2018 Jaguar E-Pace S 240D AWD first drive: Lacking pace and grace

Quietly, the world was wondering when Jaguar was going to enter the SUV market. It knew that things would be difficult for the cat people, as treading on sister company Land Rover’s toes would be a bad idea, yet difficult to avoid. Luckily, its first attempt at an SUV - the F-Pace - was both different from a Land Rover and pretty chuffing good. Jaguar no longer made saloons and sports cars that not-as-many-people-as-they-hoped bought; now it made an SUV that would go on to become its biggest seller.

Except it couldn’t stop at one SUV. Why would it? Why should it? Not everyone wants a big motor, and as we live in a time where not offering ALL OF THE CHOICE is a bad thing. A smaller Jag SUV would need to be born to compete with the likes of the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and Porsche Macan. And lo, the Jaguar E-Pace came to be. 

2018 Jaguar E-Pace S D240 first drive
2018 Jaguar E-Pace S D240 first drive

First impressions

As its name suggests, it’s not as big as the F-Pace, yet it still has to offer decent space. This is the car that’ll fit in better with urban, rather than suburban living. It’s the car that’ll live on the street rather than a gravel driveway, and it’s the car that will be bought by more funky lifestyle-y people than ever before.

On the looks front all the modern Jaguar hallmarks are there, though with a modern twist. The rear lights don’t ape the F-Pace, it squares them off, aping a circuit board. The headlamps look similar but not quite the same as those found on the F-Type – a bit like a character being replaced by a different actor on a...