Jaguar E-Pace 2018 revealed

14 July 2017
, CarsGuide

Jaguar has unveiled the new E-Pace SUV in London overnight, with the sports-flavoured new sub-F-Pace model aimed at bringing a fresh approach to the segment currently occupied by the likes of BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3.

Like its existing rivals, it will be charged with attracting new customers to the Jaguar brand. This mission will be aided by its expected starting price of around $48,000.

Penned by Jaguar design boss Ian Callum and his team, the E-Pace is intended to be less of a  scaled-down F-Pace and more an SUV-ified F-Type. Short overhangs, tense stance and some really lovely surface shapes make the E-Pace stand out from its German competition.

"The looks is derived unashamedly from the F-Type. I didn't want to do a scaled down F-Pace. As we started off, it was turning out too much of a small F-Pace. And we said, 'Guys, we've kind of already done that with the XE and the XF, we're not doing it again.'"

Familiar features are the J-blade daytime running lights and that famous Jaguar grille. The headlights are LED as standard, with optional matrix LEDs. The new LED taillights have the new chicane graphic debuted on the I-Pace.

The decision to go with the F Type-style headlights was not an easy one.

"It was mildly controversial," Callum says. "Because of the profile [of a transverse] engined car, the grille position and the height of it is very sensitive. At first it looked sad. It took a long time and it's subtle - it's five millimetres here and there."

The growler on the grille is the biggest Jaguar has ever fitted and hides the active cruise gear when it's fitted. Up-spec models can also be optioned with huge 21-inch wheels, which Jaguar reckons is a first for the segment.

As is Jaguar's custom, a First Edition special will be available.

The E-Pace will be available in S, SE and HSE specification along with the R-Dynamic Pack which can be added to all three. R-Dynamic is a styling pack with blacked-out badging, stainless steel sill plates and pedals, softer leather on the steering wheel and gearshift paddles. There are also sportier front seats and contrasting stitching to go with a darker headlining.

As is Jaguar's custom, a First Edition special will be available. Based on the SE with R-Dynamic pack, early movers can specify the 132kW turbodiesel or 183kW petrol Ingenium four cylinder engines, both paired with ZF's nine-speed auto. It will also be available in three colours, Caldera Red (First Edition only), Yulong White and Santorini Black. The wheels will be 20-inch with a grey finish. The interior will be trimmed in white Windsor leather with red stitching and a light headlining.

Jaguar says the E-Pace rides on some new hardware as well as re-using some of the important bits of the F-Pace, highlighting the Integral Link rear suspension. There is tons of aluminium underneath and in the car to help keep weight down, with bonnet, tailgate roof and front wings saving 30kg, with additional savings in the aluminium suspension parts and magnesium cross-bar holding up the dashboard.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Engineer Mike Cross said, "With the E-PACE, our aim was to develop a Jaguar SUV that feels and responds with the character of any of our rear-wheel drive vehicles. It was fundamental to us that E-PACE delivers exceptional drive dynamics, yet is refined and comfortable."

Each spec level is available with five engines - three diesels (110kW/380Nm, 132kW/430Nm, 177kW/500Nm) and two petrols (183kW/365Nm and 221kW/400Nm).

Although there is a front-wheel drive model in some markets, Australia won't get it and we'll also miss out on the manual transmission.

The car will be available with two drive types - standard all-wheel drive and Active Driveline (221kW petrol and 177kW diesel only). The latter has a more rear-drive feel, according to Jaguar, and has two clutches on the rear axle to apportion torque between the wheels. Active Driveline can also lock the diff when it gets particularly slippy. In the cruise the rears are disconnected to save fuel.

Although there is a front-wheel drive model in some markets, Australia won't get it and we'll also miss out on the manual transmission.

Active Driveline cars also feature semi-autonomous driving in low-grip condtions. Set it, point at the scenery and it will take the E-Pace up to 30km/h through the rough and/or slippery stuff, you won't have to touch the pedals.

The interior will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time in recent Jaguar products. The ever-improving InControl Touch makes a return and while it has Pandora integration (now useless in Australia), there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration. The 10.0-inch screen is standard with an optional 12.0-inch available.

There is also a new head-up display for E-Pace, featuring a bigger windscreen display and using a TFT panel to project the information. The head-up display is two-thirds bigger than the old and is now full colour.

Standard safety gear includes six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, two ISOFIX points and three top-tether points. Options include the usual blind spot detection, reverse cross traffic alert and the emergency braking system, which is basically forward AEB for cars and pedestrians.

A pedestrian airbag will cover the windscreen in the event of a nasty person-car collision and works between 25 and 50km/h.

Pricing in Australia starts at around $48,000 and rising to $85,000. The E-Pace will arrive in Australia in the second quarter of next year.

Has Jaguar made the right move with the E-Pace? Tell us what you think in the comments below.