What It Is: Jaguar nearly went 100 years without building a single SUV or crossover, but now that the gates have opened by the F-Pace, they might as well be taken off the hinges. Following the enthusiastic reception given to that SUV, Jaguar is hoping to keep up the, uh, pace by fully committing to the trend. In the near future, Jaguar will triple its utility-vehicle presence by launching the all-electric I-Pace crossover, as well as the E-Pace pictured here: essentially a baby F-Pace, much in the same way the XE sedan is a smaller sibling to the XF.
Why It Matters: Through May of this year, Jaguar has sold nearly as many F-Paces as the rest of the lineup combined. The crossover thirst is real, and as much as we love the F-type sports car, it’s not going to keep the lights on in the office. High-riding practicality will.
In these camo’d spy shots, in which the E-Pace confusingly wears a Minnesota license plate, we get the clearest views yet of the interior, albeit in right-hand-drive form. And though much of the cabin has black coverings hiding the materials and design, a joystick shifter pulled from the F-type sports car stands out. That’s a departure from the rest of the Jaguar and Land Rover lineups, which use pop-up rotary gear selectors.
Platform: The short overhangs on this prototype give truth to the idea that the E-Pace will share its underpinnings with two corporate relatives, the front-drive-based Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque. Though it has an upright appearance in these photos, the E-Pace looks like it’ll have a sleek, curvaceous design with a roofline that slopes, coupe-like, toward the rear. Stylistically, Jaguar and Land Rover have been on a roll, and this model should look as sultry as any other model from the company when it debuts.
The spy shots also provide the first look at the way the hatchback opens. Unlike some other small crossovers that have rear openings that wrap around into the rear quarters, the E-Pace has a small, rounded-off liftgate. The liftover height looks fairly tall for a small crossover, but shouldn’t make loading unduly difficult.\
Powertrain: This segment relies heavily on turbocharged four-cylinder engines, and the E-Pace likely will be no different. The Discovery Sport and Evoque are both set to use Jaguar Land Rover’s new Ingenium turbocharged inline-four that makes 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. We expect that engine to be employed here, and for its power to be put to the ground through a nine-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive.
Competition:Audi Q3, BMW X1, Infiniti QX30, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLA-class.
Estimated Arrival and Price: The E-Pace should be unveiled this summer, ahead of going on sale in the winter. A majority of the segment is priced in the low-to-mid $30K range, and we expect the E-Pace to similarly fall in line.“”