2019 Jaguar E-Pace review – Has the Volvo XC40 been beaten? | What Car?

[Music] You know, there was a time not so long ago that Jaguar just didn’t make SUVs. It was quite content with making executive saloons and sports cars, and it did both very well. But with the market shift towards family-friendly SUVs showing no sign of stopping, Jaguar made its first SUV the F-Pace a rival to the plush Audi Q5 and BMW X3. But what if you want something smaller? Welcome the E-Pace. This is Jaguar’s second SUV model and it’s pitched into the same arena as the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Volvo XC40. Tough competition then by any measure; so despite being Jaguars cub, can the E-Pace succeed against the family rivals? In this review we’ll tell you what it’s like to drive, how easy it is to live with, how much stuff you can get in it, and which version we ultimately think is best. Remember if you’re thinking about buying one at the end of this review, head to WhatCar.com and go to our New Car Buying section where we can potentially save you thousands! First though let’s take the E-Pace for a drive. Despite its sporty styling and almost looking like an SUV version of the firm’s F-Type sports car, it’s actually quite a heavy car. In fact it’s 85KG heavier than the larger F-Pace, it’s no surprise then that the 2-litre diesel 178 brake horsepower engine doesn’t feel particularly fast. Although the power is adequate, especially when driving around town. There’s a lesser powered 148 brake horsepower engine, which does feel a little gutless and then there’s the punchier 237 brake horsepower, although be warned is more expensive and less fuel efficient. If petrol is more your bag there are three to choose from one has 197 brake horsepower, the next has 247 brake horsepower, and the biggest one has 298 brake horsepower, which is impressively fast but in real world fuel economy you won’t get much better than 25mpg. None of the diesels are particularly refined, although our recommended 2 litre 178 brake horsepower is the quietest. Unsurprisingly, the petrols are all smoother and quieter. Even if you decide to go for larger wheels the E-Pace never feels horrendously firm and only crashes over the worst potholes, but you will be jostled about a bit on beaten up urban routes and that feeling doesn’t fully disappear on faster roads. You can get adaptive dampers on the E-Pace which generally help, in any case though it’s not as comfortable as the best versions of Volvo’s XC40. Jaguar can normally be relied upon for engaging handling and the E-Pace mostly offers that, we say mostly because the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 is a little more eager to turn in. Most E-Pace’s come with four-wheel drive which provides extra traction but you only really notice that in fast corners and bad weather. When driving around town the E-Pace’s steering feels heavy when compared to its rivals. Inside the E-Pace, the influence of the F-Type sports car is clear including this grab handle here. I wonder how people will be driving their E-Pace? In terms of the controls, they’re logically laid out, and there’s easy access to the climate control settings. You sit quite high up which means you get a great commanding view of the road, and as with many of its key rivals, the sloping back does mean that the view out of the rear is not quite so good. However, you get front and rear parking sensors as standard and a reversing camera if you really would like some help with parking. Now while the E-Pace looks suitably posh inside, it doesn’t hold up especially well when you look closer and there are some questionable plastics used for the switches and lower edges. Both the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 ultimately feel classier. No matter which version of the E-Pace you go for, you get this 10-inch touchscreen. It’s relatively easy to use and get your head around, although some of the icons are a little bit fiddly and difficult to hit when on the move. You get everything that you’d expect, so that’s Bluetooth connectivity, 2 USB inputs, DAB radio, but if you’d like sat-nav you need to upgrade to the S model, and if you would like a punchy a sound system then you need to upgrade to SE. Unfortunately you can’t spec Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, not even as an option. Overall BMWs iDrive system is slicker and better. From here in front of the E-Pace you certainly get enough width so that you’re not rubbing shoulders with the person next to you, and you’d have to be really tall for the panoramic sunroof to have an impact on your headroom. In terms of storage, the door bins are a little slender but there are plenty of other storage places, for example there’s two cupholders here, and there’s some more stowage here, and the glove box is so big that I’ve managed to put my handbag in there! Slide into these rear seats, and you’ll find that even six footers will not be complaining about legroom, even if they are sitting behind a 6-footer, which clearly I am not today. Although, what we would say is Volkswagen, Volvo, and BMW both offer a little bit more legroom. When it comes to headroom, that’s about the same, and if you are intending on sitting three abreast back here, it’s got to be the smallest person in this middle seat because even I feel slightly close to the roof. Official figures would have you believe that you can fit more in the boot of the E-Pace than you can in a BMW X1, but actually the reverse is true. Although the boot is far from pokey, and it has no load lip which means getting things in and out is very very easy, plus you can fold down the rear seats so any impromptu trips to a Swedish furniture store and you can create even more space. Although there is still more room in a BMW X1 and a Volkswagen Tiguan. The Jaguar E-Pace costs a lot more to buy than its key rivals, however it is predicted to hold on to its value better. So effectively, it costs you less in the long run and lowers the monthly payments. Although an equivalent Volvo XC40 is still quite a bit cheaper, and watch out company car drivers because the relatively high CO2 emissions does mean that it will cost you more again. In most cases we recommend the 178 brake horsepower 2-litre diesel. As for which trim level to choose, you first need to decide whether you like the look of the standard car or if you prefer the styling of the R-Dynamic model, and once you’ve made that decision you can then choose what equipment you would like. As standard the E-Pace comes with dual zone climate control, cruise control, and LED headlights, as well as safety kit including Automatic Emergency Braking, lane keeping assistance, and a driver tiredness monitor. Unsurprisingly the car has a five-star rating from EuroNCAP. We’d recommend spending a bit more on an S model, which adds a more sophisticated infotainment system with sat-nav and leather seats, SE and HSE trims get larger wheels and more safety kit but are also too expensive for us to recommend. The E-Pace is great to look at, well-equipped, and will hold on to its value well, while many of its key rivals are ultimately better to drive and plusher inside. For plenty more on the E-Pace including our full online review, head to WhatCar.com and remember if you’re thinking about buying one or any of its key rivals, head to our New Car Buying section where we can help save you thousands, but before you go anywhere never miss another video hit subscribe! [Music]

About the Author: Michael Flood

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