2018 Jaguar E-Pace brings heart-pumping excitement

The 2018 E-Pace is the first compact SUV that Jaguar has ever created – designed to go head to head with the fiercely competitive segment that includes the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Lexus NX, to name some.

The E-Pace brings heart-pumping excitement to this segment, thanks to beautiful design and aggressive stance and performance.

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Design
Poised with a muscular profile and a curved, chiseled hood, the E-Pace appears like a wild cat ready to pounce. This compact SUV is practical but it has the sporty look-and-feel you would find in a coupe.

Subtle touches include puddle lights in the doors that illuminate the ground with the Jaguar logo when the vehicle is unlocked, providing further brand visibility. The “honeycomb” mesh grille and high “butt” give the E-Pace a performance-oriented appearance from all angles.

Jaguar has focused on making the interior practical for the driver, with an emphasis on easy access and usability of controls and buttons so that the driver can relax and enjoy the exhilarating experience.

Jaguar has paid attention to small design details that will delight the user. For example, the glovebox and centre console feature a discreet Jaguar print, and there is a Jaguar and cub design hidden in plain sight on the front windshield.

 On higher trim levels, animal print seat labels are available as well. Further interesting features include a powered gesture tailgate - a feature where you can open the trunk hands-free by placing your foot under a rear flank at the back of the vehicle.

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The E-Pace uses Jaguar’s InControl system that provides a technologically advanced in-car experience - PHOTO SUPPLIED

Jaguar has publicly announced their commitment to producing cars with less waste, using fewer natural resources and using sustainable materials. This should be a standard across all car makers but it is worth noting that Jaguar’s commitment is very public and backed up with numbers.

For example, the 2018 E-Pace is designed to be 85 per cent re-usable/recyclable and up to 95 per cent recoverable. While it is not a huge amount, the E-Pace contains up to 22 pounds of recycled plastic, the equivalent of over 750 plastic bottles.

The E-Pace engine manufacturing facility features the largest rooftop solar panel installation in any U.K. factory, which provides more than 30 per cent of the energy needed for production.

Jaguar InControl provides a technologically advanced in-car experience and has many user-optimized features. One of these is an app called Remote (for your smartphone, Android Wear or Apple Watch) and can remotely lock/unlock your vehicle, pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin, and beep/flash/GPS to allow you to easily locate your vehicle in a crowded parking lot.

You can also check your route and mileage stats as well as check on fuel levels. Can you believe that you can  even check the door/window position and whether or not they are locked?

Spotify and Tile are two third-party apps that are also compatible with the Jaguar InControl system and are a definite bonus.

Perhaps the only challenge is that all this technology and these features make the product somewhat complicated to use and figure out. You literally need to take a “class” to learn all these features.

Overall, the interior is trendy and beautiful, although surprisingly cramped in the back seat.

Performance
The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace comes with two “Ingenium” gas engine options.

Jaguar is all about the “Art of Performance,” and this shines through with low-friction, aluminum engines designed to vibrate at low levels for an undeniably smooth drive. The Ingenium engines positively purr with an intelligent regenerative charging feature, minimizing fuel consumption and reducing C02 emissions impact. The P250 engine provides 246 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 269 lb-ft. of torque.

If you choose the other engine, the P300 will rev up to 296 hp at 5,500 r.p.m. and give 295 lb-ft. of torque.

The Jaguar E-Pace comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission that shifts with confidence and smoothness.

Fuel economy for the P250 is estimated to be around 11.2L/100km in the city and 8.4L/100km on the highway, with the P300 having a slightly higher (8.7L/100km) economy rating for the highway.

The E-Pace comes with an intuitive all-wheel-drive system that effortlessly changes torque between front and back wheels as driving conditions change. This is due to a multi-plate clutch that is located near the rear differential which combines the AWD system and Electronic Traction Control to give an agile and confident driving experience even in difficult driving conditions.

Jaguar’s Active Driveline technology is also employed in the E-Pace by allowing up to 100 per cent of rear axle torque to be spread out between both rear wheels with changing variables. To give you a sense of how this is working, a display is always available on your touchscreen in real time.

Driving in real life conditions proves that this car is both capable and complicated. Its performance is impressive and handling is tight and predictable. On the other hand, the E-Pace bounces busily over bumpy roads, with suspension setting that is “over anxious.”

The result is a car that is smooth and capable over refined surfaces but loses refinement over less-than-ideal roads.  In fact, some passengers got motion sickness in this vehicle because the car felt bumpier than other SUVs.

In comparison to the Audi Q3 (the current model), the E-Pace has substantially more features and technology – although that will change soon as Audi has already shown the next generation Q3.

 I think the BMW X1 is the benchmark in this segment, boasting refined and smooth operation with first-class steering feel that is hard to match.  

But the Jaguar has more character and interesting features that are unique; besides the E-Pace may be the best looking among them all.

Summary
For trim options in Canada, drivers have a bevy of options. If you choose the P250 engine, you have the option of the E-Pace S P250 or the SE P250.

If you bump up to the engine with a little more gusto, you can then choose between the R-Dynamic S, the R-Dynamic SE, or the top-level R-Dynamic HSE. The huge selection of configurations and choices is somewhat overwhelming and it is obvious Jaguar is striving to give drivers full control both behind the wheel and with driver options.

With a starting price point of $42,700 and rising to the manufacturer’s suggest retail price of$59,000, the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace is not the cheapest compact SUV on the market today.

With competitors such as the Mercedes Benz GLC, the BMW X1, as well as the Audi Q3, there are some seriously luxurious and yet practical shoes to fill. The attention to detail is staggering and sets the E-Pace apart from other “cookie-cutter” vehicles. Jaguar strives to go above and beyond with the motto “Art of Performance.”

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