(Pocket-lint) - Jaguar has pulled the covers of the Jaguar E-Pace, following closely in the tracks of the excellent Jaguar F-Pace. This compact SUV looks to repeat the successes of the F-Pace, a car that's very much changed the face of Jaguar, appealing to a whole new subset of buyers.
The E-Pace slots into the "compact SUV" segment, meaning it challenges a some of the UK's most popular cars: Jaguar's Cub is looking to kick aside the premium aspirations of the Nissan Qashqai, while squaring up to the Audi Q3 at the more established luxury end of the market.
Jaguar may well have hit it out of the park with the E-Pace, because above everything else, Jaguar has given this car a hint of personality, alongside it's strong SUV lines. Say hello to the brand new Jaguar E-Pace.
Jaguar E-Pace design
One glance at the E-Pace and you'll catch many of the lines of the F-Pace. But this isn't a squashed version of the same car, instead offering a considered design. Jaguar says that so much of its history is about being low, long and sleek and that's reflected in the sporty lines to the rear of the car. The roof drops and the windows come to a point at the rear, sitting over muscular haunches.
It gives a strong sporty look, but it's not too dissimilar to the latest iterations of Nissan's rival car, but we have to say that we love the angular overhang of the boot, which is distinctly different, with Jaguar taking some cues from the F-Type.
That's completely by design, with Jag also 'fessing-up to lifting the lights from the F-Type too and setting them into a nose that's spared too much of an overhang. The 21-inch wheels pictured here sit close to those corners and give a great proportionality to things.
This is where some of the fun comes in. The Cub name isn't just something we've added, it's Jaguar's own vernacular, with a Jaguar and cub motif integrated into the windscreen. Along that line of thinking, Jaguar says that the thing that makes baby animals cute is the big eyes and paws, hence the big lights and wheels.
Did someone say Jaguar wanted this car to appeal to younger drivers? We don’t think there will be any problem in making that happen.
Jaguar E-Pace technology and trim
Slip inside and the E-Pace owes its interior design to the F-Pace and the F-Type. For the sporty looks, there's a large grab handle to the right of the centre console like the F-Type. This might open the E-Pace to jibes about how much it's going to roll when hitting fast corners, although Jaguar assures us that won't happen.
But what that handle serves to do is subtly cocoon the driver, something that's much more common in sports cars than spacious SUVs. That again brings a sporty feel to the inside.
It's in the interior that you see the difference in quality between the E-Pace and some of the top trim cars that are a tier lower, like the Qashqai or the Kia Sportage.
Quality materials adorn the interior, with options for colours of leather. Although black is likely to be the most popular, we've seen a red and black combo and that's certainly eye-catching. Little details like matching the stitching to the exterior colour give a sense of consistency and cohesion, as well as imparting that important sense of quality.
We've only spend the briefest of moments inside the E-Pace, but it feels comfortable in the driving seat. Jaguar fans will notice that the gear shifter (for the automatic) isn't a dial like Jaguar's saloons, instead using a stick, with a driving mode select beside it.
The technology load-out will be familiar to anyone who has been in a Jaguar in recent years, with the central 10-inch Touch Pro display being the standard option. This goes one better than the F-Pace, which offers the 8-inch Touch as standard. However, the 12.3-inch digital driver's display is then an upgrade option - we're yet to see exactly how much that will cost, but we suspect that Jaguar will parcel it up with a Meridian sound system to make it more enticing.
Elsewhere there will 360-degree cameras opening the door to a range of autonomous safety features and plenty of connectivity, like the 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and up to five USB ports to charge your devices. Cleverly, the configurable central storage and also be adapted to house your iPad, or just let you slot your phone in beside your Starbucks Grande almond milk latte.
Like the F-Pace, there's also the option to have a wrist band to unlock your car, perfect for those who are doing something active and don't want to lose the key. The connectivity also means you'll be able to use InControl apps where you'll be able to use your phone to location your car, remotely lock and unlock and more.
The cabin of the E-Pace affords plenty of headroom to the driver and front passenger, although if you're much taller than average, you might mess your hair up on the roof lining. The rear seats are designed for five, although the centre seat, let's face it, isn't going to be fun. As a 2+2 it's comfortable, but putting three across the back seat is going to be a bit of a squeeze. There isn't huge legroom either, but we really need more time in the car to see how it works in real life.
Jaguar E-Pace: Engines and performance
As the E-Pace has only just been unveiled, we've not had the chance to drive the new model. Jaguar say that it has been engineered to be a sports, dynamic, drive, with a low centre of gravity and stiffer rear suspension to reduce body roll and make it a more attractive drive.
There will be a front-wheel drive option, as well as all-wheel drive options. For the most powerful options, Jaguar is introducing an active driveline where it can change the power delivered to each wheel, as well as changing the bias of power depending on what you're doing. It sounds very much like Audi's latest Quattro Ultra arrangement.
There will be five Ingenium engines on offer, three diesels covering off 150, 180 and 240PS and finally two powerful petrols offering 250 and 300PS. We expect the 180PS diesel will be the popular choice for many, getting you to 60mph in under 10 second. However, there's going to be a lot of fun to be had with that 300PS petrol, as it will get you 60mph in 5.9 seconds.
Much of the experience of living with Jaguar's new Cub will come down to the drive. Jag claims that it's as happy off road as it is on road, but we can't see it will be getting a lot of off-road action. The message here is that this car is designed to drive as well as it looks. We've got to say we're impressed with the looks, we can't wait to get it on the roads.
The Jaguar E-Pace prices start at £28,500. That's a little (£1000) more than the Audi Q3 and Nissan's new Tekna+ trim on the Qashqai, and a fair chunk less than the BMW X3. At the moment we don’t know exactly what you'll get at each trim level, which might shift the price fairly dramatically.
There will also be a "first edition" model available in the first year of sale, costing £47,800. You might not be tempted, but it does have a Jaguar and Cub puddle light, which is adorably cute.