The new Jaguar E-Pace SUV is expected to become the brand’s most popular model, but how does it compare to the bigger F-Pace?
*** Note : £1 = $1.33 (correct at time of post)
It seems Jaguar SUVs are like buses: the British brand only launched its first – the F-Pace – last year, but having finally taken the plunge, it’s now planning to introduce another three in quick succession, starting with the smaller E-Pace.
This perhaps isn’t surprising given that the F-Pace now accounts for more than half of Jaguar’s sales. And with prices for the E-Pace starting at £28,500, compared with £34,730 for its bigger brother, it looks certain to prove even more popular.
Just how different are the cars, though? To find out, we’re comparing E-Pace and F-Pace side-by-side.
Few would argue that the F-Pace is anything other than a great looking SUV. And it’s also very much a Jaguar, having a similar face to the XE and XF salooons. However, if anything, the E-Pace is even more striking.
Instead of giving it Mini-Me styling, the designers took inspiration from Jaguar’s F-Type sports car. This can be seen in headlights that stretch back into the bonnet, and side windows that taper to a point over the muscular rear haunches.
True, the E-Pace more closely resembles the F-Pace from the back, but a new taillight design that features a distinctive kink (or ‘chicane’) instantly dates the semicircular detail found in the taillights of other modern Jaguars.
engines and driving
The entry-level E-Pace uses a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, whereas the F-Pace range kicks off with a 161bhp version of this engine. And while the F-Pace is big enough for Jaguar to fit a 296bhp 3.0-litre diesel or a 375bhp 3.0-litre petrol unit under its bonnet, the E-Pace can’t take engines of this size; instead the most powerful options are a 237bhp 2.0-litre diesel and a 296bhp petrol with the same capacity.
Where the two ranges do converge is in the middle, because the E-Pace is available with the 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel that we recommend in the F-Pace. What’s more, in both cars this engine is available with four-wheel drive.
We won’t get to drive the E-Pace until later this year, but we’d be surprised if it wasn’t one of the sportiest cars in its class, because the other models in the current Jaguar range – including the F-Pace – all offer agile and involving handling.
The main reason for caution is that the E-Pace is the first Jaguar since the original XF to be based on a steel platform. However, the lighter aluminium that’s found in the brand’s other cars is still used for the bonnet, front wings, tailgate and roof.
interior and equipment
Like the exterior, the interior of the E-Pace takes its inspiration from the F-Type sports car, which means it’s very driver focused. A central grab handle seems to fence the passenger off from the dashboard controls, and those controls include rotary air-con dials that can be operated with the minimum of distraction.
Things aren’t quite as intuitive in the F-Pace, because you have to stab at buttons to raise or lower the temperature, rather than simply twist a dial. But its centre console is symetrical, which makes it easier for a front passenger to help the driver.
The F-Pace also features the rotary gear selector found in Jaguar’s saloons, whereas automatic versions of the E-Pace swap this for a joystick that allows manual shifts. And while every F-Pace has traditional analogue instruments, the E-Pace can be specified with a 12.3in digital display that lets you decide exactly what information is displayed directly in front of you.
The E-Pace may be Jaguar’s entry-level SUV, but all versions of it come with the more sophisticated of the brand’s two infotainment systems. Called Touch Pro, it features a sizeable 10.0in touchscreen with a customisable home page that makes most operations quite quick.
By contrast, the F-Pace gets the more basic 8.0in InControl Touch system as standard. This still incorporates sat-nav, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and an in-built wifi hotspot, and can even sync with your smartphone to run a selection of apps. However, it’s more fiddly to use on the move due to the screen’s smaller size, and is often sluggish to respond. We’d recommend the £1780 upgrade.
space and practicality
Most adults will be comfortable enough in the back of the E-Pace. However, the F-Pace is certainly the more practical choice, because a couple of six-footers won’t just fit, they’ll have head and leg room to spare.
Similarly, the boot of the E-Pace can accommodate a folded buggy or six carry-on suitcases, thanks to its square shape and 484-litre capacity. And if you can live without a spare wheel, there’s an additional 93 litres beneath the boot floor. But the F-Pace is in another leagure with 650 litres of luggage space.
It’s only when you look at in-car storage that the tables are turned. The F-Pace isn’t bad in this area, but the E-Pace is packed with neat storage solutions; you can even fit multiple iPads in the cubby between the front seats.
The most efficent E-Pace (the manual, front-wheel drive 148bhp diesel) averages 60.1mpg in official tests, which is just 0.9mpg more than the rear-wheel drive 161bhp model that represents the entry point into the F-Pace range. And when both cars are fitted with Jaguar’s 178bhp diesel engine, an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, it’s actually the F-Pace that has the edge for fuel economy, returning 53.3mpg to the E-Pace’s 50.4mpg.
The E-Pace is significantly cheaper to buy, though. Even when the two cars are specced with the same drivetrains like this, it costs from £32,550, compared with £38,830 for the F-Pace.