2018 Jaguar E-PACE P300 AWD R-Dynamic HSE Review

Smaller and friendlier but still an angry housecat


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Excellent Jaguar design language in a compact size, corners like it's on rails, powerful turbo motor, well-executed interior is truly sporty
Negatives: Dated infotainment system, initial turbo lag, more expensive than the competition, almost as expensive as big brother F-PACE.
Bottom Line: The E-PACE is nimble, quick, and worthy of the Jaguar name in terms of performance and style. It's actually a bit of a surprise in a segment that doesn't deliver much adrenaline. We love the way it drives, despite the turbo lag, because it handles and moves so well. The interior is also truly worthy of praise. If only the infotainment system was better.
The luxury automakers are no longer the recipient of criticism from purists when it comes to building performance crossovers. The Porsche Cayenne took a lot of hits when it first emerged in 2003 because it was the opposite of a Porsche 911. Over two decades later, and just about every luxury brand has a hi-po crossover. Now, Jaguar has two: the F-PACE and now the E-PACE, the smaller brother that's brand new for 2018. Who would buy such a thing, you say? Well, it remains to be seen, but the E-PACE has the goods with high style, a potent engine, and luxury digs inside. We drove the top trim P300 in HSE AWD guise for a week. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

8.8

 

We didn't know what to expect behind the wheel of the little Jag crossover, but we came away pleasantly surprised. It's a nimble and powerful little number that will set the pulse racing but won't set your hair on fire in terms of high-levels of performance. It's one small crossover that's fun to toss around.

Ride Quality: The ride is firm thanks to the sports suspension and the big 20" wheels, but it doesn't feel harsh. The damping and shock absorption is very good, but no will call it a plush ride.

Acceleration: Despite some noticeable initial turbo lag, the E-PACE P300 pulls hard moves quickly. 60 mph arrives in just under six seconds.

Braking: The E-PACE's brakes are great. They bit hard but provide progressive pedal feel and stopping power.

Steering: In R-Dynamic trim, the steering is sharp and quick. There's even a bit of feedback to make the driving experience more enjoyable.

Handling: The E-PACE corners flat with no really noticeable body roll. It feels balanced, too.

Technology

6

 

Jaguar's technology suite is ok but not up to par for a luxury automobile. The in-car tech works well but visually needs improvement.

Infotainment System: We'd say it's about as visually pleasing as Lexus, which isn't saying much. The screen is a bit on the dull side, and we could use fewer colors and menus that are easier to decipher.

Controls: The physical controls in the E-PACE are very good, from the steering wheel controls to the huge and very easy climate controls. We even love the big drive mode selector that's essentially a large switch.

Styling

8.9

 

It's hard for a brand to do a consistent design language well across different types of vehicles, but Jaguar pulls it off well. What started with the F-Type sports car has translated incredibly well to the F-PACE and now the E-PACE. The more compact dimensions present a challenge so that it doesn't look like a smushed version of its bigger brother. The result is a taut, handsome package that escapes being cute.

Front: The large grille and matching large lower intakes give the E-PACE presence. Thankfully, there isn't an ounce of chrome on the front of our tester.

Rear: The taillights are fuller than the F-PACE's, and we love the twin round tailpipes. The creases in the rear haunches are nicely visible, too.

Profile: Even the black wheels can't diminishe their sheer size that contrasts the compact dimensions and small overhanges. From this view, it's definitely Jaguar in its styling, but it almost looks comical because the tires and wheels are so huge.

Cabin: We loved the red leather in the cabin, and the overall look is luxurious.

Comfort

8.3

 

Even if Jaguar is a premium brand, you can't create gobs of room in a compact crossover unless you sacrifice the cargo section. The E-PACE does the most it can given its interior dimensions, and the result is pretty good.

Front Seats: The sports seats hold you in well during fast turns, and the cushioning is very good, too. Not as good as the Volvo XC60's Multicontour seats, but then again, not much is.

Rear Seats: Rear seats have good support and even a bit of bolstering, but they're only good for two medium-sized adults or for kids. The middle position is flat and gives up legroom to the armrest/rear HVAC and the transmission tunnel.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The little Jag does well at highway speeds in terms of noise levels. We didn't notice any errant noises in cabin during our test.

Visibility: Visibility is ok. Out the front, it's pretty good thanks to the short nose. The rear, however, gets obscured by the rakish roof and thick pillars.

Climate: The system works very well, and the cooled seats work quickly. The E-PACE had no problem cooling the cabin during a hot Chicago summer week.

Safety

6

 

The E-PACE has yet to be crash tested by the IIHS and the NHTSA. Good thing there's a ton of standard safety tech and some nice options.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The P300 R-Dynamic HSE gets a slew of safety tech that includes a Rear-View Camera, 360 Parking Aids, Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist and Driver Condition Monitor, High Speed Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist, Blind Spot Assist, and Reverse Traffic Detection.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with a 360-degree camera for optimal visibility, as well as a great head-up display that's configurable.

Storage/Cargo

7.7

 

Don't look for huge capacities in this compact crossover, but the E-PACE does have useful spaces. Even the medium-sized cargo section is practical for everyday hauling.

Storage Space: There's a small angled cubby at the base of the center stack, and the twin cupholders and armrest compartment are close and usefuly for small item stowage.

Cargo Room: There's 24.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 52.7 with the second row folded. That's only a little smaller than the BMW X1.

Fuel Economy

5.6

 

We didn't expect great fuel efficiency numbers from the E-PACE in top trim, but we didn't think it would be this bad. The E-PACE begs to be pushed, but we did spend some time on the highway, which should have brought the numbers higher.

Observed: 14.6 mpg

Distance Driven: 212 miles.

Driving Factors: A blend of city and highway driving and Dynamic mode led to results way off the EPA estimates.

Audio

9

 

Our tester got bumped up from the 325W audio system to the 825W Meridian Sound System, which was tremendous. It sounded great with the music cranked up, and the bass, clarity, and fullness were all very satisfying.



Final Thoughts

It's hard to make a case for a performance crossover that's not big on space and drinks gas like it's parched for liquids. But the E-PACE is satisfying and fun to drive, and it looks and feels wonderful. We expect the reliability to be poor, given the brand, but owners will love the small pit-bull looks of the E-PACE. The interior is very well crafted, though the infotainment is lackluster. This is a reputation vehicle, but that doesn't mean it doesn't deliver some practicality in terms of comfort and cargo.
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