THE new E-Pace may be the cub of the Jaguar pack but it still packs a roar which is sure to be heard all over the country.
ForJag's new compact SUV is a real stunner that is set to go on and surpass the sales success of the larger F-Pace.
And that will not be easy as the F-Pace - the company's first SUV - is a huge success.
Back in 2011 Jaguar sold only 50,678 cars and last year alone the F-Pace notched-up staggering 76,350 sales proving the market's thirst for luxurySUVs.
Globally more than two million potential customers have already looked at the E-Pace on line and in the UK 354,000 people have configured the compact SUV to their own taste. The signs are that this car promises to outsell its big brother.
I travelled to the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean to sample Jaguar's new baby and it lived up to expectations in every way.
Jaguar design boss Scot IanCallumand his team have produced a real looker which makes German rivals look dull.
The E-Pace is much more than a shorter version of the F-Pace and it is sure to attract younger customers in their droves.
The design features many cues from the F-Type sports car and that is no bad thing.
There is the handsome Jaguar grille, headlights inspired by the sports car and a muscular and striking rear that gives the E-Pace a real sporting stance.
The stylish rear LED lights are another neat touch as is the silhouette of a Jaguar and its cub etched into the windscreen surround and in the puddle lights in the dark.
Inside, the cabin is very smart. It retains a number of design elements from its siblings including a central grab handle for the front seat passenger to back-up its sporting credentials and the digital dash is easy to read.
There is also a head-up display which proved to be a real bonus on Corsica's twisty roads. Thankfully Jaguar has retained traditional round dials to control the heating system so that you do not have to take your eyes off the road to adjust the temperature or ventilation.
There is room for four to travel in great comfort surrounded by nice materials and plenty of storage areas and power points. Five adults would fit for shorter journeys and the boot is above average for the class at 577 litres.
Jaguar has certainly improved its touchscreen infotainment system but it is still not as easy to use as some others. That said, the sound system is great and the classy cabin makes you feel special.
The starting price for the range is £28,500 rising to £50,710. It is available inE-Pace and E-Pace R-Dynamic styles with different chassis settings, front and rear styling, together with S, SE andHSEspecification packs and five power plants.
Engines are the familiar Jaguar Land Rover 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and turbo-petrol units with 150, 180 and 240ps, or 249 and 300ps outputs respectively.
The two lower powered engines can be ordered with six speed manual gearboxes but they can be specified, like the rest of the E-Pace range, with intelligent all wheel drive and a nine speed automatic transmission.The entry-level model is front-wheel-drive only with the 150ps diesel engine.
To tempt buyers a First Edition E-Pace, available for 12 months, will showcase the new Jag and is powered by the 180ps diesel for £47,800 or £50,160 for the 249ps petrol version withZFauto boxes. It is based on the R-Dynamic performance chassis in mid-range SE trim, but other equipment levels can also be ordered.
The E-Pace has an intelligent 'Active Driveline'powertrainwhich usesJLR'sgrip control and advanced chassis dynamics to maximise grip and in the4x4 versions Isampled it decides how to shift around the power, even operating a front wheel drive mode to optimise economy whenever possible or sending it to the back wheels alone.
Drivers can choose their preferred settings for throttle, steering, transmission and suspension across four modes, normal, dynamic,ecoand winter with the grip control taking care of progress in go-slow conditions.
Not only does the E-Pace look like a Jaguar - it also drives like one. On Corsica's testing twisting mountain roads it was up for the challenge and dealt with all kinds of surfaces and the never-ending tight bends.
The Jaguar team also provided challenging off-road experiences and the E-Pace proved to me much more capable than I imagined.
It tackled the rough stuff with ease, waded through a deep stream, dealt with mud and sand and proved that it was much more than a pretty face.
Most will not put their shining examples anywhere near that type of terrain but they will be able to boast that their E-Pace is the real deal.
I tried the car with the most powerful petrol and diesel engines and they are both very good delivering excellent performance.
Despite all the current anti-diesel clamour, more than 75 per cent of E-Paces will feature a diesel engine with the mid-range 180bhp model taking most of the sales. That's no surprise as it is good for 127mph and can sprint to 60mph in 9.9 seconds. It also has a claimed combined 54.3 mpg with emissions of 147g/km.
If you demand more performanceand don't care that much about economy opt for the 300bhp petrol engine which will fire you to 60mph in just 5.9 seconds before going on to 151mph - true Jaguar performance.
The new E-Pace certainly looks like a Jaguar but its special quality is that it also feels and drives like one. In my opinion this is now the best compact premium SUV on the market.