand Land Rover, the Discovery Sport. It unfortunately is the favourite child of the pair, with newer engines, a smarter cabin, and equally sharp looks.


Further afield, the BMW X1 offers a more car-like driving experience, exceptional build quality and class-best infotainment, but generic looks, while the Volvo XC40 oozes Scandinavian style, is comfortable and practical. 


For the same money as a mid-spec D180 automatic, you could upgrade in size, getting yourself an Audi Q5. That car is lighter, faster, and more refined, along with having a bigger boot and fantastically roomy interior.


At the lower end of the spectrum, it's hard to ignore the value you get from cars like the Volkswagen Tiguan. It feels better built and more modern insider than the Jaguar, yet is cheaper to buy and run.


Learn more

Jaguar E-Pace front interior

On the inside

Jaguar E-Pace backright exterior

Driving

Jaguar E-Pace backleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

Jaguar E-Pace boot open

Prices, versions and specification