The schedule today was the usual (too early) morning soccer, followed by a picnic and general errands in the afternoon.
The styling of the E-Pace has really upped the ante for cars in this category, with Jaguar doing an exceptional job of translating its signature sleek and sporty design into this stout, high-riding SUV. No small feat to accomplish, sure, but it has really enhanced the E-Pace's desirability and given it an advantage over its competitors in the process.
Styling cues from its older F-Pace sibling, and even the performance-focused F-Type, are evident from tip to tail of this car. Instantly familiar features start up front with the J-blade daytime running lights and the Jaguar grille featuring a large growling logo, which lend it a genuinely sporty look.
The side profile is highlighted by the 20-inch alloys (a $1690 option), which do an ample job of filling the wheel arches and further reinforcing its sporty credentials. The roofline and rear windows taper nicely towards the rear end, which features twin tailpipes and new LED tail-lights.
The kids and I were keen to check out the cabin and, decorated in plush 'Light Oyster Windsor' leather, it presents a premium look. On the flip side, I can’t help but wonder how well this fancy white leather will fare after a weekend with four kids.
First impressions inside are positive from all of us. There is plenty of room in the back for the three kids and an overwhelming sense of luxury up front. Closer inspection revealed some cheaper touches dotted around the cabin (the plastic used around the base of the gear shift, for example), which detract from an otherwise refined cabin.
Before heading off I had to first fit the car seat (three tether points available plus two ISOFIX points) to accommodate our additional little one. Three kids along the back was cosy but not uncomfortable, with plenty of legroom. They made good use of the bottle holders (both doors) and air vents available.
Sitting behind my driving position (I’m 180cm), there was a decent amount of head and leg room with a full hand-width of space between my knees and the seat in front. That said, I would avoid sandwiching three grown-ups in there.
First destination was the twins' soccer match, with an expected 45min drive battling the usual Saturday morning traffic mayhem. Mercifully, the E-Pace's cabin was an incredibly pleasant place to be, with its panoramic sunroof (a favourite feature and a $2160 option) providing plenty of light and a feeling of space. The cabin did a good job of buffering the road and traffic noise with the sound of the diesel engine kept to a low hum.
My son up front synced up the smartphone with the large and easy to use 10-inch touchscreen and had our playlist pumping through the Meridian sound system in quick time. Cabin storage is well catered for, with a good-sized centre console bin, hidden hole located in front of the gear lever (handy for the phone), and two cup holders up front plus two in the rear and large storage pockets in all the doors.
Around the 'burbs in comfort mode, the E-Pace was relaxing and composed, with a decent amount of acceleration to propel the five of us around the back streets. The E-Pace’s modest proportions combined with decent reversing camera and parking sensors allowed for easy parking, too.