The Jaguar E-Pace is a pretty compelling proposition, with neat exterior design, an F-Type-inspired interior and enough space for family duties. Despite a disappointing kerbweight, the E-Pace feels agile and engaging to drive quickly, though the top-spec petrol’s pricing throws it under the wheels of the Mercedes GLA 45 AMG – a rival that offers significantly more bang for your buck.
- Shod with Pirelli P Zero rubber, the E-Pace is sure-footed if far from lacking in humour: throw a bung of steering at the apex and you’ll feel the front bite hard and the rear adopt a frisky few degrees of angle.
- The 2.0-litre turbo/nine-speed auto combo is impressively punchy – flexible and smooth low-down, responsive when you gun it, eager when you hold out for the high notes.
- Thankfully the suspension calms with speed, introducing longer, more supple movements for comfort with unruffled control.
- Ian Callum’s design is pert and purposeful and riffs on the F-Type sports car, a theme that’s carried into the interior with its fast angles, signature features and comparatively low-slung – for an SUV – driving position. The showroom appeal that propelled Evoque to stardom is definitely in evidence here.
- Our test car rode on 20-inch rims with fixed dampers, though 21s and adaptive dampers are incoming. The low-speed ride is very firm, so much so that I’d fear for young ’uns tums in a package that’s otherwise family-friendly.
- Hang-on panels as well as the roof are aluminium, but the bodyshell is steel and the kerbweight heavy at around 1800kg – a like-for-like F-Pace actually weighs less.
- It’s just that a Merc GLA 45 AMG costs little more, weighs far less and punches that much harder. For some, that could be the decider, but there’s little doubt that the E-Pace drives as sweetly as it looks.