The Jaguar E-Pace is a smart-looking SUV that’s ideal for a family. However, it isn’t great to drive, the interior design looks plain and interior quality feels below par in some areas
If you want a posh-looking family SUV but don’t want to buy German, then the Jaguar E-Pace could be the car for you, although you’ll have to accept it lags behind alternatives in key areas.
One area in need of improvement is the interior. On high-end cars it’s padded in premium-feeling leather, but the cabin has hollow-sounding plastics that are worlds away from the solid-feeling materials you get in a BMW X1 or Audi Q2.
At least the Jaguar E-Pace puts a smile on your face with Jaguar (the big cat variety) style markings on interior pieces and a graphic at the bottom of the windscreen with an adult Jaguar (the F-Pace) being followed by its cub (the Jaguar E-Pace), highlighting the Jaguar SUV range.
Another plus is that you get big knobs for the ventilation system and stereo that makes operating them easy, even when you’re driving.
Unfortunately, the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system isn’t as easy to use on the move as the fixed controls you get in a BMW or Audi. It’s a shame, especially since the graphics are sharp and the system’s slick to operate.
The Jaguar E-Pace drives like a chubby cub that has yet to find a solid footing
Another plus for the Jaguar E-Pace is the wide range of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel, which means small and tall people can get comfortable. Sadly, the news from the back seats isn’t so great. The E-Pace’s rear seats don’t have any adjustment and tall adults will have to rely on the people sitting in front of them moving their seats forward a bit.
The Jaguar E-Pace boot is also smaller than some alternatives, although its wide opening and lack of a load lip make sliding heavy objects in a breeze, and it is still plenty big enough to carry a family’s luggage for a two-week holiday.
Performing more mundane tasks such as commuting in the city, the Jaguar’s high driving position makes you feel safe and gives you a great view out. Visibility out the back isn’t so great but all models come with a rear camera and all-round sensors, so even if you hate reversing you’ll find the Jaguar E-Pace is easy to park.
Out in the country, the Jaguar E-Pace’s suspension does a better job of soaking up bumps than it does at slow speeds and it has plenty of grip in corners. But it feels like a big car and consequently can’t match a BMW X1’s ability to put a smile on your face.
That said, the Jaguar doesn’t suffer from the BMW’s tyre noise when you’re driving at speed – there is a little wind noise at a cruise – and it feels planted to the road. Top of the range cars even have autonomous tech that can drive the car in traffic jams. It’s also worth mentioning that this is one of the safest cars of its type.
It’s not as cheap to run as some cars, though – even the 180d (the best all-rounder in the range) can’t get close to the Audi Q2’s or BMW X1’s diesels for efficiency, although unlike them it does come with grippy four-wheel drive as standard. In fact, if you’re looking for an SUV that can handle more than a slippery road, then the Jaguar E-Pace ticks the boxes.
And that pretty much encapsulates the Jaguar E-Pace, it’s a big, solid and reasonably practical SUV which may well appeal to you if you’re not bothered about hoofing about like your hair’s on fire.