The frisky E-Pace small luxury SUV has curvaceous styling, a perky engine, and sharp handling. But we don’t think it’s luxurious or refined enough for the price.

The E-Pace has responsive steering and it doesn’t lean much when taking corners, making it an entertaining drive. Cruising around town, however, exposes the E-Pace’s jerky drivetrain and bumpy ride.

There’s a notable delay when starting from a standstill. After the slow start, the engine then delivers an excessive burst of power. The uneven acceleration is made worse by the automatic transmission, which is neither smooth nor responsive.

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The cabin ambience is dreary, with lots of hard, smooth plastic and dark colors, although some surfaces are padded and have attractive stitching.

The E-Pace’s touch-screen infotainment system is slow to respond and requires extra steps to perform common functions. The electronic gear selector isn’t as user-friendly as the rotary knob in other Jaguars.

The front seats are nicely shaped to accommodate most body types, but they lack lumbar adjustment.

It’s challenging to get into the rear seat, though once inside, there’s adequate room for adult passengers. But the vehicle’s body shape severely limits side and rear visibility, and cargo room.

Forward-collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist come standard, which CR supports.

See the complete Jaguar E-Pace road test.

HIGHS: Handling, braking, standard advanced safety equipment
LOWS: Uneven power delivery, ride, visibility, controls
POWERTRAIN: 246-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine; nine-speed automatic; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 21 mpg on premium fuel
PRICE AS TESTED: $48,070

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the August 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.