Jaguar’s design team deserves credit for going further than simply scaling down the look of the F-Pace SUV for this car. It is, after all, a depressingly familiar tactic in this class.

The E-Pace instead takes inspiration from the F-Type sports coupé, and before you dismiss that as a marketing contrivance, just look at the details. The ovoid headlights, wrap-around tail-lights, pronounced haunches and wheels pushed as close to the car’s extremities as can reasonably be expected all draw strong parallels.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Jaguar design boss Ian Callum may have preferred our test car to wear bigger wheels, but these 19s make for a reasonably well-resolved ride.

While the overall effect is perhaps a touch cutesy, the E-Pace does possess a stance rare among its peers. Acres of honeycomb plastic at the front underline the sporty message, although there is something about the car’s proportions that make it seem curiously tall in the metal.

Less encouraging to some may be the fact that this new model uses a platform sourced from the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque, albeit with a unique wheelbase owing to an altered mounting for a stiffer front suspension subframe that is said to improve steering feel.

It means that while you’ll find magnesium in the dashboard crossmember and aluminium used for the bonnet, tailgate and front wings, the E-Pace is heavier than the F-Pace. The latter’s monocoque is far richer in lighter, more expensive aluminium. The resulting 1768kg kerb weight makes the E-Pace almost 40kg heavier than the equivalent Volvo XC40 and more than 180kg heavier than the BMW X1.

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This is also, of course, the first transverse-engined Jaguar since the X-Type, with all of the compromises on weight distribution that brings. The fight against bulk is led by JLR’s 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine, offered in three states of tune. Our test car is the mid-ranking D180, which makes 178bhp and, rather more encouragingly, 317lb ft from a lowly 1750rpm.

Claimed combined economy is 55.4mpg – matching the Volvo XC40 D4 – with CO2 emissions of 147g/km. There are two petrol options, including a flagship 296bhp four-cylinder which is shared with the F-Type and can fire the E-Pace to 60mph in 5.9sec.

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