With the imminent arrival of the refreshed E-Pace, now is a good time to revisit the smallest SUV in the Jaguar range, because while everyone’s distracted by revised infotainment and new plug-in hybrid technology, the canny used car buyer can look into what they could save on the outgoing version featured here.
Under the stubby bonnet of the E-Pace is either a 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.0-litre diesel engine, both available in varying states of tune. The petrol line-up encompasses 198bhp, 245bhp and 295bhp versions and the diesel units can be had in 148bhp, 178bhp and 236bhp forms.
All E-Paces come with dual-zone climate control, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and LED headlights, but S trim adds leather seats (electrically adjustable in the front) and a more sophisticated infotainment system. Pricier SE and HSE models add bigger wheels, a wider range of electric seat adjustments and increasingly more safety kit. If you want a sportier-looking E-Pace, seek out the R-Dynamic version of each trim level.
On the road, the lower-powered petrol and diesel engines feel slow to respond, even if their actual on-paper turn of speed is pretty good. The automatic gearbox is often hesitant, which can be problematic on roundabouts and at junctions, but once on the move it changes gear smoothly. Opt for the more powerful units and gathering speed is no problem, but there is an obvious drop-off in fuel economy. The middle-ranking 178bhp diesel, the 2.0 D180, probably strikes the best compromise between outright punch and efficiency.
The ride is a mixed bag. The E-Pace isn’t horrendously firm and crashes over only the worst potholes, but you are jostled around quite a bit along pockmarked and beaten-up urban roads. The ride doesn’t settle at speed, so we’d suggest you stick with smaller wheels, even if this leaves a bit of a gap in the wheel arches.
The E-Pace is available with front-wheel drive or, more common, four-wheel drive. The entry-level diesel engine came with front-wheel drive only, and in this guise the E-Pace’s handling isn’t quite so assured.
Inside, there is a clean and handsome dashboard layout with some good-quality materials and a setup that’s user-friendly. You sit suitably high with a commanding view forwards, although visibility to the sides is a little restricted by the fat roof pillars, and the small rear window is a hindrance when parking.
The provision of space for those in the front is agreeable, with a reasonably good amount of head room. Rear passengers long of leg will find it cramped behind a similarly tall driver, although head room shouldn’t be an issue. The rear seats will fold down to leave an almost flat floor and the boot is easy to access and a useful shape.