The Jaguar E-Pace compact SUV is the next step in the car maker's SUV sales assault and is due to be revealed in early summer.
With the mid-sized F-Pace SUV making up more than half of the brand’s overall sales since it was launched last year and buyers preferring highriding vehicles to traditional saloons such as the XE and XF, Jaguar’s growing range of SUVs will be key to the brand’s future success.
As well as the E-Pace, F-Pace and I-Pace, a large SUV called the J-Pace will go on sale by 2019. The compact E-Pace, which is set to be a bigger seller than the larger F-Pace, is fundamental to those plans.
While the F-Pace has had a major effect on Jaguar sales, the E-Pace promises to catapult the premium brand forward in the same way that the Range Rover Evoque has done for Land Rover.
The five-seat E-Pace, which will rival the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, is a similar size to the Evoque and will be smaller than both the F-Pace and the electric I-Pace. It will be built on the same LR-MS steel platform as the Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport and produced alongside those models at JLR’s Halewood plant.
Front-wheel-drive versions will be most popular, but all-wheel-drive will be an option. Both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions will be offered. With the Evoque and Discovery Sport being Jaguar Land Rover’s two bestselling models, the Halewood factory is already at its full capacity of 200,000 cars annually.
As a result, JLR is currently assessing how to accommodate production of a new model. JLR also builds the Evoque and Discovery Sport in in Brazil, India and China, but it is unlikely that Jaguar would choose to produce the E-Pace abroad without any manufacturing capacity for the car in the UK.
Styling for the E-Pace, as spotted in recent images of the car testing near JLR’s Gaydon HQ and inside the Arctic Circle, closely resembles that of the F-Pace, with both the grille and roofline reminiscent of those of its larger sibling.
The E-Pace will also feature the latest development of Jaguar’s InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, recently updated in the F-Pace, and showcase improvements in interior quality. InControl Touch Pro now offers so-called ‘DualView’ technology, which was first introduced on the Range Rover and allows the driver and front passenger to view different display functions on the same 10in screen.
The E-Pace will use 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel Ingenium engines, which are produced at JLR’s engine manufacturing facility in Wolverhampton. Echoing the engine line-up in the recently updated F-Pace, the units will include an entry-level 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which targets company car drivers with its good CO2 emissions and fuel economy, as well as a 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel.