The 2018 E-Pace is Jaguar’s first foray into the world of the luxury compact SUV, and its primary mission is to emulate the runaway sales success of Jaguar’s larger and pricier sport-utility, the F-Pace. It will compete with the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes-Benz GLA in a segment that is growing in popularity.  

The F-Pace, Jaguar’s first SUV, rocketed to the top of the company’s sales chart after it debuted last year. In fact, the F-Pace recently outsold all other Jaguar models combined.

Jaguar announced the E-Pace earlier this month, and the company in press materials tried to establish a design link between the small SUV E-Pace and the thrilling F-Type sports car. But that depends on how you look at it: The front headlights seem drawn from the F-Type design school, while the rear looks like a scaled-down version of Jaguar’s larger SUV.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace SUV interior

The E-Pace shares its platform with its corporate cousins, the Land Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport, and will be offered with two engine choices: a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 246 horsepower, or a 296-hp four-cylinder engine, Jaguar says. The smaller engine can be had in the base, S, and SE trims, while the E-Pace R-Dynamic version with the large engine comes in S, SE, or HSE trims. All versions get a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

You can adjust the driving characteristics of the E-Pace using the available Jaguar Drive Control system, which has four settings: normal, dynamic, eco, and rain, ice, and snow, according to Jaguar. By changing the drive mode, you can alter the SUV’s throttle response, transmission shift points and even the efficiency of the climate control system.

Jaguar’s Active Driveline, available on R-dynamic models, is capable of rapidly adjusting power and torque completely to the front or rear axle, side to side, and even to one single wheel, if needed. At a steady cruise, the system can also shift power to the front wheels, to help boost fuel economy. The switch back to all-wheel drive can be accomplished within 0.3 seconds, Jaguar says.

Inside the E-Pace cabin there is a 10-inch touch-screen display for the infotainment system, according to the company. Below it are three large rotary controls, to adjust temperature settings and fan speed. Also available are a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a head-up display screen; the latter can project vehicle speed, entertainment settings, adaptive cruise control settings, and alerts for optional blind spot monitors and lane departure warning.

This being a 21st Century Jaguar SUV, there are up to five USB outlets and four 12-volt sockets, not to mention a 2.2-gallon storage area between the two front seats. To keep the whole family connected, 4G WiFi, capable of supporting up to eight devices, comes standard on S, SE, and HSE trim levels.

At the back of the E-Pace, the 22.4 cu. ft. of luggage compartment can be expanded by lowering parts or all of the 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks. To help access the cargo area when your arms are full, Jaguar has an optional hands-free tailgate. The rear hatch can be opened by raising a foot underneath sensors that are located at either end of the rear bumper, Jaguar says.

Pricing for the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace starts at $39,595, including the $995 destination charge. You could also grab an E-Pace First Edition, which is available for the first year only with unique color and trim options, at a starting price of $54,495, including the $995 destination fee.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace SUV rear