In-depth reviews

Jaguar E-Pace review - Engines, performance and drive

E-Pace boasts good steering and is decently grippy, but engines are dull and it feels a little heavy

Jaguar’s engineers have been hit with a demanding task for the E-Pace; how do you apply the Range Rover Evoque’s heavy D8 platform to an SUV which buyers will expect a degree of driver engagement from? 

Weighing in at 1,775kg at its very lightest, the E-Pace is actually heavier than its larger F-Pace sibling – the heaviest versions, all-wheel-drive D240 cars, tip the scales at very nearly two tonnes.

Despite this, The E-Pace hits back against its kerbweight with decent driving dynamics. Push on and you’ll feel the car’s weight for sure, more so than in a BMW X1 or X2, as the E-Pace picks up a bit more body roll and a weighty nose prone to washing out into understeer. It’s safe rather than fun, but at eight tenths it feels composed and could even be described as agile. Jaguar has equipped the E-Pace with a decent power steering system too, which is well weighted, responsive and delivers good feedback considering it’s an electric system. It is a little weighty around town though.

All-wheel-drive models are kitted with Jaguar’s Active Driveline system enabling torque vectoring on the rear axle, although the difference it makes isn’t game changing. You’ll feel a little tug at the rear as the inside rear wheel is braked, and the outside is fed more power, with up to 100 per cent of the rear axle’s torque available in just one corner of the car. It’ll sharpen your line but won’t put a huge smile on your face, and the extra grip quickly gives way to understeer.

All but the entry level, front-wheel-drive D150 car are available or equipped with adaptive dampers. With these, you’ll be able to configure the E-Pace into a relatively comfortable SUV, though the Volvo XC40 remains softer and better at soaking up bumps.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

Kicking off what is an expansive E-Pace engine line-up is the D150 diesel. This two-litre four-cylinder unit serves up 148bhp and 380Nm of torque, and is available linked to a manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox, depending on trim.

Despite being the smallest, least powerful option it doesn’t feel sluggish, and for many this might be all the performance you’ll need – a 10.1-second 0-62mph dash and a top speed of 124mph is respectable enough (the AWD version manages 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds, while the auto does it in 10.5 seconds).

However, the real pick of the engine line-up is probably the more powerful D180 diesel. It’s the same four-cylinder unit, only with the wick turned up to 178bhp and 430Nm. It doesn’t wholly transform the level of performance on offer, the auto taking 9.1 seconds for 0-62mph and topping out at 127mph. This engine is best with the auto box (the manual is only offered on standard and S cars anyway). It’s respectably refined and smooth but the gearbox could be a little better. It’s Jaguar’s implementation of a ZF transmission, and it can get caught out from time to time. You’ll need an R-Dynamic car for steering wheel paddle shifters.

The third diesel option is the D240, again using a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine. With this unit equipped, the E-Pace moves from offering a respectable level of performance towards being a lot more pacey, thanks to a 7.4-second 0-62mph dash and a top speed of 139mph. As nice as this is, we’d recommend saving cash and sticking with the D180, which offers all the performance you need and will also be cheaper to run.

Petrol power in the E-Pace isn’t as popular, but there are three options nonetheless. The P200 is a relatively new addition to the line-up. This 2.0-litre turbocharged option serves up 197bhp with 0-62mph coming up in 8.2 seconds. The 246bhp P250 sits above it and like the P200 is equipped with all-wheel-drive as standard. It knocks a shade over a second off the 0-62mph second time, at 7.1 seconds.

The most powerful E-Pace you can buy is the 296bhp P300. 0-62mph comes up in 6.5 seconds and top speed stands at 149mph. We wouldn’t recommend it though. The highly-strung four-cylinder unit is pacey but not outrageously so, and it’s not particularly exciting either, producing a flat, uninspiring engine note. It’ll prove very costly to run, too.

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